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Tolerating Intolerance Can Be Intolerable

, | Learning | April 19, 2013

(The professor has just finished a lecture involving the vanara, a race of monkey-like semi-divine beings in an Indian religion. One student is frowning and clearly upset.)

Professor: “Ah, [student]? Do you have a question?”

Student: “I don’t know. Do people, like, actually believe in this stuff?”

Professor: “…What?”

Student: “I mean, it’s so ridiculous! People don’t actually believe this is real, right? So stupid.”

Professor: “Well, all right. You’re a Christian, aren’t you?”

Student: *proudly* “Yes, I am!”

Professor: “Do you interpret the Bible literally?”

Student: “Of course I do!”

Professor: “Well, there are plenty of things in the Bible that seem ridiculous or impossible as well, and yet you believe in those. I think it’s a little unfair to treat Hinduism — or Hindus — any differently.”

Student: “That’s completely different!”

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