The Intolerability of Tolerance

The Keating Center has posted about the ever popular term “tolerance” before, but it seems that the overused and misused term continues to pop-up. Whenever Christians explain their stance on the idea of tolerance, it never fails that some feathers are ruffled.

The most recent example of this occurring can be found in Bartlesville, Oklahoma’s newspaper- The Examiner Enterprise. Oklahoma Wesleyan President Everett Piper recently wrote a piece titled “Using Absolutes to Refute Absolutes” about this paradox.

Following this piece, a letter was written in response to Dr. Piper’s piece, commenting on Dr. Piper’s use of language, in particular the term “tolerance.”

On June 25, 2013, Dr. Piper wrote a follow up piece, “The Intolerability of Intolerance” in response to the letter. In his response he addresses the popular false equivalence of agreement with tolerance, and the underlying idea being promoted that tolerance is society’s highest good.

He argues that “Post-modernity’s elevation of tolerance as our highest virtue is really not all that flattering. Love elevates all human beings. It demands that we consider others “better than ourselves.” Tolerance diminishes people as mere objects of sympathy. Where love is selfless, tolerance is often condescending.” To read the read the rest of Dr. Piper’s piece, click here.

What do you think about the term “tolerance?” Can a Christian actually be tolerant? Let us know what you think in the comments below.




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