Religion as a Source of Both Tolerance and Intolerance in Society

By: Quinn Galbraith   Adam Callister  

Given society’s ever-changing beliefs about religion’s proper role in the public sphere, this study seeks to analyze the dichotomy of religion as both a source of tolerance and intolerance in society. In order to address this topic of interest, researchers conducted interviews with 172 religious individuals living in Ireland and the United Kingdom in June and July of 2016. Interview participants came from a variety of different faith backgrounds including Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Baha’i. In regards to religious tolerance, researchers identified a number of themes from the data which suggest that religion’s role in promoting interfaith interaction as well as teaching inclusion leads religious adherents to be more tolerant of different religious groups. In contrast, researchers identified themes related to religious intolerance which suggest that religious differences have the potential to engender intolerance between religious adherents of the same faith, between religious adherents of different faiths, and within families and communities in general. Additionally, many participants expressed their belief that the increasing secularization of society has led people to become less tolerant of religion in the public sphere. The implications of these findings with regards to prior research on the topic are discussed and suggestions for further research are offered.

Tolerance, Intolerance, Qualitative
The Politics of Religion
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Quinn Galbraith

United States
Utah, United States

I conducted the Faith, Families, Freedom Project in which I traveled throughout Ireland and the UK to interview highly religious families and religious leaders with a team of Family Life faculty. 

Adam Callister

Research Assistant, BYU, United States
United States