Religious toleration is when people allow other people to think about god(s) in ways that they do not think are true. They tolerate religious beliefs and practices which are different from their own beliefs or lack of beliefs.
Religious tolerance is the backbone of a cultural and civilized society or nation. It is ingrained in the Indian psyche. A number of invaders came to India specially the Shaks and Huns. They were so perfectly assimilated in the Indian society that today no one knows if he is not a decedent of one of these. Whatever their religion was it also got dissolved in the waste humanity of India. After the uprising of Islam in the Middle East people belonging to the Zoroastrian religion and nation and those belonging to the Syrian church came to India to save themselves from those who believed in Islam. Similarly “we have “, according to Swami Vivekananda “gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny.”On 11 of September 1893 Swami Vivekananda declared in the Parliament of Religions held in Chicago he said, “I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth.”
We ,in India ,believe that all faiths , whatever their origin may be lead to one God who is supreme, The convention at Chicago held more than a century back was in itself , as the Swami said a vindication ,a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita.whosoever comes to Me , through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to Me.”He informed the Parliament of religions that in India millions of human beings repeat the hymn “ As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea so,O Lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies , various though they appear, crooked or straight all lead to Thee”.
It is the religious tolerance that has sustained India for the last seven millenniums – since the age of the Vedas, Of late in the year 2000 two events took place. One was a conference of all religions organized in the USA when the Indian Prime Minister went there on an official visit, It again proves that the people of the USA and many in the European countries believe in that might have originated anywhere in the world. On the other hand these are certain dogmatic religions preachers who think that their religion alone brings salvation to human beings.
When the Pope came over to India he had plainly hinted at the Catholic scheme of Christianization of Asia so that the people in this area too may believe in the only true religion. As if that was not sufficient the Vatican published a 36 page document called ‘Dominus Jesus’. It was published in India on ‘Teachers’ Day’2000.It was the second event of the year. The document was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone and was approved by the Pope himself. It was rather a sharp attack on the ‘relativistic theories’ that confirm that concepts such as right and wrong, goodness and badness, or truth and falsehood are not absolute but changes from the culture to culture and situation to situation’. The third chapter emphasizes that “the fullness of means to salvation can be found only in the Catholic Church. The Cardinal emphasized that these cannot be “a substitute for missionary activity and for the urgency of an appeal to conversion”/He said that the Church is opposed to any “false idea of tolerance”. Thus he dug deep the idea of religious tolerance.
According to T.V.R Shenoy it smacks “of arrogance to claim that every other path to God is a false trail. Not just Hinduism or Judaism but other Christian denominations as well.”Dr.George Carey, archbishop of Centerbury thinks that the document goes against the: the deeper understanding that has been achieved through ecumenical dialogue. The document was vehemently opposed by Hindus in India and Muslims in Indonesia and other Muslim countries. Cardinal Giacomo Biffi who may be the next Pope has called for every mosque in Italy to be shut down .Intolerance has its limits. It all goes against secularism.