Religious tolerance is much more than just putting up with other people. It is a confident recognition that our faith journeys are converging, regardless of where they have started. When taken as a promise instead of a threat, the words of Jesus in John 14:6 invite us to accept and walk respectfully with people of all different beliefs, trusting that Christ Himself is bringing us together. Interfaith friendships empower us to share as equals our understandings of the Way, the Truth and the Life. Many teachings and practices are shared among adherents of various religions and their denominations, with the same goals for this life and for that of the world to come. People of differing faith experiences share common concerns in matters of civil society, justice issues, and spiritual ministries. If our true motive is love, then we should have no problem at all working together on providing social services for those in need. If our true desire is for people to follow the teachings of Christ, then we should have no problem sharing religious education facilities and resources, especially at points of overlapping instruction. If we indeed are truly interested in worshiping our Creator “in spirit and in truth” then we should have no problem sharing hymns, prayers, liturgies, Scriptures and sermons with others whose intentions are the same. However, if our motive is anything less than love, if our desire is to manipulate the thinking of others, or if our interest is to control how others experience spirituality for our own advantage, then our tolerance will certainly be diluted accordingly.
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