I sat in a classroom every day where a loving teacher took time apart from her planned lesson to confront a nonchalant student. Sadly, in the eyes of the mainstream society today, what the teacher did was wrong. The teacher should have tolerated the student’s indifference according to the mainstream. This new ideology of tolerance causes a moral dilemma, an irritable ignorance, and a provincial problem.
Tolerance is, stated from the Webster’s New World Collegiate Dictionary, “the amount of variation allowed from a standard.” Simply stated: the average guy believes murder is wrong, a killer believes it is a decent thing to do; therefore, the average guy allows the murderer to continue killing. Disgust would fill the country at the idea of allowing a murderer to continue in his ways simply because, “we have to be tolerant. This example is a bit drastic, but it would be a double standard to say this idea cannot apply to other moral issues. A mother cannot stand lying, but would she allow her child to lie to her because of tolerance alone? By no means! Tolerance liquefies the foundation of standards and when one has nothing to stand on, he sinks into the mainstream of indifference.
In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis names this foundation “The Law of Human Nature.” He goes on to say how hen people break this law they tend to make excuses. For example, “I was born this way,” or, “it’s mine, I can do whatever I want with it.” These justifications have no foundation, but people do not dispute them because the masses have tolerance (16).
Another misconception arises at the idea of intolerance that should be erased. Intolerant people are not arrogant, disrespectful people who deserve to be called rude names. Of course a few intolerant people fall into that category, but that should not cause irrelevant prejudices. People love to rest easy in the lazy river of tolerance because that cool pool is filled with respect. A peace of mind arises because no ripples are created. The mainstream feeds off the pleasure of the easy life, but pleasure for the sake of pleasure is pointless. Tolerance creates no bad consequences directly, and pleasure, peace, and respect poke their heads out immediately. Theses things for the sake of themselves gain no ground and actually destroy the foundation in the long run.
Tolerance destroys the foundation by eradication opinions. “The relativist essentially redefines truths in order to create a paradoxical world where multiple contradictory ‘truths’ can co-exist” (“Should Christians”). This co-existence creates an impediment for further enlightenment. Tolerance puts all ideas under its own authority. The Roman Catholic Church did just that in the Middle Ages. The church controlled all ideas and put Latin Christendom through the Dark Ages. Is the earth the center of the universe?
Unlike the Medieval Roman Catholic Church, tolerance does not decide absolute truths and causes contradictions. Pro-life and pro-choice cannot both be true, but tolerance claims otherwise. Tolerance seems pleasurable on the outside and everyone can live in peace, but contradictions are still not true. People believe lies and have no problem about it. Therefore, tolerance placed people back in the Dark Ages because no effort is made in finding the truth.
Some may argue scientists will always see the world objectively, but Allan Bloom, an expert on social thought, puts it differently. According to Bloom, provincial thought arises through creative scientists. Man’s ability is very interesting to society and scientists try to fulfill that interest (182). For example, global warming is a theory, but some well-respected scientists go out of their way to find evidence for it rather than observing the facts objectively. Even scientists have conformed to the mainstream though of being tolerant.
The definition of tolerance in itself is a paradox. Who would allow a deviation from his standards unless he really does not believe in his standards? The intolerant would not allow an illogical statement to justify the deviation and would continue the argument respectfully with an open mind. Instead of shoving all the ideas together flowing down the main stream, the intolerant person picks up his paddle and explores the world of ideas. Being tolerant is deciding not to decide. Interestingly enough, tolerant people cannot tolerate the intolerant.
Agnes, Micheal. Guralnik, David, B. Webster’s New World College Dictionary Fourth Edition. Foster City: IDG Books Worldwide, Inc. 2001. 1506. Print.
Bloom, Allan. The Closing of the American Mind. New York: Touchstone, 1987. 182- 184. Print.
Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity. New York: HarperCollins, 1952. 9-18. Print.
Should Christians be tolerant of other people’s religious beliefs?. Got Question Ministries. 2010. Web. 12 Dec. 2010.