Adult Development & Spiritual Formation
Azusa Pacific University
Dr. Dick Pritchard
March 25, 2003

I.   Tolerance is a "positive" word
A.   No one wants to be labeled intolerant
B.   If we are viewed as intolerant no one will listen to us
II.   Historical look at tolerance
A.   Pre-enlightment
1.   Settlers thought that to be tolerant of other people views was to be doubtful of your own
2.   Truth would prevail best if it wasn't coerced
3.   Truth is solid enough to stand up in debate
B.   Enlightenment
1.   Tolerance was pushed very hard; especially during religious wars between Catholics & Protestants
2.   John Locke: (Christian philosopher) He thought religious knowledge is less sure than scientific knowledge so therefore we cannot force our views on others
3.   The enlightenment took this theory and said that we cannot know anything about God
C.   Today's View
1.   Religious tolerance is built on an uncertainty & doubts about God
2.   Religious certainty is the mother of all intolerance
3.   Tolerance and Religious Certainty are on opposite ends of see-saw
III.   Relativism has become a "bad word" but people still want to hold onto the principles of relativism
A.   Relativism is now called pluralism and tolerance
B.   Relativist do not want to accept that we all think we are right and everyone else is wrong
C.   The shift has gone into something called "positive relativism" which means we no longer are "tolerant" of all people, but of the ideas, values and beliefs
1.   This would include Klu Klux Klan
2.   This would include Al Queda
D.   Why must respect the ideas, values, and beliefs of these groups
IV.   You cannot add tolerance to any other virtue
A.   If you add tolerance and feminism together than you will be intolerant of those who aren't feminists
B.   If you add tolerance and social justice for the poor, than you are intolerance to those who do not have social justice for the poor
V.   Ironically tolerance cannot stand on its own
A.   Making a statement like "I am tolerant "is like saying "I am very É"
B.   We must ask the question, what are we tolerant to
1.   Are you tolerant to religion
2.   Are you tolerant to a rapist
3.   Are you tolerant to social justice to the poor
C.   Tolerance alone carries no moral content at all
D.   It is worthless unless it is added to other moral virtues (but as point IV. makes it cannot be attached to anything else)
VI.   Tolerance in its relationship to Christian truth
A.   Tolerance is not a virtue because truth is so uncertain
B.   Tolerance is built on solid convictions we get from the Bible on how to treat people who do not agree with us
C.   Biblical tolerance is being tolerant of people but not in their ideas and values
1.   Jesus was not tolerant of all beliefs or all behavior
2.   Paul was not tolerant of all beliefs or all behavior (1Cor 10:5)
a.   He loved the people he was "lecturing," he did all he did out of love for them
b.   Fascinating examples from the book of Acts
D.   Tolerance should not be on a see-saw, but on an elevator
1.   Truth inspires tolerance
2.   Lack of truth brings upon intolerance
VII.   Tolerance is to give up to a person, but love is to give to a person