Sunday, April 22, 2012

The New Tolerance is Intellectual Cowardice

"The tolerant person occupies neutral ground, a place of complete impartiality where each person is permitted to decide for himself. No judgments allowed. No 'forcing' personal views. Each takes a neutral posture towards another's convictions.
"What the new tolerance means," D.A. Carson writes in his new book, The Intolerance of Tolerance:
"is that the government must be intolerant of those who do not accept the new definition of tolerance." In this vein, tolerance becomes an absolute good with the power to erode moral and religious distinctives. 
Greg Koukl, "Stand To Reason"
In the name of tolerance, Carson writes, the secularists assert that "they have the right to control the public sphere because they are right—completely unaware that they are trying to impose their worldview on others who disagree with it." 

As Greg Koukl writes, 
True tolerance is impossible. In the realm of ideas, one must think that someone else is wrong in order to exercise tolerance towards him, and in doing so, this brings the accusation of intolerance....Most of what passes for tolerance today is not tolerance at all, but rather intellectual cowardice. Those who hide behind the myth of neutrality are often afraid of intelligent engagement. Unwilling to be challenged by alternate points of view, they don't engage contrary opinions or even consider them. It's easier to hurl an insult--"you intolerant bigot"--than to confront the idea and either refute it or be changed by it. "Tolerance" has become intolerance. 
The Tolerance Trick

Greg Koukl gives this real-life example which sums up the contradictions of the new tolerance:
Earlier this year I spoke to a class of seniors at a Christian high school in Des Moines, Iowa. I wanted to alert them to this "tolerance trick," but I also wanted to learn how much they had already been taken in by it. I began by writing two sentences on the board. The first expressed the current understanding of tolerance:

"All views have equal merit and none should be considered better than another."
All heads nodded in agreement. Nothing controversial here. Then I wrote the second sentence:
"Jesus is the Messiah and Judaism is wrong for rejecting Him."

Immediately hands flew up. "You can't say that," a coed challenged, clearly annoyed. "That's disrespectful. How would you like it if someone said you were wrong?"

"In fact, that happens to me all the time," I pointed out, "including right now with you. But why should it bother me that someone thinks I'm wrong?"

"It's intolerant," she said, noting that the second statement violated the first statement. What she didn't see was that the first statement also violated itself.

I pointed to the first statement and asked, "Is this a view, the idea that all views have equal merit and none should be considered better than another?" They all agreed.

Then I pointed to the second statement—the "intolerant" one—and asked the same question: "Is this a view?" They studied the sentence for a moment. Slowly my point began to dawn on them. They'd been taken in by the tolerance trick.

If all views have equal merit, then the view that Christians have a better view on Jesus than the Jews have is just as true as the idea that Jews have a better view on Jesus than the Christians do. But this is hopelessly contradictory. If the first statement is what tolerance amounts to, then no one can be tolerant because "tolerance" turns out to be gibberish.

                                                  Josh McDowell on Tolerance Time:2:57

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