Voltaire, a French philosopher, wrote in 1763, “Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so, too.” Being able to think for ourselves is one of the key qualities that make us human. It means we can decide how to live, who to spend time with and what we believe.
As a result, there are thousands of varied cultures and religions around the world. If we follow Voltaire’s advice, all these differences can be celebrated. We can do this with tolerance.
Tolerance means to accept beliefs or ways of doing things other than your own. It means respecting other people’s opinions – even if we don’t agree. It also requires us to accept people we see as different, such as someone from a different country or social group.
Not everyone is tolerant, though. Some reject people they think are different, or whose opinion they think is wrong. Some groups, for example, are attacked or persecuted for their religion, for the colour of their skin.
The United Nations says that the best way to fight hate and discrimination is through education – as humans, we may fear what we do not understand. This week, talk to someone whose beliefs are different from yours. What can you learn?
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Egyptian footballer Mo Salah speaks in this interview about the experience of moving to a new country, learning to live in a new culture, and being accepted.
- Choose a religion that is not your own and create a fact file about it including history, beliefs and traditions.
- Design a poster with five tips for tolerance and share it with your friends.