Kemetic faith and tolerance

Em hotep,

Me and my friend, Merytsekhmet who is remetj in HoN (she’s in the forum board too), we are also active in the French-speaking kemetic community (called netjeriste in France). A few days ago, a topic was launched with French-speaking Kemites (netjerists) on the Neferu Khepri group about tolerance. And after reflection, we thought that this subject could also be interesting to share with you, our brothers and sisters of faith, to know your points of view and your experiences as kemetic like us. We think that as practitioners of Ma’at, we probably have a lot in common on the subject.

Here are the questions we asked to open the debate on the French-speaking side. How do you define tolerance? Is tolerance limited to the religious domain or is it present in other areas of life? Do we put it into practice in our daily lives? Is it simple? Is it difficult? What are the limits of tolerance according to you? What can we design together to promote this value?

Thank you for your participation
I will also post my answers here in a few days.
Senebty - Have a nice day


Tolerance is an extremely personal decision. The rules of social order would seem to be built with tolerance as component, thusly providing a basic idea on how to act right, but it will always be persons own choice on how to act out based on their belief structure. One persons idea of tolerance may not line up with anothers and so perspective becomes an important component of the discussion. Biases based on social justice, or lack thereof would seem to fuether erode the idea of tolerance due to the fact that people, as a general observation, seem very reluctant to turn the other cheek, making tolerance in the face of intolerance a fleeting, if not all together absent part of global society.

It’s up to each one of us to live out the ma’at (or whatever you believe) in the best way we know how. Most religions prescribe to a pretty basic tennant…just be decent to each other. That’s really all it takes.


So, many years ago I was part of a team creating an award for scouts based around religious and cultural understanding. It went through many changes during the project, but part of it was defining some words used in the award program, one of which was “Tolerate”. Tolerate has a bunch of bad connotations, especially when it comes to cultural and religious identity, but we found a lesser-used definition of the word that really spoke to the team, a team that had many different religious leaders and cultural leaders.

To tolerate means: to recognize and respect the rights, beliefs, or practices of others. (The American Heritage College Dictionary, 3rd edition)

This definition really turned the corner from what many people use the word “It’s different, and I don’t like it, but I’ll allow it to exist” to a celebration of differences. It has stuck with me all these years later, and a valuable concept to think about!


I think answers would greatly depend on the prerequisite context of the existing conversation, which we don’t really have here. So I’m going to talk in very broad-stroke emotions, based on what I feel, because the fact is there are two very different definitions of tolerance, and mine comes very much up on the dark side of things. I also very much speak as an individual.

The word “tolerance” itself has always carried a negative connotation for me. It seems steeped in unwillingness – even though some dictionary definitions state verbatim ‘the willingness to tolerate’ (particularly the existence of things). In other definitions, the term ‘endure’ crops up, another word carrying a more negative than positive feeling for me, that you are ‘subject’ to something you simply must ‘bear’ in order to move forward.

I suppose tolerance feels much like the bare minimum humans can possibly provide to a world swathed in broad and beautiful diversity. In general, I just don’t find tolerance goes far enough. It begs no such ideas of learning, broadening of horizons, and I’d disagree that it carries by default any aspect of respect, recognition, or understanding either. Even growth is not required; actually, I’d suggest it’s more akin to stagnation. Tolerance is the ability to sit and withstand a thing, maybe over and over, without ever needing to become more than what you are. Tolerance is to endure pain, hardship, and survive. But mere survival does not make us better (despite the old adage) all on its own, and the basic pre-requisite of tolerance can be simple apathy, or even ignorance.

All that out of the way, I’m not going to deny tolerance is a start. It’s the first step (maybe not even that, more like a pre-step, a baby step, a leaning in the general direction of something better). But Ultimately when I hear someone ‘tolerates’ something, it sounds more like they’re working through a stomach cramp than anything, and that’s a “meh” experience at best.

Is tolerance limited to the religious domain or is it present in other areas of life?

Tolerance is in absolutely every aspect of our lives, the fact that it is in the religious or spiritual life is as a result nearly unavoidable and completely unsurprising. It is not special, religious tolerance. It’s just another form of “the bare minimum”. Tolerating the beliefs of others is not respect, dignity, knowledge, and some people mistakenly think it’s power for some reason (as though we have any right to “permit” something’s existence or not, particularly when the something is a human being’s rights or even their very existence).

As for it being simple or difficult, I think it is one of the easiest things a human can do, since all you need to do, is do nothing at all.

What are the limits of tolerance according to you?

Something that intentionally sets out to harm. If I define tolerance as ‘the bare minimum’, there is certainly not even that for something that is intentionally out to hurt people, but because tolerance is so darn simple, the cure for that is nothing less than action (against that which is intentionally setting out to harm). Otherwise, if you simply let something be even while it harms others, that is just another level of tolerance.

What can we design together to promote this value?

I don’t think I want to promote it. Instead, I want to break it down, and promote the individual values we assign to tolerance:

  • Knowledge
  • Growth
  • Understanding
  • Respect
  • Recognition
  • Interaction
  • Communication
  • Bridge-building
  • etc.

I never want to simply tolerate something, or someone. That’s not a goal for me. That would for me feel like settling for less. I think the way I’ve grown up and lived my life heavily influences the way I see this word. I am sure other people have much broader meanings that ring true for them, and that’s perfectly fine. But for me, I’d rather replace the word all together if for no other reason than it can be taken in such starkly different ways.


Em hotep Paut-_Neteru,

I don’t think the definition of tolerance is personal. Because the words have a meaning and the language is something common, which allows everyone to understand each other by designating the same thing, with the same term. What is personal is the interpretation that everyone makes of it according to their history, their context and their interpretative filters.

But this word has a meaning, as Padjaiemweru points out. A meaning that does not make it a synonym, for example, of complacency or scruffiness.

Thank you all for your participation
All points of view are interesting.



Em hotep Nesiwepwawet

It is not about a particular conversation, with a precise context, but about the notion of tolerance in general. Because in my opinion tolerance, globally, raises the same questions whether it is in the religious or cultural field…, if you look closely.


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I agree with you in principal but i do submit that tolerance, as a concept, is greatly influenced by many other factors, both personal and situational. Does you idea of tolerance remain intact in the face of intolerance? I think this is the test. Understanding the concept of tolerance and how to apply it is one thing, then the act of being tolerant is another but i believe that continuing to be tolerant throughout the trials are what is really important. I believe that when i stand before Inpw and my heart is judged, it wont be based on my knowledge of right and wrong but in how i acted those principals out through my life. I love the concept of tolerance, especially in today’s intolerant world, but i challenge everyone to be about tolerance, even when it’s hard…which seems like every second of life lately.


I think tolerance often contains an awful lot of intolerance sadly the way it is put into practice anyway :frowning: But that may be more about how people interpret the idea and less about what it should be in spirit.

Dictionary-definition wise, I still find it falls mostly into the “grin and bear it” category which doesn’t evoke positive emotions from me personally, so I try to avoid the term and replace it with more nuanced ideas that can be better acted upon. Drilling down is important. But for people who already do interpret it in the positive, obviously it takes on a much different light :slight_smile:


I “tolerate” a great deal of beliefs that I consider nonsensical, both in real life and online, because ultimately those beliefs aren’t hurting anyone other than those who believe in them. Unless someone’s beliefs or practices are actively hurting others, I really don’t care what’s going on in someone else’s head.


This is an interesting question! My background is in dharmic religion, so that has a large influence on my perspective. In Buddhism, tolerance is a part of Right View, a part of the eightfold path. Essentially, tolerance to me means cultivating the perspective that we are all (myself included) foolish beings, and foolish beings sometimes say, do, or believe foolish things. It’s my duty to recognize that their foolishness is due to the same ignorance that we are all subject to, and respond with compassion, peace, and love; it’s my duty to respond to hate with goodness. That certainly isn’t easy, and as a foolish being I don’t always succeed; but that’s the goal!

Tolerance is not limited to the religious domain, it touches every part of our lives. Every moment we are alive we encounter reasons to be angry, to be discontent. Even though it is a key component of several religions, responding with kindness no matter what isn’t a religious statement in and of itself.

This does not imply that I am merely passive and will allow hate, injustice, and violence to be carried out. Seeking justice for those who are marginalized and oppressed is also a part of tolerance. However, I try do proceed with love and kindness rather than meeting hate and ignorance with more hate and ignorance. As a transgender person I am keenly aware that we are a “hot topic” right now (strangely, no one batted an eye when I transitioned 15 years ago, I’m not sure what happened to make us such a threat) and I will always oppose legislation that makes it more difficult for trans people to obtain the healthcare they need or just live their lives the way they wish to. I will at every opportunity attempt to inform the ignorant that they are being hoodwinked, that trans people are only being used today as a political tool to keep a particular voting bloc united against a common threat. I will often be unsuccessful, but I will to the best of my ability continue to be kind and compassionate, even to those who are ignorant. Being an example of goodness in an increasingly polarized world with a magnified propensity to hate is another aspect of tolerance.

This post went in an unexpected direction, but hopefully it is clear. Tolerance for me is about transcending differences. It’s about standing up for justice, stridently and honestly, without resorting to hate or personal attacks. It’s about voicing my own beliefs and speaking against ignorance from a place of compassion and kindness rather than from a place of ego and disdain. I find that tolerance, when I can hold onto that view, is much more than merely gritting my teeth and bearing the discomfort of a situation that I know is wrong (though I have had to do that from time to time); it’s about finding a place of peace in an increasingly chaotic world, and working to promote that peace, rather than add to the chaos.


Em hotep,

Thank you for all your responses. Each point of view is interesting and contributes to the subject.

In turn, I will answer questions on this subject. My definition of tolerance is as follows.
For me, practicing tolerance is neither tolerating social injustice nor renouncing one’s convictions. It is to admit other ways of thinking and living, that are different from mine.

It is difficult because certain ways of thinking can revolt him. I may find them unethical, violent or discriminatory. But if I admit that the other could think differently, this does not necessarily mean tolerating acts contrary to individual freedoms or human rights, for example. I distinguish the thought from the act.

On the other hand, it is not tolerable that violent acts, death threats, discrimination, illegal acts or acts against freedoms result from this thought. If free thought is tolerated, action is always framed by laws, justice, individual freedoms and human rights.

Tolerance is a difficult value to practice, because we often ask for tolerance for ourselves, but this concept is difficult to respect towards others. Do I tolerate someone against abortion, for example, if that’s not my opinion? Do I tolerate someone who forces his wife to stay at home, if I am for feminist ideas?

Today, I try to practice tolerance by observing when I judge people. Intolerance is also the expression of judgment. It is also in the debates of ideas. Sometimes I find it difficult to discuss conflicting ideas, especially on the Internet, without the dialogue turning into conflict. Tolerance is also practiced by avoiding staying in groups where everyone thinks the same. The more we come into contact with different cultures and ways of thinking, the better is our tolerance for difference.

In March, we try to organize with my friend Merytsekhmet, an online dialogue with French-speaking kemetics. If this project sees the light of day, I will try to summarize the ideas of the participants.

I hope my writings are understandable. I don’t practice much written English and sometimes I need an online translator.