Tolerance In Structure Of Spiritual And Moral Values Of Modern Societies


The role of tolerance in the structure of the spiritual and moral qualities of the population in various countries is examined in the article. Interdenominational tolerance expresses various configurations of the positive and neutral attitude of representatives of some religious nationalities to others. Understanding interethnic tolerance is a prerequisite in addressing the issue of key personal rights, which include the right to act independently from the others. The article deals with an insufficiently studied problem that reveals the functioning of civil society in the Russian state, based on the structuring of fundamental democratic ideas, where tolerance comes to the fore. The tolerance has become one of the main problems for the modern Russian state, because of its multi-confessional nature, where various prejudices and fears have manifested themselves. In the article, the authors proves that it is necessary to overcome the ideology of terror, enmity and impose beliefs on the public opinion based on consent, dialogue, study of history, which reveals the common destiny of all nations and countries. The presented complex synthesis of the concept of tolerance from the position of various trends in scientific knowledge suggests that the universal complementarity of cultures is the necessary element of intercultural existence. The results obtained from the generalized data in the article can be used in studies devoted to the issues of tolerance as a moral and spiritual property of the personality of the modern individual since the main components of man’s tolerance are charity, pity, justice, kindness.

Keywords: Churchtolerancecharityritefaith


Now, such world factors as regionalism and globalism are developing, and as a result, religious processes in contemporary social life are sharply increasing and growing. This phenomenon does not represent something new. Researchers believe that the sharp increase in religious processes in public life usually affects the steep historical turns. And the present period in the development of society, when it has stepped onto a new stage of its formation, is conditioned by the multiplication of the role of the Church and religion in the life of citizens. That is why, the problems of mutual relations of various religions and also the theme of religious tolerance have become so topical today (Ashmarov, Fedorova, 2009).

Religious tolerance is defined as a respectful constituent in the relationship between believers of various faiths, religious associations based on the principles of equality, comprehensive recognition for life. There is such thing as "intolerance", which can be defined as a sharply negative attitude towards laypeople of another religious trend, another religion, manifested in the reduction of their freedoms, and in different persecutions. These aspects of tolerance will be analyzed in this article.

Problem Statement

The problem associated with the notion of "tolerance" can have a wide range of definitions. This also applies to cult tolerance. According to the Declaration of Principles of Tolerance of 1995, tolerance is understood as respect, establishment and correct interpretation of the rich diversity of cultures in our world, self-affirmation and ways of manifesting a person's individuality. A certain degree of tolerance can be tolerance, that is, a willingness to recognize the actions of people whose views preach kindness and justice to any people.

Tolerance in religion and in culture is very different from tolerance rooted in politics. The value-oriented core of modern culture can be a hierarchical structure, since it is based on the principles of freedom of opinions and values, which leads to the appearance of relative ideas and judgments. This entitles the secular culture to accept "extraneous" values, attitudes and behaviors equivalent to a spiritual paradigm.

Modern spiritual culture is therefore defined as "tolerance to outside views, religions and behavioural forms". However, there is also such a thing as leniency, which in the religious faith appears as something else. It means only the absence of proposals or actions that can be characterized as offensive to supporters of another religion. Therefore, there are things that lead to the restriction of human rights and freedoms (for example, missionary work).

It should be noted that each culture in a religious aspect differs from a secular culture, where there is a strictly systematized structure with a holistic core - a sacred one, and it is interpreted in its own way in every religion. Therefore, faith and religion can not be tolerated in the sense in which secular culture is understood, for example as secular tolerance. Religious tolerance usually includes in its structure, as its unchanging elements, conceptual tolerance inclined to convergence of faith, and recognition of the same value of religion (Clemente, 1997). There is also such a thing as religious alienation, which presupposes such configurations of the layman's behaviour as the degree of detachment and separation in relation to other religions, and their creeds, followers and traditions, and these factors become decisive. It follows that exclusivism, interpreted as a representation of people about their faith as the only true, exclusive and refusal to take into account any other faith, is advisable to equate to intolerance.

Many countries where such a position is practiced should leave this. As for the present-day Russia, it is a matter of mutual respect between religious institutions, believers and their spiritual pastors. In Russia today there are various religious customs, but mutual tolerance to any faith comes to the fore. The efforts of the state in tolerance between believers and atheists should also be noted. One can use polemics, mutual criticism, but one should not regret, for example, that atheistic views prevail.

A few centuries ago, tolerance did not play a major role in religion. For a long time, the key ethnic and cultural identifier of the tribe, nationality, and nation was the integration of the representatives of society into a single system of religious beliefs and rituals opposed to other communities.

For these reasons, religion has repeatedly caused group crises and war religious conflicts, for example, the confrontation between Israel and the Canaanites, Christians and the Roman nobility, Catholics and the Orthodox clergy, Muslims and supporters of the Hindu faith, etc.

Currently, integrative functions of various religions are often used. At the same time, the disintegrative function of religious faith, its possible dysfunctional and disintegrative consequences, is often forgotten. People often forget that religious faith has always been a key factor in the emergence of crises in public life. Different facts about the diversity of conflicts and wars on the basis of religion are lost, and in fact in the past their number was enormous. There was no country in a world where it was no religious strife, intolerance, religious persecution.

Moreover, the modern period is no exception. There was not a single religious faith in history that did not claim to demonstrate its power in persecuting dissenters. There are many such examples, up to our time (Declaration of principles on tolerance. UNESCO).

From the modern historical period, one can mention the persecution of Baha'is who organized the spiritual establishment in present-day Iran or, for example, the bloody persecution of Christianity in Sudan.

As a result, historical facts make it possible to say that the history of the Church and religion, like the public history of any country, is full of patterns of enmity and hatred, envy and discord. There have always been historical moments of clarifying the relationship between "alien" and "our own" creeds. As for examples of spiritual tolerance and harmony, such facts are quite episodic in the past. Such examples were rather an exception and not a rule in religious history. Glorifying God, in the name of the ideals of faith, a great number of wars were committed, rather than for any other reason. For many centuries, intolerance in religion was invariably the nucleus for the formation of racial, ethno-social, political beliefs and prejudices, so it was used as a pretext for social discrimination against those who professed a different dogma.

Some nations claiming exclusivity are specific examples that create the possibility of developing processes of religious hostility. This means that every faith is characterized by absolute truth for understanding. This shows that every nation claims that it is the first with true faith, and any of the nations tries to be recognized as such. Over the centuries, the unconditional factor of truth, to which every faith called, gave religious permission for hatred and enmity. The higher ideals of good, approved in religious rituals, largely prevented hatred of other religions.

Research questions

The well-known researcher T. Ernst said that all religions appeared perfect and genuine, because they were guided by an irrational motive and showed a reality that required faith, - and this was done not only for the sake of its popularity, but also for its traditions of recognition. This rule accurately reflects not only Abrahamic faiths (Islam, Judaism, Christianity), but also Eastern religions (Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism), followers who have always claimed frankness to all other religions in comprehending the truth (Galitskikh, 2004).

Circumstances and reasons for religious hostility have always been various factors. This applied to objects at which religious hatred was aimed. Among them, one can mention:

  • Enmity directed at religious dogma, existing in conflicts with traditional images and spiritual and moral ideals of a particular society.

  • Religion, which is recognized as alien to the cultural sphere, because of which it is formed.

  • Faith, aimed at undermining the foundations of society, because its concept threatens this or that state structure or the leader of the state; finally, the faith that is associated with a foreign country.

The principles of religious tolerance were ratified in international law. They were the basis for a large number of international treaties and laws. In 1948, the UN approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 18th article of this document contained the following thesis: every citizen has the right to freedom to profess any faith. This provision says that a person can change his religion or views, adhere to his faith or views as one-on-one, and in community with others, preach a public or private order in the teaching, liturgical activity and the performance of religious traditions.

In 1961, the Committee for the Execution of Human Rights adopted a document on the elimination of all forms of hatred and intolerance on the basis of religious beliefs. However, the theses of this document were so revolutionary that it took more than 25 years of consultations to ensure that the UN General Assembly adopted this document.

The document ratified in 1981 reinforced the notion of discrimination on religious grounds. It was seen not only as an insult to a person, but also as the ignoring of the principles of the UN declaration. It was also seen as a gross neglect of other freedoms guaranteed in this document. It contained the assertion that the recognition of the citizen's right to choose faith is defined as the main task of all the human rights (civil, economic, social) that have a decisive role for the formation of a truly democratic community in which both personal and collective right would be revered. And it would be guaranteed (Giddens, 1991).

Similar allegations regarding religious tolerance and the right of people to freedom of religion are reflected in many other international instruments. There are, for example, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, approved by 110 countries, the European Declaration on the Protection of the Rights of Citizens and Its Key Freedoms, ratified by 45 states. The American Charter on Citizen's Rights, approved by the 24 countries, the Treaty on Security and Cooperation in European States, etc.

Undoubtedly, there were also contradictions in such concepts towards tolerance. Some of the enemies of these declarations stated that in these declarations, religion appears as something that does not have boundaries and limits, that it allows everyone and everything. Again, the next question arose if this means that a person must be tolerant of everyone. The answer was as follows, and it was addressed to international law on religious tolerance. Religion, as well as indulgence, in general, has, of course, the border. And this line covers international documents and standards.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Citizens interpreted in the Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, while clarifying the meaning of freedom of thought, conscience and belief. In particular, it was stated that Article 18, paragraph 3 (of the treaty on civil and political rights) allows restrictions on freedom of belief or religion only in those situations if:

  • Such prohibitions are defined by Law;

  • Such prohibitions are necessary for the protection of security in society, the health of the nation, as well as the key rights and freedoms of others...

Prohibitions can be used only in those episodes for which they are established, and they are required to have a direct connection with the proportionally adopted goal. Prohibitions can not be introduced with a disciplinary purpose. The European Court of Human Rights also introduced the mentioned standards with regard to faith and its preaching (Gordienko, 1972).

The commitment of many states to the views of spiritual tolerance led to testing, a few days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. A realistic scenario emerged that after the September 11 terror, there will be a danger of complete hostility between religions and state structures will be under suspicion. But that did not happen. The reaction of the US authorities to what happened, apart from everything else, included steps against convergence in America against the citizens professing Islam. The presidential administration was informed that the answer of citizens should completely exclude the likelihood of comparing Islamic terror with true Muslims (Klesova, 2012).

Islamic leaders in the United States, as well as in other states, condemned the atrocities of Islamist radicals, saying that Islam is a religion aimed at peace, love and tolerance. At one of the international symposiums of lawyers from Iran, the following words were said: "Islam is one of the first religions that recognizes the existence of key citizens' rights, and practically during the XIV centuries this religion represented established guarantees of security, which later became the mainstay of international acts on the rights of citizens ". At the same symposium, scholars from Islamic countries reported that the special respect of Islam to human rights derives from the belief that human rights and freedoms are not its natural state, but are given to the world by God himself. Other scholars said that man was the main paradigm in Islam, because the figure of a man represented the human community as a whole, which is confirmed by the statement in the Qur'an: "The man who killed a soul for nothing and for a crime, he is like the murderer of a whole mankind".

The Cairo concept of the rights of citizens states: "It is prohibited to use any means of violence to convert a person to his religion or to impose atheistic views. It also talks about the fact that the representatives of Islam are obliged to respect the religious beliefs of others and try to "strive to live in peace with all nations on the basis of concluded treaties, as was the case during the early Caliphate.

The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), in the face of its chief archpastors, invariably appeals to the citizens of Russia, as well as to the whole world, to recognize as the highest value the human personality and spiritual freedom.

In 2015, Russian Patriarch Kirill expressed the following idea in his report at a meeting with scientists at the symposium "Freedom of Faith: Discrimination and Insult of Christians", which takes place in Moscow. He said: "Religion in the heart of people should contribute to understanding the connection of everyone with God, whether he is Orthodox, Muslim, Jew or representative of another religious faith. This can give a person an understanding of kindness between peoples and people. Religion will be the determining obstacle to persecution and disagreement on the basis of ideas related to religious faith. Vanity and arrogance can be clothed in a false spirituality factor when people consider themselves religious, how completely and irresistibly they hate those who profess other principles. The growth of spiritual terror is the reverse side of fundamental secularism when the radicals are united in their arguments in favor of religion and in attempts to change the world around the technology of their own and others (Kupina, Hamsters, 2005).

Representatives of other faiths in the modern Russian state hold a similar view. Thus, one of the representatives of Muslims of Russia, the head of the coordinating council of muftis, Sheikh R. Gainutdin, expresses the goals of the Muslims of Russia. He has said, "It is necessary to live with all the nationalities in the world, to reconcile, not to push citizens together, to consolidate, and not to break religion, not to go On the occasion of provocateurs, not to humiliate the feelings of citizens who consider themselves to another faith, not to fight, but to create. Smart people are obliged to realize what lofty creativity is contained in the Islamic faith. We must convey and show the true contribution of Islam in strengthening the consent between nations, in the establishment of genuine partnership, good-neighbourliness; in ensuring the economic might of the Russian state" (Lebedeva, 2005).

These facts really confirm that the principles of spiritual tolerance, freedom of thought are truly universal today.

Aim of research

The purpose of the study is to comprehend the concept of tolerance (like intolerance), which can take a variety of configurations depending on its own social subject: individual, collective, state and public. The expressed opinion concerns various kinds of tolerance, including spiritual tolerance.

Social tolerance is expressed in moral norms, characters, social psychology. What is the attitude of Russian citizens towards faith, the Church, laymen and what was it like before? In recent years, there have been radical changes. If before atheistic views prevailed in the society and there were negative stereotypes in the perception of religious faith, nowadays to be believer means to love compatriots and your own country, to know a thousand-year history, while atheists in social life began to attribute negative features. However, the sharply increased level of favour in Russia towards the Orthodox Church did not lead to the division of citizens of our state according to ideological and religious principles (Lock, 1988).

Thus, according to some polls conducted by the Centre "The Church in the Modern World" in 2016, an extremely low percentage of citizens (3.2%) felt that another religion had a negative impact on attitudes towards other people. Almost the same number of people (3.1%) considered that another religion contributes to the reconciliation of society. However, the majority of the population among the respondents expressed the opinion that the other attitude toward the people has no effect (73.8%). This is the position of the majority of Russians - both believers in God and atheists. All this probably indicates the absence of significant obstacles and failures for the approval of calm and tolerant relations between representatives of Russian society and any other countries, despite the difference in the religious affiliation of each citizen and ideological differences. Such factors demonstrate an impressive potential of tolerance in our society, the absence of prejudice and hatred of other confessional groups in it (Khomyakov, Hamsters, 2011).

All representatives of the traditional confessions of our state certainly understand the need to establish an atmosphere of respect for other faiths, religions and faiths in Russia. Therefore, the most dangerous thing for multinational Russia is interreligious hatred and anger.

Methods of research

In the process of writing the article, the methods of scientific research were used, which include a comparative-historical method based on the structuring of certain stages of history in the development of tolerance. In the article, the authors have used the method of system analysis and institutional approach, as well as special research methods: analysis of evidence, monitoring system. These methods made it possible to highlight negative and positive manifestations in the perception of religious faith (Mambetova, 2009).


Thus, all the opinions and concepts, which have been expressed in this article, indicate that the spiritual leaders of Russia, and ordinary people, who belong to diverse religions and confessions, as well as atheists, recognize the peace-loving existence of faiths, cultures and citizens of Russia as their main goal. This position is the main condition for a full-fledged peace and prosperity of modern Russia and the whole world (Mezentsev, 2015). Therefore, tolerance determines the ideals of peace and harmony in all democratic communities now. It is the spiritual core in its foundation that must educate many nations that claim the values of charity, the meaning of life, morals, true tolerance is the necessary result, made by man, and not forcibly, but in accordance with his conscience, since tolerance is the determining factor for the development of stability in any country.


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19 February 2018

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Cite this article as:

Anatolievich, E. B., Anatolievich, A. I., Valentinovich, B. R., Nikolaevich, F. V., & Evgenievna, M. N. (2018). Tolerance In Structure Of Spiritual And Moral Values Of Modern Societies. In I. B. Ardashkin, N. V. Martyushev, S. V. Klyagin, E. V. Barkova, A. R. Massalimova, & V. N. Syrov (Eds.), Research Paradigms Transformation in Social Sciences, vol 35. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 311-318). Future Academy.