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Difference between Tolerance and Intolerance

Difference between Tolerance and Intolerance

Tolerance vs. Intolerance

What is Difference between Tolerance and Intolerance? The terms tolerance and intolerance are often used, especially in political and religious discourses and, of course, in the media. However, despite being so frequently employed; sometimes it seems that some people really do not understand what the meaning of them is and they tend to use them ambiguously and thus confuse people.

Difference between Tolerance and Intolerance

To better understand the differences between tolerance and intolerance we first have to understand the meaning of these words, so if you want more information about it continue reading, because then we explain.


Tolerance means being able to allow the existence of something that differs from one’s own beliefs or opinions. In this sense, when something is tolerated its existence is accepted; but that acceptance does not mean that you agree with what is tolerated.

It is a very common term in political and religious contexts, in which people often have difficulty understanding and assuming that there are different opinions and beliefs that must be respected. Tolerance is above all respect. Someone who tolerates a belief does not necessarily follow it, only accepts the right of others to believe in other things. Tolerance goes beyond if we consider the beliefs or opinions of others are right or wrong, are simply respected without leaving aside our own.


On the other hand, intolerance is the opposite of tolerance (yes, as you had suspected). It consists of not accepting or respecting the points of view, beliefs or behaviors that differ from the ones that are considered correct. Many people get confused when using this term, because sometimes they believe that exposing a different point of view of what is defended is a sign of intolerance and, in fact, it is not.

Intolerance involves actions that go beyond conflicting opinions or beliefs. For example, someone who does not accept Jehovah’s Witness visits at home is not intolerant. Why? Because that person is in his right not to accept that someone enters his house (it is something private). Now, if that person opposes not only Jehovah’s Witnesses visit their home, but also those of others; that person is showing intolerance since he is not respecting the right of others.

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