Friday, April 24, 2009

On (in)Tolerance

Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
She replied, "No one, sir." Then Jesus said, "Neither do I".
"Go, and from now on sin no more".
(John 8:11-12)

One simply cannot be tolerant if one is not grounded in religious or moral beliefs.

Tolerance means to put up with a burden, a disposition to endure other people's beliefs and practices that one finds either false or immoral. Tolerance is morally worthwhile precisely because, although the beliefs of the other are devalued, the tolerant person values the person who holds those beliefs. The tolerant person wills to treat the other as intrinsically valuable in spite of his rejection of the others fundamental human concerns. The tolerant person will not allow the disrespect he accords those beliefs to correspond to devaluing of the persons who hold them. If the person would devalue the persons involved, tolerance would give way to intolerance and the inclination would be to treat the holders of opposing beliefs as subhuman.

It is easy to see why we human beings seem so inclined to intolerance. We invest ourselves in the things we care about. Those who disagree with us are claiming that what we care about is unworthy of care and, in so doing, they denigrate our investment (even as we denigrate theirs). Within the limits of the no-harm principle, tolerance is key to human interaction, yet ultimately the tolerant person must be moved by the higher order of truth and charity.

The problem for the secularist, however, is that such people hold strongly adamant beliefs, and are often loath in tolerating contending beliefs. Likewise a moral relativist cannot coherently exercise tolerance toward moral or religious absolutism because of a lack of commitment to a concept of the objective good and true. It is always uncomfortable to be continually challenged by the truth. The relativistic ethos of our modern society tends to frown upon statements of objective truth because it assumes that growth in intellectual maturity runs with growth in skepticism. The "modern" mind appears to be beholden to an air of sophistication associated with systematic doubt, without committing to any one point of view. That is why a dyed-in-the-wool secularist is bound to disparage religious and moral commitments. They simply cannot bear the beliefs and practices of people with strong and deep religious and moral convictions. Thus, they will work for the elimination of such beliefs and practices from the public, and eventually, private arena. This, it seems, is the not-so-covert intention of some secular liberals.

And that is why after the recent Miss USA tilt, gay pageant judge Perez Hilton calls Miss Carolina a "dumb bi@7#".


R.O. said...

Great articulation! This won't sit well with the intolerant anti-religious and hate-filled bigots.

WillyJ said...

Thanks R.O. You mean they won't tolerate this kind of writing. Got it.

Manny said...

It is truly ironic how those "liberal" types who preach about tolerance are some off the most intolerant people around. This intolerance isn't just expressed in words, but it goes so far as to FORCE others to accept their will.

Just look at the RH Bill, for example, It will IMPOSE a single and mandatory sex education curriculum on ALL schools, public and private. Parents and schools cannot choose alternatives and cannot opt out. This is a form of tyranny being foisted upon us all.

There are many other examples of "liberal" ideas being forced upon others. The RH Bill is just the beginning.