The New Tolerance

  • In today’s culture a new brand of tolerance is being lifted up as society’s highest virtue. This new tolerance flows directly out of a postmodern culture that denies the reality of absolute truth.
  • The new tolerance of today says that because truth is relative you must uncritically accept all people in the areas of beliefs, practices, and lifestyle. And should you fail to practice this uncritical tolerance you will earn labels like “intolerant”, “bigoted”, or “hateful”.
  • This new tolerance is far different from the historical understanding of tolerance. Historically, tolerance always implied disagreement, but it called people to live respectfully and peacefully with one another amidst their disagreements.
  • What many in today’s culture fail to recognize is that to disagree with someone in a respectful manner isn’t being hateful; it’s being tolerant. To disagree with someone and then call them names or beat them up, that’s true intolerance.
  • As Christians today we must help our culture understand the true nature of tolerance. We must do this philosophically, but as importantly, we must demonstrate genuine tolerance in our speech and actions, even towards those who would label us “hateful” or “intolerant”.

For more on the Christian response to today’s new tolerance, please check out Jason Carlson’s CD album, Answering the Challenges of a Post-Christian Culture, available in our online store.