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The Limitations of Tolerance to all Religions | Sophia Wadia

Against the policy of “live and let live” in religious pluralism and interfaith.

“It is the duty of esoteric students to unmask error and hypocrisy; to face lie with truth; not as personal criticisms but as facts against mis statements (…) Theosophy is in the world for that purpose. We are not to be self-assertive nor flabby; knowing the truth, we speak it and care only for it and that it be as widely known as possible.” (Robert Crosbie, Pseudo-Tolerance and Tolerance)

Sophia Wadia (1901-1986) was the wife of Indian theosophist B.P. Wadia. This is a transcript of a talk in Bombay (Mumbai) Lodge of the United Lodge of Theosophists in October 1933:

“The fact that opposing religions flourish must be taken as a sign of decadence in our civilization. Along two lines of activity it is sought to remove this defect.

One is the rejection of every form of religious belief; materialistic science shows the way of rejection, a perilous way, for in clearing the jungle of superstitious belief and fanaticism, it also destroys the ancient trees which give knowledge and which make sacrifices possible. The way of science is the way of destruction – with the evil the good also is wiped out.

Then there is the second method: one which some of our friends in Bombay want to adopt, the way of friendliness to all religions, the method of bringing them together, the popularizing of the idea that all religions are great and good. That certainly is a noble method, and yet it too has its limitations. The real success of any movement for the fellowship of faiths will depend upon the depth of perception of all who mould and shape it. The danger of this second method lies in permitting, under the guise of tolerance, in all religions, the very crass and superstitious beliefs which are one of the main causes of the difficulty our civilization is facing.

Claims of an exclusive nature are the very life-force which keeps many religions going; and therefore, all such claims, which pit creed against creed, and religion against religion, have to be rejected, not connived at. There is a great deal of hypocrisy, conscious and unconscious hypocrisy, in matters of religious belief, and the great task of any movement for the brotherhood of religions is to emphasize that such hypocrisy leads to danger, and defeats peace and enlightenment (…)”

“Supporters of causes inevitably differ about ideology, methods of organization, and means of achieving goals; they have their personal likes and dislikes, faults and blind spots. And everyone makes mistakes. With self-discipline and humility it is possible nonetheless to work together — in the oneness of our hearts when we are outwardly divided — in the case of the Theosophical Society, to form the nucleus of a universal brotherhood of humanity.” (Sarah Belle Dougherty)

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