Society Magazine

"... a Tolerance That Makes Rejection of Absolutes an Absolute"

Posted on the 05 June 2013 by Brutallyhonest @Ricksteroni

James Kalb is reviewing D. A. Carson's The Intolerance of Tolerance and speaking to that which seems to be getting progressively worse each day:

What emerges from his discussion of such instances is a recognition that tolerance was originally more a social response than an intellectual stance. Its extent and boundaries were based on such substantive IntoleranceOfTheTolerantconsiderations as the social good. A particular instance of toleration might be accepted as a stopgap until agreement could be reached, or a way of promoting energetic and rational discussion, or as an expression of respect for those who differed on issues that were not considered fundamental.


The result has not been a state of ultimate freedom but a tolerance that makes rejection of absolutes an absolute. That, of course, is self-contradiction. As the author notes, the “truth question catches up with all of us,” and secularism has turned out as absolutist and dogmatic in its commitments as any other system. It is more so than most since it denies that it has dogmatic certainties and so feels no obligation to articulate and defend itself against objection. Instead, it relies on the “manipulative bludgeoning” of accusations of intolerance.

The new tolerance thus puts irrationality and bullying at the heart of public discussion. The results are as bad as might be expected. The new tolerance can’t deal with evil, for example, so serious discussion of human life and the public good becomes impossible. That leads to practical problems. The author notes, for example, that the idea of truth is necessary to resist tyranny, giving twentieth-century tyrannies and unpleasant features of Japanese life as examples. Nor can democratic procedures solve the problem. If rational discussion is impossible democracy becomes unworkable, and power inevitably flows upward to manipulative and irresponsible elites.

The author notes that the Christian emphasis on truth makes Christianity intolerant and therefore illegitimate by the new definition of tolerance. He therefore ends the book with a discussion of how Christians (and indeed perhaps other religious believers as well) should proceed today. At the intellectual level, he says, they should stand for civility and the principle of the supremacy of truth. They should also distinguish diversity as a situation from diversity as a principle, and debunk the new tolerance and the claimed neutrality of the secular. And at the spiritual level they should evangelize, be prepared to suffer, and trust God.

More at the link.

I don't believe it to be a stretch, particularly with the bunch in power today, to think that the faithful will suffer, thanks in no small measure to the ignorant who read words like this and are either bored by them or apathetic.

Rather than logic or reason ruling the day, a deadly combination of apathy, ignorance and emotion are combining to form a triple threat to believers in God and to believers in the ideals that once made this country great.

Trusting God will be necessary.  Acting by His guidance more so.

Come Holy Spirit, come.

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