The Intolerance of Tolerance

By Warren Coe

Dr. D. A. Carson serves on the Faculty of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.  He has written a book titled The Intolerance of Tolerance.  You have already guessed what it is about.  A blogger by the name of Greg Koukl built on Dr. Carson’s observations. Namely, how do we talk in a culture that declares itself tolerant of all views and beliefs when, in fact, our culture is very intolerant, especially towards Christianity?  Here is Greg Koukl’s advice.

“If you’re placed in a situation where you suspect your convictions will be labeled intolerant, bigoted, narrow-minded, and judgmental, turn the tables. When someone asks for your personal views about a moral issue—homosexuality, for example—preface your remarks with a question.

You say: “You know, this is actually a very personal question you’re asking, and I’d be glad to answer. But before I do, I want to know if you consider yourself a tolerant person or an intolerant person. Is it safe to give my opinion, or are you going to judge me for my point of view? Do you respect diverse ideas, or do you condemn others for convictions that differ from yours?”

Let them answer. If they say they’re tolerant (which they probably will), then when you give your point of view it’s going to be very difficult for them to call you intolerant or judgmental without looking guilty, too.

This response capitalizes on the fact that there’s no morally neutral ground. Everybody has a point of view they think is right and everybody judges at some point or another. The Christian gets pigeon-holed as the judgmental one, but everyone else is judging, too. It’s an inescapable consequence of believing in any kind of morality.”

As we are with family and friends this Christmas and New Year there will be conversations in which opinions will be diverse and maybe divisive.  Let me suggest Mr. Koukl’s advice.  You just might see doors otherwise closed by prejudice and ignorance stay open.  You may have an opportunity to share the glory and truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

God’s Blessing and Happy New Year.

The Intolerance of Tolerance

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