Letter: Challenges to faith and atheism on the streets of the Holy City

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The Independent Online
Letter: Challenges to faith and atheism on the streets of the Holy City

ir: Polly Toynbee argues that religions are essentially intolerant and "once they try to incorporate tolerance, they lose the plot, like the Church of England". Yet the very symbol of Christianity which she derides as sanctifying "a particularly disgusting Roman torture" is a guarantee that tolerance is integral to the Christian faith. Such is the freedom which God gives us that He even lets us kill Him. Far from imposing His will on us by force, He gives us the freedom to make our own choices and decisions, even when we make them in ways of which He disapproves.

We should, therefore, give the same freedom to one another. When we fail to do so, we are acting in ways totally inconsistent with the essentially tolerant nature of our religion. Fanaticism and Christianity are not just different in degree, but in kind.

MICHAEL LLOYD

Chaplain

Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge

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