At the Guardian today, Andrew Brown defines “hard tolerance,” a concept I’d never heard of before, but that I like:
After Pope Benedict XVI’s controversial Regensburg speech, the most notable response was the decision of 137 Muslim scholars to sign a declaration outlining what common values they shared with Christians.
This “common word” declaration is an example of “hard tolerance” – the increasing practice of making theological differences distinct and then talking about them, rather than trying to conceal them in a syrup of platitudes about love and mysticism. The aim is for priests, imams and rabbis to enter imaginatively into each other’s ideologies, rather than simply agreeing.
I suppose that’s what Jonathan Elliot and I are promoting with “Have a Meal with a Muslim Day 2011” (HMMD 2011): can Muslims and non-Muslims talk with imaginative sympathy across the lines that divide them even as they maintain the integrity of their respective positions?
And do they even really want to?