Religion and Ethnocentrism

Thomas Brunton (brunton@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU)
Wed, 10 Apr 1996 11:29:26 -0400

I agree with Jana Fortier's response. And I think the prevailing
assumption that any religious belief equals intolerance of other beliefs is
untrue. I think extreme
intolerance is a characteristic of most monotheistic religions and is or
was less prevalent in pantheistic religions. People who had a particular
patron deity that took care of them wouldn't necessarily be concerned it
their neighbors had a different patron. Or look at ancient Rome, they
tried to absorb the religions of subject peoples into their own schemes
or allowed them to co-exist. They persecuted Christians because they
defied the laws of the Empire, not because of their other beliefs.

Another idea: is religious intolerance tied in with the modern
nation-state and ideologies of nationalism? (another intolerant
irrational belief system.)

(Disclaimer: the above is full of over-generalizations and came off the
top of my head, i.e. no systematic research involved. I am a U.S. white
male brought up as an Episcopalian but now more or less agnostic.)

Tom Brunton
SUNY at Buffalo