Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Terminology Tuesday: Tolerance

Tolerance: A trait regarded as one of the chief virtues by contemporary Western societies. Tolerance is often confused with a relativistic refusal to criticize another view or make any substantive value judgments. However, logically, tolerance is consistent with an attitude of strong disagreement and even disapproval. There are many views I may tolerate (in the sense that I think people should be allowed to hold them) that I think are mistaken or harmful. Tolerance is also sometimes confused with respect, but the two attitudes are distinct. I may respect a committed political rebel even though I do not tolerate his behavior. I may tolerate people whom I do not respect at all.1

1. C.Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), p. 63-116.


Mikel said...

A good reminder. The word "tolerance" is often thrown around but rarely understood in our relativistic culture.

BTW, Focus on the Family just picked up a story and published my comments on this very issue---an issue that landed me in a legal deposition last year. Read More

Apologetics Guy

Davitor said...

Ever wonder how God can tolerate the massive amount of suffering that were caused by Hitler, chairman Mao, Stalin, and all the serial killers through out history that even tortured woman and children. How can God stand by and tolerate this enormous amount of suffering without striking them dead on the spot, while such heinous crime were being committed.
So therefore be perfect as your Heavenly Father and stop justifying were you can draw the line on your tolerance.

Hendrik van der Breggen said...

Thanks, Brian, for the note on "tolerance." And thanks, Mikel, for the apologia at your legal deposition last year.

Mikel, one of your comments (quoted by Citizen magazine and restated in your blog) is excellent and worth restating here: "There's a huge difference between teaching tolerance -- which is by definition being respectful of other people with whom you disagree -- and saying a certain lifestyle is to be affirmed as morally praiseworthy." This distinction is hugely important, and too often neglected.

I have written three short newspaper columns on tolerance, which may be helpful to readers interested in this topic. These columns can be found here.

Best regards,

Russell said...


I have a hard time understanding your position on tolerance. Are you saying that the tragedies committed by the dictators you listed above were not actually tragedies? Should we be tolerant of their choices?

Also, I find it interesting that you would add "even tortured woman and children" to your statement. This gives me the impression that you think it is worse for women and children to be tortured than for men. This seems to contradict your last statement.

Davitor said...

Dear Russell, why do you seek my position on tolerance and not of God’s? Who cares about my momentary human condition and my fragmented mind that chooses what it perceives as good as you so pointed out my preference to save "woman & children" and not of men. Why do you seek the understanding of tolerance of ancient men lived in an era of monarchies where total suppression was required for law and order. You need God's position of tolerance through prayer and meditation? The answer can only come from God through you in total stillness.

Russell said...


What exactly do you beleive God's interpretation of Tolerance is?

I am questioning your interpretation of tolerance because it seems inconsistent. You seem to think that we, as rational and intelligent human beings, are not able to make moral judgments. I think this is false. See Matthew 7:15-20.

Davitor said...

Russell, only God can give you this answer. So why do you keep asking me?

Russell said...


Why do you keep side stepping my questions? I don't want to be disrespectful, but you leave a comment on all sorts of topics here. When asked about your beliefs or when your ideas are challenged you ignore the question and pose an obscure question.

Davitor said...

Russell, I do not mean at all to ignore the question but to answer it with the truth which only comes from God.

Neal Korfhage said...

With all due respect Davitor this isn't an article about the problem of evil. If you think that it's logically impossible that God and evil can exist in the same universe then please present your argument so that we may engage it. If you are not willing to do that I really don't see the point of you posting in this topic. Red herrings are not a substitute for a good argument. Sarcasm doesn't make you seem intelligent either.

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