The Wittenberg Trail | 2-10-11 | Bill Randles

A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. (Proverbs 12:10)

Currently, there is an alternative to the judeo christian concept of love for our fellow-man, which is called tolerance. It looks like love and perhaps more importantly to many it actually feels like love, but it’s not love at all.

In fact though it is called tolerance, it’s not even tolerance in the traditional sense of the word. A better expression would perhaps be fawning accommodation, but tolerance is what they are calling it these days.

In this post christian era, the highest ideal is that we in the majority bend over backwards to be tolerant of every deviance from society. We are to be tolerant and accepting of foreigners and their customs, of other religions, cultures and practices.

Of course credit is never given to the fact that the most tolerant place on the planet has always been the christian west. Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom to life on your own terms have been the hallmark of places like America and Britain. But that definition of tolerance has recently been upgraded.

The new tolerance doesn’t simply mean that you must allow for differences among people or society without castigation or persecution. We are now required by the Orwellian definition of tolerance. to positively promote such lifestyles, customs and deviance (moral or otherwise), almost to the point of the denigration of the majority culture.

We should be tolerant of differences, indeed, we should ever be hospitable to the stranger, allow for religious differences, celebrate the fact that there is freedom of speech and of thought , traces of the formerly christian culture. This comes from Moses and of course Jesus and the prophets, and seeped its way into western society.

But the new tolerance goes beyond that and is actually quite cruel.

For example, take the new toleration of Islam. When there is something toxic about a culture, an inherent flaw in it, to “tolerate it” almost to the point of admiringly upholding it almost as a model “religion of peace” does no service to the people in it. Our own Government practiced this after 9-11, 2001.

The Muslim people desperately need to be confronted as human beings with the serious flaws of their own false religion, and 9-11 was an ideal ‘teachable moment’, but the new tolerance made it impossible to do on a large-scale. I believe this new non judgmental tolerance is cruel because it is both artificial and it is patronizing.

Muslims are human beings also, and in spite of the teachings of Mohammed they still have a conscience and know very well that what happened on 9-11 was an act of criminal barbarity. As human beings none of them would want that to happen to them or any people they know. But the new tolerance “runs interference” on any real soul-searching.

The rush to justify Islam, and to appease the “hurt feelings ‘ of Muslims in America and elsewhere actually hurts Muslims, because it denies them full responsibility as moral agents. Islam and it’s adherents have committed 16,000 acts of terror since 9-11, but in the new tolerance, they are mere victims to be pitied.

I have been seeing the destruction of this cruel, new tolerance in the area of homosexuality as well. Those who try to point out that homosexuality is a destructive, literally damning way to live, are shut down by the new tolerance as “Haters”, of the homosexual.(I am trying to break the habit of calling them “Gay”, I don’t accept the premise, they aren’t “gay” they are miserable and drug, alcohol, suicide statistics bear this out.)

But who really “hates” the homosexual, and who truly “Loves ” them? Those who practice the new tolerance actually hate the homosexual, by condemning them to this “Lifestyle”, affirming them in that which is sterile, deadly, filthy and which debases and kills the conscience. This kind of “acceptance” is deadly.

Those who truly love the homosexuals are the ones who tell them in the name of the Lord, that God has something better for them than that, and that they are responsible beings who must give account for this distortion of God’s prophetic institution of marriage, and that change is entirely possible and so is forgiveness.

This new toxic tolerance has even seeped into the evangelical christian church. There are those who have been embarrassed by the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles and Prophets of the Bible against Sodomy. They would gain cheap points with the world for being “compassionate” over against those “judgmental religious hypocrites” who dare to speak truth in love to this generation.

This is how Christians are consistently betraying one another and their Lord, by posing as the “tolerant loving christians”, over against the faithful witnesses to truth in our time.

We must ruthlessly call this heresy out for what it is, a perversion of the Biblical teaching of love which is based on truth and a revelation of the Holy God. Real Love isn’t humanistic “tolerance” , it is Holy, and upholds the Truth of God. Love hates evil and rejoices in the Truth.

The ironic thing about the new tolerance, is that it only runs one way. Be aware that those who once pleaded for “tolerance” for homosexuals, Islam, atheism,abortion and pornography, etc, will prove to be so intolerable of christians that they will one day soon persecute us without mercy .

I close with a beautiful quote from Dorothy Sayers, which is linked to a good article on a blog called

In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair, the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.” (Dorothy Sayers)

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Comment by James Robertson on May 27, 2012 at 10:16am

Against Tolerance and Broadmindedness

American pastor John Piper once wrote: “Relativism is a revolt against the objective reality of God. The sheer existence of God creates the possibility of truth. God is the ultimate and final standard for all claims to truth—who he is, what he wills, what he says is the external, objective standard for measuring all things. When relativism says that there is no standard of truth and falsehood that is valid for everyone, it speaks like an atheist. It commits treason against God.”

He got that right. But such treasonous actions are found not just in the world, at atheist conventions, or in secular universities. Increasingly, and most tragically, they are being found in our churches as well. Far too many Christians today live and act as if they were secular humanists.

They have simply soaked up all the nonsense from the surrounding culture, be it relativism, or political correctness, or the faulty notions of tolerance making the rounds. They sound just like pagans as they decry truth, wallow in moral relativism, and effectively deny their own Bibles.

They are as soft in the head as they are theologically mushy. They have lost the ability to discern, to spot truth from error, and to tell right from wrong. They are Christians in name only, holding to a worldview which any secular humanist would proudly cling to.

The rise of postmodernism and epistemological relativism has greatly contributed to this, as well as a dumbing down of the average Christian, who tends to be biblically illiterate. Many of these shallow believers simply imbibe of whatever trendy fashions the world is now offering.

In light of all this, someone just recently sent me a terrific essay by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen called “The Curse of Broadmindedness”. It comes from his book Moods and Truths (Garden City Publishing, 1932). It is hard to believe that it was actually penned so very long ago (80 years ago to be exact).

It is a sharp and prophetic rebuttal to the mushy thinking which surrounds us – and even surrounds the church. It is a perfect rejoinder to the postmodern nonsense we find so rampant today, even amongst believers. It is a clarion call for truth and certainty in times of falsehood and unbelief.

Obviously, writing as a Catholic, he has Catholics primarily in view here. But his comments can well apply to all Christians, and are certainly so very relevant in our modern truth-denying and tolerance-deifying times. Let me offer some large slabs of this very helpful essay to you.

He very rightly and tellingly speaks of “the intolerance of Divinity”. The unique claims of Christ were just as grating 2000 years ago as they are today. They seem so very intolerant and close-minded. And people seemed to dislike notions of absolute truth back then as much as they do now. Says Sheen:

“It is the claim to uniqueness that brought the blow of the soldier against Christ, and it is the claim to uniqueness that brings the blow of the world’s disapproval against the Church. It is well to remember that there was one thing in the life of Christ that brought His death, and that was the intolerance of His claim to be Divine. He was tolerant about where He slept; and what He ate; He was tolerant about shortcomings of His fish-smelling apostles; He was tolerant of those who nailed Him to the Cross, but He was absolutely intolerant about His claim to be Divine. There was not much tolerance about His statement that those who I receive not in Him shall be condemned. There was not much tolerance about His statement that any one who would prefer his own father or mother to Him was not worthy of being His disciple. There was not much tolerance of the world’s opinion in giving His blessing to those whom the world would hate and revile. Tolerance to His Mind was not always good, nor was intolerance always evil.

“There is no other subject on which the average mind is so much confused as the subject of tolerance and intolerance. Tolerance is always supposed to be desirable because it is taken to be synonymous with broadmindedness. Intolerance is always supposed to be undesirable, because it is taken to be synonymous with narrow-mindedness. This is not true, for tolerance and intolerance apply to two totally different things. Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to principles. Intolerance applies only to principles, but never to persons. We must be tolerant to persons because they are human; we must be intolerant about principles because they are divine. We must be tolerant to the erring, because ignorance may have led them astray; but we must be intolerant to the error, because Truth is not our making, but God’s. And hence the Church in her history, due reparation made, has always welcomed the heretic back into the treasury of her souls, but never his heresy into the treasury of her wisdom.”

He continues:  “Such indifference to the oneness of truth is at the root of all the assumptions so current in present-day thinking that religion is an open question, like the tariff, whereas science is a closed question, like the multiplication table. It is behind that queer kind of broadmindedness which teaches that any one may tell us about God, though it would never admit that any one but a scientist should tell us about an atom. It has inspired the idea that we should be broad enough to publish our sins to any psychoanalyst living in a glass house, but never so narrow as to tell them to a priest in a confessional box. It has created the general impression that any individual opinion about religion is right, and it has disposed modern minds to accept its religion dished up in the form of articles entitled: ‘My Idea of Religion,’ written by any nondescript from a Hollywood movie star to the chief cook of the Ritz-Carlton.

“This kind of broadmindedness which sacrifices principles to whims, dissolves entities into environment, and reduces truth to opinion, is an unmistakable sign of the decay of the logical faculty.” Exactly right. The truth is, a lot of open minds need to be closed for repairs. He goes on:

“The remedy for this broadmindedness is intolerance, not intolerance of persons, for of them we must be tolerant regardless of views they may hold, but intolerance of principles. A bridge builder must be intolerant about the foundations of his bridge; the gardener must be intolerant about weeds in his gardens; the property owner must be intolerant about his claims to property; the soldier must be intolerant about his country, as against that of the enemy, and he who is broadminded on the battlefield is a coward and a traitor. The doctor must be intolerant about disease in his patients, and the professor must be intolerant about error in his pupils. So, too, the Church, founded on the Intolerance of Divinity, must be equally intolerant about the truths commissioned to her. There are to be no one-fisted battles, no half-drawn swords, no divided loves, no equalizing Christ and Buddha in a broad sweep of sophomoric tolerance or broad-mindedness, for as Our Blessed Lord has put it: ‘He that is not with Me is against Me’.”

He concludes, “The world may charge the Church with intolerance, and the world is right. The Church is intolerant-intolerant about Truth, intolerant about principles, intolerant about Divinity, just as Our Blessed Lord was intolerant about His Divinity. The other religions may change their principles, and they do change them, because their principles are man-made. The Church cannot change, because her principles are God-made. Religion is not as sure of beliefs that we would like, but the sum of beliefs God has given. The world may disagree with the Church, but the world knows very definitely with what it is disagreeing. In the future as in the past, the Church will be intolerant about the sanctity of marriage, for what God has joined together no man shall put asunder; she will be intolerant about her creed, and be ready to die for it, for she fears not those who kill the body, but rather those who have the power to cast body and soul into hell.”

Wow, you don’t hear much writing like this anymore – and this was penned eight decades ago! Where are those who will stand for truth today, and ignore with disdain the passing fads and trendy worldviews of the day? It will be costly of course, because standing with conviction in an age of mental and moral mush is going to be quite unpopular.

And Christians can also expect to be criticised big time by others who claim to be Christians as well. We will be slammed by both the world and by worldly Christians. As Tozer once put it, “The most fervent devotees of tolerance are invariably intolerant of everyone who speaks about God with certainty.”

But speaking about God with certainty is exactly what we are called to do.
Bill Muehlenberg's CultureWatch

Comment by James Robertson on June 24, 2012 at 10:26am

June 24, 2012 - Townhall
Even the pretense of tolerance is gone
By Alan Sears

For a while, advocates pushing for the redefinition of marriage did so from behind closed doors, and in a manner that all but guaranteed their efforts could not be traced back to them. In time, however, they began pushing for redefinition in the light, but always with the careful use of a specific lexicon that allowed them to state what they wanted to accomplish while simultaneously not stating it in concrete terms.

And as this shift was undertaken, purveyors of a distorted and expanded view of marriage carefully attempted to appear tolerant of all who disagreed with them.

Whether they wanted to look tolerant or not, doing so was necessary for achieving the redefinition they sought.

Thus, books like 2009’s In Our Mother’s House, a story about two females named Marmee and Meema, a same-sex “couple” with children, presented the “equality” of same-sex households without openly denigrating those who didn’t agree: although they did encourage readers to question the idea that only a mother and a father build a family.

But such feigned amiability was for when the race began, or even when it was still but half-way over. Now, with what they assume to be the finish line in plain sight, even the merest pretense of tolerance is gone. Rather, there is a brutal, and at times confrontational, air to the jurisprudence and public discourse enveloping those pushing for a redefinition of marriage.

We also saw this intolerance earlier this year in Istanbul, where an international congress comprised of 300 young people from across Europe demanded their home countries “grant same-sex couples the same ‘rights’ as couples in civil marriages.” And they backed up their demands with an evidence-free claim that there is “no significant difference between children raised by same-sex couples and heterosexual couples.”

Moreover, they demanded that hundreds of laws be changed, the meaning of “family” be redefined, forced “equality” be promoted, children be reconditioned (read “re-educated”) through school programs, and that the European Charter be amended to define marriage as “two persons.”

Of course, there’s not a need to re-educate if you tolerate, nor is there a need to redefine and amend what tolerance abides.

But here’s the problem—there is no tolerance, and there never has been.

Perhaps some of these young people were raised on stories like that of Marmee and Meema? But it’s more likely they were indoctrinated by academicians and entertainment outlets devoted to the redefinition of marriage and the overthrow of Western Civilization.

We see this same intolerance in New York, where a female same-sex couple is suing St. Joe’s Catholic hospital for denying spousal health care benefits.

This very suit provides a microcosm of how the push for the redefinition of marriage has worked, inasmuch as the law redefining marriage in New York was passed with promises of tolerance for dissenters—particularly religious dissenters—in June 2011. Yet as this case demonstrates, there is no actual tolerance for the religious convictions of the administration at St. Joe’s.

As the Alliance Defense Fund accurately predicted some years ago, the calls for “tolerance” on the part of same-sex “marriage” proponents have long been covers for a broader agenda of absolute intolerance. Now, “Marmee and Meema” and promises to change everything while giving lip-service to preserving the right to dissent have given way to redefining, rewriting, re-educating, and rewording everything that went before.

And where these efforts fail, the power of the courts to enforce the new intolerance is brought to bear on any religious person or institution or religiously affiliated institution that dares to stand its ground.

It’s brave new world…minus the bravery.

Comment by James Robertson on June 29, 2012 at 7:25am

Yeah Right…

If you have your baloney-meter properly working, you can spot a load of baloney a light-year away. And this has got to be the biggest load of baloney I have encountered in quite some time. It is mind-boggling stuff, but of course we live in a mind-boggling age.

OK, so check this one out for size: “Four in ten same-sex couples are Christians, according to a detailed snapshot of the nation’s gay community based on the latest census data.”

Hey I couldn’t be stupid enough to say this; it comes from the Sydney Morning Herald – where else? Yep, there we have it folks. And while we are at it, let me offer you a few more: try these out for size will ya?

-Four in ten adulterous couples are Christians, according to a detailed snapshot of the nation’s gay community based on the latest census data.

-Four in ten fornicating couples are Christians, according to a detailed snapshot of the nation’s gay community based on the latest census data.

-Four in ten bank-robbing couples are Christians, according to a detailed snapshot of the nation’s gay community based on the latest census data.

-Four in ten lying couples are Christians, according to a detailed snapshot of the nation’s gay community based on the latest census data.

-Four in ten arsonist couples are Christians, according to a detailed snapshot of the nation’s gay community based on the latest census data.

-Four in ten drug-dealing couples are Christians, according to a detailed snapshot of the nation’s gay community based on the latest census data.

Yeah right… Tell me about it. We expect the SMH to throw out such foolishness, but if any of these so-called Christians believe this, they are worse than kidding themselves – they are completely deceived, and headed for quite a rude awakening on judgment day.

I will take the Word of God any day over what these deceived and deceiving folks are pushing: “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

A much more accurate and realistic line from this story is this one: “Same-sex partners are more likely to report no religion (48 per cent) than heterosexual partners (21 per cent), according to a paper released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.”

Well of course – how in the world can anyone call himself Christian while living in known, unconfessed sin? Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, said above that such persons will not inherit the Kingdom – that means they are not Christians, they are not saved, they are not part of the redeemed, and they are none of His.

The good news is this however: there were all sorts of homosexuals and thieves and drunkards and idolaters and adulterers in Paul’s day who repented of their sinful lifestyles, renounced them, and came to faith in Christ and became new creations in Christ.

They could proudly proclaim: “yep, I used to be an adulterer” or “Yep, I used to be a homosexual”. But they agreed with God and decided to renounce their lives of sin, rebellion and degradation, and they allowed Jesus to come into their lives and cleanse them from the inside out.

That is the biblical position – indeed it is the only biblical position. If a person claims to be a Christian but is still living in an adulterous relationship, or is still robbing banks, or is still doing other clearly identified sins, and has no problems in doing so, then they simply are not Christians – end of story.

Sure, it is an altogether different matter if a believer is struggling with temptations in various areas, knows they are wrong, wants to change, and repents when disobedient. But what we are talking about here are people who think that what they are doing is just peachy keen, and they can call themselves Christians at the same time.

They are deliberately, knowingly, defiantly and wilfully clinging on to what Scripture clearly and unambiguously identifies as sin – sin which will exclude one from the Kingdom of God. Of course all sin does this, but repented of and forsaken sin is what makes all the difference.

If you know it is wrong, and you agree with God about it, and seek his help to overcome, that is one thing. But to claim it is quite alright and you have no plans at all to renounce this activity or lifestyle, and no plans to agree with God about it, then you are simply deceived – and you are simply still lost, unsaved.

Jesus made this crystal clear when he said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (Matthew 7:21). It all comes down to who you are going to believe: Jesus or the SMH. So you better pick carefully: your eternal destiny depends on it.

Bill Muehlenberg's CultureWatch

Comment by James Robertson on July 13, 2012 at 5:53am

Academics: Muslim terrorists simply misunderstood
Islamic extremists defending selves, not 'aggressive offensive foes seeking domination'
Chelsea Schilling - 12 Jul 12 -WND

A taxpayer-funded study released this week declares that Muslim terrorists are generally misunderstood, don’t want to force their religion on the world and only kill people to protect themselves from victimization by enemies of Islam.

A 14-page document, titled, “How Islamist Extremists Quote the Quran,” explains the study’s analysis of 2,000 instances of propaganda from al-Qaida and other Islamic extremist groups from 1998 to 2011:

We conclude that verses extremists cite from the Qur’an do not suggest an offensive foe seeking domination and conquest of unbelievers, as is commonly assumed. Instead they deal with themes of victimization, dishonor, and retribution. …

Based on this analysis we recommend that the West abandon claims that Islamist extremists seek world domination, focus on counteracting or addressing claims of victimage, emphasize alternative means of deliverance, and work to undermine “champion” image sought by extremists.

Arizona State University’s Center for Strategic Communication conducted the study, which was funded by a grant from the Department of Defense’s Office of Naval Research.

“The highly regarded academics operate a special center dedicated to studying the role of communication in combating terrorism, promoting national security and successfully engaging in public diplomacy worldwide,” explained Judicial Watch, the public interest organization that investigates government corruption and fights to bring to justice those involved. “To fulfill this mission, the center gets big bucks from the U.S. government.”

According to Judicial Watch, the same group received a $6.1 million grant from the Department of Defense for a neurophysiological study involving narrative comprehension and persuasion. However, this assignment is a six-year, $4.5 million study on Islamist extremists’ use of narrative to influence contested populations in the Middle East, Southwest Asia, North Africa and Europe.

The latest report notes: “The verses frequently utilized by extremists” focus on themes such as “enduring hardships and the importance of fighting against the unjust unbelievers who oppress men, women and children.”

One example of an extremist statement included in the report is the following:

America knows only the language of force as the only way for putting a stop to it and making it take its hands off Muslims and their causes. America does not know the language of dialogue, or that of peaceful coexistence, appeals, or denunciation and condemnation! Only blood deters America. “Fight them, and Allah will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame. Help you (to victory) over them, heal the breasts of believers.” [9:14]

The authors called the example “a deliverance story form.”

“Extremists do not favor the ‘Verse of the Sword,’ which encourages all-out war against believers,” the authors argued. “Instead they appear to invoke specific verses of the Qur’an that support a promise of deliverance.”

The report further explains:

“[Deliverance story form] is a literary structure in which ‘the community, people, or nation of the protagonist struggles in a precarious existence and must be delivered from those conditions.’ David and Goliath is a deliverance story that is probably familiar to most readers. …

“We find that, rather than encouraging a culture of naked aggression, Islamist extremists utilize direct citations from the Qur’an to provide solace for the suffering and to legitimize certain actions (particularly terrorism) in response to Muslim grievances. As the aforementioned prominence of 9:14 indicates, extremist communication emphasizes the need to rectify a sense of dishonor, shame, and suffering at the hands of threateners (i.e. nonbelievers).”

Finally, the researchers recommend the following actions:

“Abandon claims that Islamist extremists seek world domination. … Continued claims to the contrary, by both official and unofficial sources, only play into a ‘clash of civilizations’ narrative that benefits the extremist cause. These claims also undermine the credibility of the Western voices, because the audience knows that extremist arguments are really about victimage and deliverance.”

“Focus on counteracting or addressing claims of victimage. [O]ne means of counteracting them is to address claims of victimage. Of course, where these claims are true, they should be acknowledged and addressed. Otherwise, when claims of harm are demonstrably false, they can possibly be disputed factually. However, there are limits to this strategy. Attempted corrections can simply reproduce and strengthen the frame of the original argument.”

“Emphasize alternative means of deliverance. Another strategy is to direct attention to existing grievances and promote alternative means for resolving them. Even if one accepts that Muslims are in need of deliverance, it does not follow that violence is the preferred means of achieving it. …”

“Work to undermine the ‘champion’ image sought by extremists. … Extremists use a deliverance narrative to position themselves as the champion that can deliver the community from evil. However … extremists do little that is champion-like. They have not unseated any apostate rulers, and their victims are overwhelmingly likely to be Muslims. … So there is an argument to be made that even if one believes that violent action is required to deliver Muslims, Islamist extremists are not competent to occupy the role of champion.”

Judicial Watch said in a statement, “This shows close integration with the rhetorical vision of Islamist extremism, according to the brilliant academics that compiled this on the government’s dime.”

Study co-author Steve Corman told ASU News that America must be realistic about Islamists’ arguments when trying to counter their influence attempts.

“If we try to portray them as evil conquerors when their audience sees them as protectors and champions, it damages our credibility and makes our communication less effective,” he said.

Lead author Jeff Halverson said, “These findings challenge the idea of a clash of civilizations. What extremists are really saying to Muslims is, ‘our communities are under siege and God will defend us if we have faith and courage.’”

Comment by Dave Gosse on July 23, 2012 at 6:43pm

Tolerance is Not Enough

Recently, actor Brad Pitt's mother wrote a letter to a newspaper criticizing Obama as "a liberal who supports the killing of unborn babies and same-sex marriage."  She was immediately covered with muck on Twitter and even her life threatened.  Her famous son supports Obama and gay marriage.  What does this say about tolerance?  It's time to take a much deeper look. 

July 18, 2012
by Dr. Benjamin Wiker


It would be
all too easy—and also quite useful—to write an  article on how
intolerant the proponents of gay marriage are. How viciously  they've
attacked Mrs. Pitt for daring to publicly disagree with them. The 
lesson would be simple: See how intolerant the left-leaning champions of
  tolerance actually are!


                It would also be easy—and again, both useful and 
important—to add instances of intolerance perpetrated by the rightward
leaning  against the left. I've seen an atheist shouted down in the Q
& A period at a Christian conference before he'd even gotten a
half-minute into his question.


The lesson would be that we've all got to be more tolerant.  No death
threats. No shouting down those who disagree. For better or worse, 
we're living in an essentially pluralistic society. We'll all be better
off  learning how to be more civil than starting civil wars.

That's an important lesson. But we need to go much deeper.  Ask some questions that go beyond the usual.

We tend to treat Tolerance as if it is not just a virtue,  but the virtue.
What if Tolerance  isn't a virtue? What if it's not even good enough to
be a vice? What if it's an  ambiguous concept that only misleads us,
keeping us from thinking about the  real substance of how we should live
together? What if—for some, strange  historical or cultural
reason—Tolerance has come to be a pseudo-virtue  substitute for a real
virtue, Justice?

I'm not sure that's true, but bear with me while I think out  loud.

That's the original meaning of tolerance, by the way—from  the Latin tolerare, "to bear or  endure." Keep that in mind. We'll come back to it.

So again, what if Tolerance isn't a virtue, let alone the virtue, but as I said (again, bear  with me), not even good enough to be a vice?

What I mean is that, unlike real virtues, Tolerance is an  empty concept
without any intrinsic moral aim. Real virtues (and vices) have  moral
aims, and so you can ask about them "Should we be ___________?" and get a
  definite answer. Should we be Just? Yes. Should we be unjust? No.
Should we be  Courageous? Yes. Cowardly?  No.

Should we be tolerant? Notice you can't get a definite  answer the way
that you can in regard to virtues and vices. Whether you should  be
tolerant or intolerant depends on the further questions: "Tolerant of what?" "Intolerant of what?"

Should the citizens of Germany in 1934 have been tolerant of  the Nazi
view, held by the elite intellectuals and not just German society's 
dross, that Jews were an inferior and parasitic race? Here, Tolerance is
bad.  Is it wrong to be intolerant of the notion that those of African
descent are  genetically inferior and so should not be allowed to vote?
Here, Intolerance is  good.

The lesson: whether we should tolerant or intolerant of  something
depends upon whether that something is good or evil, just or unjust. 
Tolerance and Intolerance are both empty concepts, not a virtue and a
vice.  They can't do any moral work because they have no moral content.

Another example, just to make sure we understand the  difficulty. Are we
being intolerant, as a society, in convicting Jerry  Sandusky, the guy
at Penn State who lured boys into his alleged charity so that  he could
molest them? At this point in time we believe that his actions were 
evil, and hence as a society, we do not tolerate either Sandusky's
actions or  any group who would advocate that what Sandusky did was
morally fine (and there  is such a group, the North American Man-Boy
Love Association, which not only  wants society to tolerate pedophilia,
but demands society's social-moral-legal  affirmation).

With Sandusky, we bring in words of real moral weight, which  show how
flimsy and fickle the notions of Tolerance and Intolerance are. We 
won't tolerate men who lure in boys  to molest them, and believe that it is a matter of justice that Sandusky be punished. We also believe that it was evil and unjust for Sandusky's fellow Penn State buddies, including Joe  Paterno, to tolerate his actions all  those years. Intolerance of Sandusky's actions is good; Tolerance was evil.

That's the problem with Tolerance. That's why it's not a  virtue, and certainly not the virtue.  The demand, "We should be tolerant!" should always be met with the key moral  question, "Tolerant of what?"
and  even more important, "Why?" At best Tolerance is an empty concept
waiting to be  filled with something else. At worst, as with the North
American Man-Boy Love  Association, it can be used to defend something
that's evil—a pseudo moral  shield that fends off any real moral
scrutiny and discussion by demanding that  we bow before Tolerance as the virtue.

So—bear with me for a little longer now—how did Tolerance  get such
elevated status in our culture? There are two related reasons, and  I'll
start with the one that deserves the most blame.

Nihilistic  Tolerance. Many who now cry up Tolerance as the virtue
are the happy heirs of the notion that there is no good  or evil, and
that human beings have no access to truth. Truth and moral  goodness are
entirely relative, and entirely ungrounded in the cosmos. Claims  about
truth or moral good and evil are merely expressions of personal 
preferences. Therefore, since no one can be right or wrong, and no moral
or  immoral belief is any better or worse than any other, we must be
entirely tolerant of everyone else's subjective  preferences so they'll be tolerant of  ours. For the nihilist, Tolerance is the virtue,
  because there are no other virtues and no truths to discover and
defend.  Therefore, Tolerance replaces the virtue of justice. Or, to say
it more  exactly, justice comes to mean "allowing everyone to do
whatever he wants and  think whatever he wants so you can do and think
whatever you want." Justice  comes to be
defined as

You may think this is merely a new-fangled view, but it's  actually the
view of Thomas Hobbes, one of history's most influential political 
philosophers. He wrote in the mid-17th century.

But the nihilistic notion of Tolerance is rarely consistent.  Usually
it's put forward more for the sake of revolution, than on the basis of 
nihilism itself. Some group that runs against the grain of society's
moral  standards, wants to gain eventual full acceptance through first
claiming that  its members are owed tolerance  (justice is
thereby collapsed into tolerance). Once having gained a foothold 
through tolerance, the group then becomes passionately intolerant toward
any  residual moral opposition because it considers such opposition to
be unjust and not just intolerant.

Note what's happening. The revolutionary group only uses  Tolerance as a
pseudo-moral shield to gain enough social acceptance so that it  can
claim affirmation as a matter of justice. The group's members begin by 
demanding Tolerance but soon shift to a real moral virtue (justice)
which  nihilism itself can't support. They can then muster all the
natural human  hatred of injustice to defend their cause, and so become
passionately  intolerant of anyone who disagrees with them or even of
any discussion of the  morality of their cause.

Is that what happened to Mrs. Pitt? It's a question worth  asking. Are we allowed to ask it?

Realistic  Tolerance. Realistic tolerance comes about because
there is a  recognition that, for whatever reason, one's society is
divided about certain  issues or suffers certain defects, and these
issues cannot be resolved or  defects mended without incurring even more
harm than is being caused by the  division and defects.

Unlike Nihilistic Tolerance, Realistic Tolerance doesn't  give up on the
notion of truth or moral goodness. Rather it realizes that in  this
imperfect world, we must bear,  we must endure, these defects the  best we can, even while we as a society aim toward truth and virtue.

Realistic Tolerance is not a virtue, it is a necessity. And  those who
espouse it are very careful not to make a virtue of necessity—thereby 
ushering in Nihilistic Tolerance. Tolerance is not an end in itself; it
is at  best a means that allows us to live  together as we
strive, ever more diligently, toward truth and moral goodness.  It
allows us to be civil this side of heaven, or even better, patient with our fellow sinful human  beings and with our own sinful selves.

Tolerance is necessary because you can't jerk a warped board  straight.
Tolerance is what God shows toward us, choosing to try to draw us to 
goodness patiently, slowly bend us to goodness with mercy rather than
strict  justice, so that he doesn't snap our sinful warped souls.

And patience, by the way, unlike tolerance, is a virtue, a
sub-virtue of courage. We  tolerate what we can only change slowly, or
not being God, cannot change at  all. Such toleration, such bearing and
enduring, gives us a real virtue,  Patience.

Realistic Tolerance has risen in importance precisely  because our
society is becoming more and more splintered. Our fundamental views 
about human nature, the human good, marriage, sexuality, truth, reality,
and  God are at greater and greater odds. We are therefore tempted,
given the sheer  multiplicity, the seemingly intractable plurality, to
throw in the towel, ditch  patience, and settle for Nihilistic
Tolerance. As this pluralism increases, the  necessity of tolerance
becomes so overbearing, that it soon seems to be the only  source of
public order to which we can cling. It starts to look like the virtue.

It's not. As difficult as this situation is, those who still  espouse
Realistic Tolerance must not give up. We must have the courage, the 
patience, to speak boldly in the public square about the real virtues,
about  truth, even when we are assailed by the intolerant.

Comment by James Robertson on July 31, 2012 at 2:18pm

The Angry Man

by Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978)

The other day I chanced to meet
An angry man upon the street —
A man of wrath, a man of war,
A man who truculently bore
Over his shoulder, like a lance,
A banner labeled “Tolerance.”

And when I asked him why he strode
Thus scowling down the human road,
Scowling, he answered, “I am he
Who champions total liberty —
Intolerance being, ma’am, a state
No tolerant man can tolerate.

“When I meet rogues,” he cried, “who choose
To cherish oppositional views,
Lady, like this, and in this manner,
I lay about me with my banner
Till they cry mercy, ma’am.” His blows
Rained proudly on prospective foes.

Fearful, I turned and left him there
Still muttering, as he thrashed the air,
“Let the Intolerant beware!”

Comment by James Robertson on August 3, 2012 at 1:36pm

Comment by Dave Gosse on August 3, 2012 at 5:16pm

The Regnerus Affair: research integrity and politics:

Activists are trying discredit and smear a sociologist who has been critical of gay parenting. Their campaign verges on totalitarian suppression of free speech.

Karl D. Stephan | Friday, 3 August 2012


Because scientific progress depends so much upon how research is conducted and peer-reviewed, the matter of research integrity should be a concern for everyone. An acquaintance of mine, University of Texas sociology professor Mark Regnerus, has recently found himself in the center of a tornadic controversy over a paper he published last month in the Journal of Social Science Research.

I am not an unbiased observer of this situation. I met Professor Regnerus several years ago at a dinner, and he impressed me as a pleasant, sincere Christian (he is a Catholic convert) whose presence in the field of sociology was a welcome one, because sociologists in general tend to be leery of personal commitments to organized religion. Regnerus is interested in the way sexuality influences and is influenced by social behavior, as evidenced by his earlier Oxford University Press book Forbidden Fruit, an investigation of teenage sexual behavior and attitudes.

But with his latest paper, Regnerus stepped on a political third rail.

The paper describes an extensive research project into the question of whether gay parenting affects the lives of children in measurable ways. The conventional sociological wisdom, represented by a fairly small number of research papers, says that there is essentially no negative effect of being raised by two mommies or two daddies, as opposed to the conventional mother and father. This body of work is cited by every judicial decision in favor of things such as adoption by gay parents and the extension of marriage to gay couples.

Regnerus’s study, which he himself admits is not perfect, found otherwise. There were significant negative consequences of being raised by parents who were gay, according to the study. I am not going to address the controversial question of defining “gay” or how extensive the negative consequences were or how accurate and scientific the study was.

Not being a sociologist, I am not qualified to pass judgment on these matters. What I am qualified to judge is the way the peer-review process has been attacked and corrupted after Regnerus’s paper was published.

The idea behind peer review is that scientific publications should be judged by those most qualified to do so: namely, other scientists in the same field. That is exactly how Regnerus’s paper was judged. As is common practice in some fields, Regnerus was allowed to suggest the names of some reviewers, and as is also common, he had worked with some (not all) in the distant past. In specialized fields, this kind of thing is often unavoidable and does not mean that the reviews will necessarily be biased in the author’s favor. (Sometimes it works the other way!) In any case, the reviewers recommended publication and the paper was published.

Then the deluge began.

A journalist and self-described “minorities anti-defamation professional” whose pseudonym is Scott Rose wrote a letter to the University of Texas administration alleging that Regnerus’s paper falsified data. This is the most serious professional charge that anyone can level against a scientist, comparable to a malpractice charge against a doctor.

The first wrongdoing (as I pointed out in a letter published in the Austin American-Statesman) was for UT Austin to act on such complaints from a person who was not in a competent professional position to make such assessments. Scott Rose is not a sociologist. Rose has since published the full “evidence” he plans to present to UT Austin, and it consists of two kinds of arguments. One kind comprises disputes over methods and definitions that Regnerus used. If Rose had been selected as a reviewer of Regnerus’s paper, these arguments might have played a role at that point. But Rose, not being a qualified sociologist, has no professional standing to make them, and they must be assessed on their merits by other professional sociologists.

The other kind of argument consists of various ad hominem attacks on Regnerus’s funding sources, which include organizations such as the Witherspoon Institute that favor conservative causes. While taking funding from organizations with a political agenda is certainly a possible source of bias, in the field of sociology it is hard to avoid. Even the Federal government has a political agenda, and one’s source of funding cannot be construed as prima facie evidence of research falsification.

Rose also cites the other outrage against the peer-review process: a special audit report written by a member of the Journal of Social Science Research’s editorial board on the question of whether the peer-review process that led to publication was flawed. The member, Darren Sherkat, found essentially nothing wrong with the peer-review process. Instead, he took the opportunity in the audit to review the paper himself, and used terms (“bulls---“) that in my opinion have no place even in a conversation about another colleague’s work, let alone a report on the integrity of the review process.

I have not even mentioned the press coverage with derogatory headlines, the letter signed by over a hundred sociologists objecting to Regnerus’s conclusions, and the politically motivated letter-mobbing of the journal’s editor, James Wright, which pressured him to request the review audit. Releasing a draft audit to the media, as Wright did, was clearly a craven attempt to deflect hostile politically motivated attacks from himself. It showed no respect or regard for Regnerus, and probably did not even achieve its intended purpose.

In an opinion piece published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, sociologist Christian Smith takes Regnerus’s side and expresses better than I can the point that the scientific integrity of the field of sociology is at stake here.

I will ask a question. In the 1930s, many prominent scientists and engineers in Germany lost their reputations, their jobs, and some eventually their lives because of a non-scientific reason: they happened to be Jews, or outspoken Christians, or simply opposed to some political aim of the government. Everyone now agrees that this was a grievous violation of human rights, an early warning sign of the greater wrongs the German government would do in World War II. While that situation differs from the one Regnerus finds himself in by degree, does it differ in kind from what Jewish scientists suffered in Germany in the 1930s?

Regnerus has reached scientific conclusions that oppose the prevailing political winds. Though his punishment has come from activists rather than official government sources, it is no less politically motivated and no less unjust. Smith thinks the integrity of the social-science research process is threatened by the “public smearing and vigilante media attacks” mounted against Regnerus. If such attacks are successful, we have taken a long step away from scientific integrity and a long step toward the encouragement of a political atmosphere that is totalitarian in its effects.

Karl D. Stephan is a professor of electrical engineering at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. This article has been republished, with permission, from his blog, Engineering Ethics.

Comment by James Robertson on August 3, 2012 at 6:51pm

The devil loves nothing better than the intolerance of reformers.
- James Russell Lowell

Comment by James Robertson on August 6, 2012 at 9:09am

The Tolerance Brigade Lexicon

Orwellian DoubleSpeak is alive and well, and it is pouring forth from the radical militants and social utopians who are working madly to destroy society as we know it and to replace it with something made in their own distorted image. They delight in manipulating language, changing definitions, and using euphemisms to carry out their agendas.

There is a good reason for all this: they know full well that social engineering is always preceded by verbal engineering. To change a culture you must first change the language. Take longstanding terms, gut them of their traditional meaning, and infuse them with the particular agenda you are trying to push.

It works quite well. In theological circles for example this has proven to be a winning strategy. The theological liberals will take biblical and theological terms and strip them of their historical content, and replace them with their own twisted meaning.

As J Gresham Machen wrote in his 1923 classic, Christianity and Liberalism, they have so diluted and distorted biblical terminology that the message they preach is an entirely different gospel. Indeed, it is no longer Christianity at all: “Despite the liberal use of traditional phraseology modern liberalism not only is a different religion from Christianity but belongs in a totally different class of religions.”

So too in today’s culture wars. The lefties and liberals are simply changing language, and making things up as they go along. We all know how the homosexual lobby for example expropriated the word “gay” and totally denuded it of its original meaning, rendering it null and void.

They are doing that with all sorts of other words and ideas. Their attempt to claim marriage as their own is nothing other than the complete demolition of the very term and the very institution. They turn traditional understanding on their head as they seek to achieve their revolutionary aims.

Indeed, they have become experts in calling black white, and white black. They excel in turning day into night and night into day. They do, in fact, just what the prophet Isaiah warned about millennia ago; “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”

In this regard, one on-side gal on a social media site posted a clever little introductory primer on how to interpret the activists’ doublespeak. It is a great start and much more could be added to this, the loony left’s lexicon. Here is what she wrote:

-Tolerance = Embracing everyone’s views except Christianity
-Free speech = The expression of any opinion as long as it is not Christian.
-Bigot = A Christian.
-Bigotry = Any belief from the Bible.
-Homophobe = Anyone who champions traditional marriage. Especially a Christian.
-Hate = Opposing non-biblical opinions and actions. Even when done in love is still hate. Apparently.
-Civil rights = Getting whatever feels good legalised despite moral repercussions.

Quite right; a brilliant start to a great project worth developing on. BTW, she told me this came to her while she was vacuuming the floors. Ya gotta like a gal like this: she packs a sharp mind with a clean home – a great combo in my books.

Other folks have written along similar lines. John Hawkins recently wrote about “10 Concepts Liberals Talk About Incessantly But Don’t Understand”. He too dissects the verbal engineering and language games being played by the secular lefties. Let me offer some of his ten points:

1) Being Open Minded: To a liberal, this has nothing at all to do with seriously considering other people’s ideas. To the contrary, liberals define being “open-minded” as agreeing with them. What could be more close-minded than assuming that not only are you right, but that you don’t even need to consider another viewpoint because anyone who disagrees must be evil?

2) Racism: Liberals start with the presumption that only white people who don’t belong to the Democratic Party can be racist. So, for example, even if Jeremiah Wright can make it clear that he hates white people because of their skin color or if liberals take an explicitly racist political position, like suggesting that black people are too stupid and incompetent to get identification to vote, they can’t be racist. White Republicans, on the other hand, are generally assumed to be racist by default, no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary.

4) Greed: To a liberal, believing that you pay too much in taxes or even opposing paying more in taxes is greedy. In actuality, wanting to loot as much money as possible that someone else has earned to use for your own purposes, which is what liberals do, is a much better example of greed.

5) Hate: Liberals often define simple disagreement with them on issues like gay marriage, tax rates, or abortion as hatred. No matter how well a position is explained, or the logical underpinnings behind it, it’s chalked up to hate. Meanwhile, the angriest, most vicious, most hateful people in all of politics are liberals railing against what they say is “hatred.” This irony is completely lost on the Left.

9) Tolerance: In a free, open, and pluralistic society, there are all sorts of behaviors that we may have to tolerate, even though we don’t approve of those activities. Liberals don’t get this distinction. For one thing, they don’t understand the difference between tolerance and acceptance. They also don’t extend any of the tolerance they’re agitating for to people who disagree with them. Liberals silence people who disagree with them at every opportunity which is, dare we say it, an extremely intolerant way to behave.

10) Diversity: What liberals mean by “diversity” is that they want a broad range of people from different races, colors, and creeds who have identical political views. A black or Hispanic conservative doesn’t contribute to “diversity” in liberal eyes because he actually has diverse views. Incredible role models for women like Sarah Palin can’t be feminists to liberals because she doesn’t share the same liberal beliefs as sexist pigs like Anthony Weiner and Bill Maher. How can you have any meaningful “diversity” when everyone has to think the same way?

Bill Muehlenberg's CultureWatch


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