So, in the blog yesterday, I was asked for my definition of tolerance. Here it is. Tolerance is a warmed up crock of cow dung, in my opinion. It stinks and provides nothing that satisfies. It is a specious, anti-Christian attempt to redefine issues of truth and justice under the auspices of political power, which is to say, that tolerance is a tool which is used by those whose desire is to coerce moral strictures on others without having to defend their moral views against the traditional safeguards of reason or revelation or even majority opinion.
Tolerance is an inherently contradictory concept, as was pointed out yesterday in the blog post and revealed in the comments which followed. No one is able to tolerate everyone or everything. It is impossible. Thus, tolerance becomes an aristocratic imposition of the personal preferences of those in power upon those who are not. It becomes a matter of arbitrary imposition which does not answer to the higher authority of reason. It is more akin to the manner in which 3rd world dictatorships impose morality than it is related to the historical, Judeo-Christian models of morality which prevailed in the West for the past 5 centuries.
Here is another of many examples of how hopelessly contradictory the concept of tolerance is in America. Folks want to kill Mormons and burn down their temples because of how intolerant the Mormons are!
I was thinking that a slightly less…antagonistic definition might be ‘allowing others to speak their mind even if you disagree with them – while still retaining the right to protest what they have to say’.
But I guess yours is more entertaining, at least.
I re-read my definition to see where it sounded antagonistic. I suppose it might have sounded that way, although I wasn’t angry or anything. I really am not angry. As a matter of fact, Augustine, I appreciate your comments very much. I applaud the free exchange of ideas.
Indeed, that is what I think tolerance ends up NOT allowing because it does not answer to reason or revelation or anything higher than its own desires; it simply demands to be obeyed, sort of like Islamic terrorists demanding that everyone be tolerant of Islam. Tolerance does not work. Reason works. It allows free (not arbitrary) restraints.
Your own definition of tolerance is, again, a good illustration of what I am saying. By your definition, as far as I can tell, Rick Warren would be classified as tolerant (which is fine with me because I think he is). I cannot imagine the homosexual activists in the articles I cited being comfortable with a definition of tolerance which allows evangelical Christians to be classified as tolerant. Yet, if one makes the definition any more clear or definite, he will most certainly exclude the activists in the articles, on the ground that they are intolerant of Rick Warren or Mormons or Christians. Thus, tolerance talk is useless.
Tolerance means that I let someone believe what they want without uncivilized opposition. It doesn’t mean that I let someone continue in error without warning them. Our society has twisted tolerance so that those who believe that certain beliefs or lifestyles are wrong are guilty and don’t deserve to be tolerated.
As a Christian I am very tolerant- in the right sense- of other beliefs. I am not, however, going to say that those other beliefs are equally valid. That’s just nonsense!
Thanks for the post!