Tuesday, May 20, 2008

On Tolerance

What is tolerance? When I was a great deal younger, it meant putting up with what you yourself did not actually agree with. For example, you tolerated the neighbour's dog barking at all hours. Or you tolerated the Monkey-Puzzle tree in the neighbours' front garden. That was tolerance. In theological circles it means that we put up with opinions with which we do not agree, in wider circles it means that we believe in religious freedom for the Unitarians, Swedenborgians and so forth.

The post-modern idea of tolerance is different. It means that you are expected to hold that all truth-claims are equally valid. So long as you hold to this, you are yourself 'tolerated'. In other words, postmodern tolerance is conditional on yourself being postmodern. Otherwise you are intolerant, and therefore not to be tolerated.

This is in fact a word-game on the level of those of Orwell's 1984. Instead of being expressly about those with whom we disagree, tolerance now refers to those with whom we in fact agree. But Hitler himself 'tolerated' those who agreed with him. Every totalitarian who is not completely insane grants freedom to those with whom he agrees. So we have gained nothing and lost much by the redefinition of tolerance.

What we plead for is the right to be wrong. THAT is tolerance, everything else is an imitation, Satan masquerading as an angel of light. Otherwise we have committed intellectual suicide and destroyed our very reason for existence.

Brothers, let us reclaim the true meaning of tolerance, before its new definition is usd to wipe us out!


Rev. said...

I recommend D.A. Carson's 'The Gagging of God' on this very important topic.

Highland Host said...

Read it, liked it, got strange looks on the Underground in London for doing so.

jazzycat said...

Great article. Well said and very true. This new tolerance has reached the level of nonsense where two contridictions are both considered true.