Society’s narrative often (sometimes unknowingly) attempts to redefine certain words or realities that we must remain clear on.

A worldview is a set of underlying beliefs that each person has that define how they see, interpret, and understand the world.  Call it faith, spirituality, realism, or whatever.  It’s the ultimate lense on how you “view the world.”  But what happens when one person’s worldview conflicts with another person’s worldview?  What if two worldviews each claim to be exclusive? For example, two religions that each claim they are ‘correct’ and that ‘all others are wrong.’ Two opposing truths cannot both be correct.

Take the image shown, for, example.  At first glance, it seems that each can be correct, depending on perspective (a post for another time). At the end of the day, however, someone wrote a number on the ground with intention.  The author of the figure pre-determined that it is either a 6 or a 9.  Both individuals cannot be correct.

But that doesn’t mean tolerance cannot exist.  Assuming neither of the figures in the illustration wrote the number on the ground, they should each step back and accept that the other person’s view might be plausible. But what if one of them DID write the number?  That means they KNOW they are correct and the other person is wrong.  This is where true tolerance comes in to play, when that person is able to say, “I know (think) you are wrong, but I respect your right to believe what you believe.” The author may explain the situation or undertake a campaign to educate or correct the other person, but they don’t think less of the person for disagreeing.  They don’t “force acceptance of their truth in order to tolerate” the other person.

Many want to redefine tolerance as acceptance. Beyond “accepting people,” however, they want you to blindly accept their beliefs, as well. But it is impossible to “accept” a belief that goes against your own. Whether you think you know it or know that you know it.

Tolerance is not accepting what someone believes; tolerance is accepting their right to believe something you think (know) is wrong. Agreeing to disagree agreeably signifies true tolerance, regardless of what truth or worldview one possesses.

And here’s a thought … you can love people while doing it.