I don’t have to tell you that we are living in divided times. I don’t have to tell you that we are living in intolerant times. I don’t even have to tell you that many people today think tolerance—political or religious—is a bad thing. Yet in my stubborn heart, I still believe it’s a virtue. Especially in a religious context, and even knowing all its attendant problems.
Yes. Religious tolerance is hard.
And it always has been. Even in a polytheistic world where people were used to dealing with a variety of religious expressions.
For instance, Greek comic playwrights often made fun of the religious practices of Egyptians, usually focusing on their reverence for animals as manifestations of the Divine. This 4th-century-BCE bit by Anaxandrides of Rhodes, who won many awards for his work, is an example. He writes as Demos (“the people”) to Egypt:
I couldn’t have myself allied…
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