A Note on Religious Tolerance

“A Note on Religious Tolerance,” Conservative Judaism, Summer 1998.


I am all in favor of Americans of a particular religion learning about other religions. On the other hand, I have little use for all these Christian-Jewish dialogues that are so popular nowadays. They are incredibly superficial— nothing more than self-gratifying celebrations, mainly by secularized Jews and secularized Christians, of mutual toleration. There is little learning and less understanding displayed on such amiable occasions, which are “successful’ only to the degree that religious differences are thought to be of no great concern to well-meaning people. It is, in short, a liberal, enlightened, secular kind of tolerance, not an authentically religious kind of tolerance— that is to say, a tolerance that has religious roots as against secular roots.