Toleration is a reciprocal obligation

How can we ensure the peaceful co-existence of different groups within our community?

The issue is not new to the west. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a series of religious wars consumed much of Europe and the United Kingdom. In order to prevent the continual war of all against all, leading thinkers of the era, such as John Locke, arrived at the idea of toleration. It was a political virtue, a means of allowing individuals to subscribe to their individual and collective beliefs, while allowing the nation to be separately governed.

Toleration is a reciprocal obligation. Each of us tolerate the belief systems of others.

But what do we do when some people refuse to tolerate the beliefs of others? This is a pressing question in the Western world today. The spate of terrorist offences involve people who are not prepared to peacefully co-exist, and are determined to violently force their views upon society.

There is a limit to toleration. When individuals or groups through violence or incitement to violence refuse to tolerate the beliefs of others, we are not obligated to tolerate their activities.

This is what I discussed with Andrew Bolt on his program this week.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all the family and friends who lost loved ones in the recent and tragic events in both London and Melbourne.