What is a word for when you accept someone else's beliefs, but do not believe in them yourself?

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    Reminds me of the words of Evelyn Beatrice Hall, who in her biography of Voltaire summarized Voltaire's beliefs with the sentence "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it," which summarizes how in a free society, every person, even a minority of one, has the right to air her point of view without the fear of being silenced. Of course there are categories of expression to which negative sanctions should attach, even in a free society; e.g., slander, libel, inciting to riot, shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater when there is no fire . . .. – rhetorician Nov 11 '13 at 15:36

Tolerant willing to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own

a culture tolerant of religious differences

If I say I am tolerant of someone's beliefs it means I accept his/her faith without prejudice. However, this does not mean I will share his/her religious convictions or views; I may even want to distance myself from them.

The antonym of tolerant is intolerant

Wikipedia has a passage which illustrates how closely related the two words are. They are, ironically, often used in unison.

Walzer, Karl Popper and John Rawls have discussed the paradox of tolerating intolerance. Walzer asks "Should we tolerate the intolerant?" He notes that most minority religious groups who are the beneficiaries of tolerance are themselves intolerant, at least in some respects. Rawls argues that an intolerant sect should be tolerated in a tolerant society unless the sect directly threatens the security of other members of the society. He links this principle to the stability of a tolerant society, in which members of an intolerant sect in a tolerant society will, over time, acquire the tolerance of the wider society.

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    Good illustrative passage. Question: Should your sentence "It is, ironically, often used in unison" be worded "The two words, tolerant and intolerant, are often used in unison"? If so, I think I understand what you're saying; if not, I'm probably in the dark. – rhetorician Nov 11 '13 at 15:24
  • @rhetorician Yes, that's what I meant. Thanks for pointing out my mistake! – Mari-Lou A Nov 11 '13 at 20:02

If it suits your context consider




These words are more specific to beliefs than one suggestion - tolerant.


The Orwellian coinage doublethink is applicable.

OED definition:

the acceptance of contrary opinions or beliefs at the same time.

  • “Acceptance” here means that the person actually wholly believes in contradictory things. It's not the same sense of “accept” used in the question, which means tolerance rather than belief. – Bradd Szonye Nov 11 '13 at 22:34

Hypocrite. The urban dictionary actually has "hippocrite," meaning "A squishy hippo that happends to be hypocritical of others. Derived from the word hypocrite, but accomodated to specificy hippos." (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hippocrite). My laugh for the day. Cheers all.

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