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Religious tolerance is the ability to appreciate spiritual values, beliefs and practices which are different from yours. We have dozens of religious practices all over the world , in Nigeria it is basically three namely Islam, Christianity and African Traditional Religion.

We live in a globally oriented world of mass trading and immigration, travelling has become a norm to explore and discover new ideas and concepts so it will be unwise to ostracize some set of people because their belief differ from yours. Tolerance should be encouraged as a national norm.

It is a complicated world we have found ourselves in, we are all trying to find answers to difficult questions, we rely on faith and belief to make sense. Why should one be so egotistical to belief that they have found the one true deity. They should understand that there could be different paths to reach out to that same deity or another deity entirely.

In several countries religious tolerance is actually codified to ensure that there are no isolated incidents related to religious intolerance. The government is not meant to choose one religion over the other. Nigeria is a secular nation by description, that is to say we are not religiously inclined that all citizens are free to choose their beliefs accordingly. Why then do we take these things too seriously that it leads to fanatism?

Reasons for religious intolerance include the leaders do not make out time to truly understand the doctrines of the said religion but misinterpret it according to their desires, poor religious education, arrogance of religious leaders, the inability of religious leaders to truly impact the lives of their followers positively and indoctrination.

Religious tolerance can be encouraged through teaching members of a religious sect their doctrines in educational centres, the unbiased teachings of religious leaders, the family unit should be sensitive to fanatism and always preach love irrespective of differences, better understanding of things that are strange or new to us, and to accept that we are all humans. We all bleed red so why all the hate over a deity that is supposed to be doing the fighting for us?

In Nigeria religion is a delicate matter and we need to understand our differences in order to coexist peacefully for the sake of national development.


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