I used to think it was hypocritical when people would claim to be tolerant, and yet not tolerate the intolerance of others. But should intolerance be tolerated?
I now realize that if a person is truly tolerant, intolerance is a characteristic they MUST NOT tolerate. [Tweet this]
Tolerance is actually a very low standard. It is not the belief that all views are equally valid, nor that all opinions are equally credible, and it is certainly does not even come close to what Jesus taught as “agape,” which is unconditional love.
Tolerance is simply the idea that a society functions best when a person’s beliefs are not used as grounds for hatred, discrimination, or violence. A person who sincerely embraces this idea cannot, at the same time, support its opposite.
All values have logical limits. One may believe in and practice free speech, but one may not yell “Fire” in a crowded movie theater just for fun. That endangers people.
A Christian church that claims to be “open and accepting” could not reasonably be called hypocritical for refusing to let an avowed atheist preach the Sunday sermon. It cannot support “openness” to a point where it begins actually working against its core message.
One may be intolerant (it is ignorant, but not criminal), but one cannot reasonably expect someone who believes in tolerance to support intolerance. [Tweet this]
After all, that person sincerely believes that intolerance endangers people.
The next time you are opposing a person’s intolerance, and they accuse you of being intolerant of their intolerance, send them here. Or at least make this argument.