John Cogley Quote

“Tolerance implies a respect for another person, not because he is wrong or even because he is right, but because he is human.”

~ John Cogley

Commonwealth, 24 April 1959

Ratings and Comments

Logan, Memphis, TN

Rubbish. Regardless of whether you're a religionist or atheist, this quote is worthless. A true religionist is not "tolerant", but humbly "loves the sinner" while "hating the sin" (as it were). Should the "sinner" in this case be an atheist, the atheist should ask for no tolerance, nor give any, because tolerance itself is completely outside the scope of what it cosmically means to not have a God; at the basic animal level, there is no "tolerance", only what "works" for each individual creature; animals co-exist with each other, not because they're tolerant, but because it "works" for their own specific need. Everyone is always worried about what other people think of them; atheists should be the ones above this all, and not care what anyone in society thinks, since science is not concerned with people's perceptions. "Humanity" is just as vague as right or wrong; it is just the figment of some guy's imagination. Otherwise, if there is a God, then we respect all God's creations for what they are, whether perceived right or wrong, because they are God's creation.

E Archer, NYC

Makes perfect sense to me. (Contrary to Logan's diatribe against atheists whom he finds intolerable and undeserving of respect.)

Logan, Memphis, TN

Archer, don't misunderstand what I'm saying, I'm not attacking anyone or anything. As a believer in a God, I find that all of God's creation should be respected and held in high esteem, without exception. I get as frustrated with so-called Christians as I do with so-called atheists. I have no problem with atheists who call it as it is, and I know a few, who I have great respect for. The issue is that atheism, as a philosophy, cannot pick and choose what it wants to accept and what it doesn't (as well as any other philosophy). If there is no God, then there is no right and wrong, only what "works"; this leads to the only problem I see, with many so-called atheists, because what "works" is always personally relative. If I kill another man, sure, it works for me, but it didn't for the other person (etc. etc. etc.). Tolerance only exists in a "right/wrong" frame of existence, which atheism is fundamentally against.

Mike, Norwalk

Logan, though I agree with your definitions, the quote is about toleration. All individuals are children of God, having by birth certain family attributes (such as the ability to tolerate), whether or not they believe they are of the Eternal's family. Atheism is a religion (belief system), as your definitions and logic have explained so well over a few blogs, of the prideful ignorant, always learning and never coming to the truth (unable to accept or claim absolutes - morals, good v bad, etc.). The human family can learn a form of tolerance, even while they deny or fight against its true source.

  • Reply
EGL, LA    12/28/06

The only chance there is for human understanding, cooperation, peaceful coexistence and forgiveness is to embrace our common humanity. This quote is a simple expression of this fact. It has nothing to do with a belief in god or atheism. To assume it does perpetuates the misconception that the human being could not be innately moral without a dictatorial god figure who provides the rules that otherwise stupid humans could never figure out. Three are many examples of social forms of moral order from Rousseau, Humanism, Buddhism and other eastern philosophies that achieve high moral ground without reliance on a patriarchal god figure. For people who do not embrace the interventionist god mythology it is a such a simple discussion that we usually do not even bother having it.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Yes, Mike, as "Christians", I agree that we're all apart of God's great big happy family; however, the quote is in reference to toleration due to basic humanity. I personally do not have respect for someone because he is a human or non-human, but because all things, as I see them, are a creation of God. Atheistically, toleration isn't even a misnomer, it simply just doesn't exist.

Jack, Green, OH

The quote is a good one, but how can anyone think atheism is a religion? A religion has a system of worship and a creed laid down by a clergy, who tells the laity what to believe (except maybe Unitarians who have no creed but do have a beautiful system of worship, and even prayer, although not like ones used by most religions), . There is no atheist creed, or clergy and obviously no system of worship. It is not a "faith” atheists believe. They simply have not seen a deity they can accept as a mystical superior. It is not just semantics to an atheist, but is a real difference. It is also foolish for religious people to try to understand, or explain, atheism so they should not try. Most atheists have a background in some religion or other, so they have a better understanding of both than religious people usually do. Their explanations usually reveal a negative bias, not knowledge

Mike, Norwalk

Jack, that's one of many nice definitions that can be used to define religion, but very very narrow and incomplete (almost holy enough for atheists to hide behind).

Jack, Green, OH

If my definition of religion is narrow, Mike, give me a broader one - one that says how a believer really believes, or whatever you meant by that.. I simply explain what I think and hide behind nothing, and surely nothing approaching holy or sacred -- or I might be considered religious and I would not hide behind that. I am interested in religions and why they exist, but no interest in hiding behind anything religious. Keep your religion to yourself and I'll keep my lack of it to myself -- except when I hear it challenged or am said to have a 'faith', as the term is commonly used. I have plenty of faith in things I can understand, not in dogmatic mystery, however..

Mike, Norwalk

Jack, your definition defined a specific formal organization within Christianity. A religion is a belief, singly or in combination with a set or system thereof, that is the foundation for conscientious devotion (to a super human experience, nature, the findings of science, etc.) Theism is the religion of a super human experience (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc.). Atheism is the religion of a non-super human experience. Atheism can have a creed, clergy, and a system of worship such as in Communism or a Nazi form of fascism, or not; the same as much of that which is non-organized Judaism or Christianity. Atheism can have its faith based non-super human experience belief of the creation such as evolution and other specific dogmas that are non-provable. Atheism becomes a recognizable religion when it abolishes all other belief systems from it's domain, formally organized or otherwise. And Jack, I appreciate your candor in search of knowledge.

Jack, Green, OH

It's true; you can't make yourself believe anything. You either believe something or you don't, or have no opinion. It is just as hopeless for me to try to make someone believe atheism cannot be a religion as it would be for him to convince me it is. I can't be convinced because it has none of the attributes of any religion; creed, clergy, system of worship, any semblance of a deity, etc -- you name it; atheism has none of them. I do not say there is no supreme being. There may well be one, or more, but I won't hold my breath till I see evidence of one. I am absolutely, positively, one hundred percent certain, however, if there is one, he/she/it will not be anything like those described already -- even down to what he thinks and says and expects of his subjects. My certainty is just plain odds. What a coincidence if any of them happened to guess right about such a remote and complex possibility. So keep kidding yourselves that atheism is a faith, or a religion, although I have no idea what difference it makes to you. Why are you so concerned? I will not accept I am religious.

Editor, Liberty Quotes

Pardon me, gentlemen, but are we now debating the existence of god? There just isn't enough space for that. I thank you for providing ample evidence of the verity of the quote above, but please confine comments to the quote.

Joe, Rochester, MI

I'm not sure how Logan turns "tolerance" into "religion", but he certainly seems angry at God.

Shadman, NY,Astoria

I agree with this comment and this is very sensible.


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