Does religious conviction breed intolerance?
If that were true, then the deeper and stronger my beliefs become, the more intolerant I become of people different from me. But I find just the opposite to be true. The more I know Jesus, the more I become like Jesus — opening my heart and arms to all kinds of different people, especially those the rest of society, even religious society, wants to push aside.
Certainly religion has been a root cause of war and conflict among groups of people … but not religion itself. It is bad religion that leads to division and conflict! It is weak belief that is intolerant, because it is not strong enough to hold itself together in the face of opposition and challenge and so must dismiss and disregard anything that threatens it!
The path to a more tolerant and peaceful world is not less religious conviction, but better religious conviction! I don’t love my neighbor best by setting my belief aside, but by strengthening it. True believers do not start crusades. It would be rather strange, would it not, if Jesus’ truest followers behaved least like him!