Hanna de Jong-Markus

Religious Tolerance as Educational Goal in Orthodox Protestant Schools 3 55 Within philosophical and political discourse, as well as within educational policy, tolerance is accepted as extremely important to both individuals and societies. It is described as a fundamental civic virtue that enables individuals to function in a diverse, modern society, and the resilience of such societies increases when individuals living in them know how to cope with diversity (Forst, 2003; Sremac & Ganzevoort, 2017; Vogt, 1997; Willems et al., 2010). Despite this high level of commitment to tolerance as a fundamental virtue, its interpretation is often unclear (Afdal, 2006; Forst, 2004; Van den Brink, 2002; Vogt, 1997). In most definitions, two poles can be recognised: objection and acceptance (Afdal, 2006; Forst, 2003; Vogt, 1997). As Vogt (1997: xxiv) states, ‘tolerance is putting up with something one does not like’. The lack of consensus on the interpretation of tolerance primarily concerns what should be the minimal amount of objection (phrased variously from dislike to moral disapproval) and what should be the minimal degree of acceptance (varying from ignoring to appreciating the other) (Afdal, 2006; Forst, 2004; Van den Brink, 2002; Willems, 2013). We found three main characteristics of tolerance that are frequently mentioned in the literature and are relevant for how OPPS teachers could deal with this concept. First, tolerance is not a natural inclination. It would be possible, or even likely, for one to act in another way; tolerance is therefore conditioned by self-control and based on a conscious, deliberate and voluntary choice (Kole, 2005; cf. Vogt, 1997). Second, tolerance is not an absolute value but is qualified by other values or principles, such as autonomy or democracy (Forst, 2004; Kole, 2005; Van den Brink, 2002; Vogt, 1997). This implies that tolerance is not unlimited, as it is justified only when it serves these values or principles (Forst, 2004; Van den Brink, 2002; Vogt, 1997). Third, both the interpretation of the concept of tolerance and the decision as to whether to tolerate depends on the specific context and a person’s specific normative justification (Afdal, 2006; Forst, 2004; Van den Brink, 2002; Vogt, 1997). This justification depends on the different normative maps—religious or worldview concepts, practices and rituals to which people adhere—of individuals and the communities in which they live (Afdal, 2006; Forst, 2003, 2004; Kole & De Kruijf, 2005; Willems, 2013). This also makes tolerance a value with a wide consensus in society in the shared public or liberal-democratic moral language, but one which can have different grounds for different groups in their primary moral language (Strike, 2000a, 2000b30). All three characteristics imply that a certain degree of reasoning is needed before tolerance can be practised; tolerance is not a given, but one must consider the reasons 30 This relationship between public moral language and primary moral language has also been described in other words or concepts, for example, by Afdal (2006), Forst (2004), Kole and De Kruijf (2005) and Willems (2013).