“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell


Monday, July 09, 2012

Tolerantism

I am an advocate for people with disabilities.  I will do my best to convince you of my position on a variety of issues, hopefully with logical argument.  However, I am not what might be called a "tolerantist."  To me, that is not a kind label for someone.  I will not force you to be tolerant.

Tolerantism in itself might feel nice.  Tolerantists want to ensure that we all get along, all respect one another and so forth.  I hope for that as well.  However, there is a difference between wanting people to get along, trying to convince them of your position, whatever it might be via solid argument and forcing them to be tolerant.  In order to force people to be tolerant, you must have no values of your own other than the goal of no values.  For to even force you to be tolerant, implies that I am imposing my values on you, my values of tolerance.  The value relativism that is enforced falls in on itself.  How can I be both tolerant and force you to be value relative?  How can I say values are relative and force you to be tolerant?  It sounds nice, but the end result is no values.  So in reality tolerantism in the name of harmony forces people to have no positions, no values, no morality.

In spite of what you might think, our government is not in favor of tolerantism because it does not believe in value relativity.  I was just in Seattle.  I promise you that I feel that I have a right to park where I want, and the government should not force me to not park where they want (I hold this value pretty much). But if I don't follow the signs that are everywhere, I will get a ticket and will have to pay it.  They do not believe in value relativism.  Most times I will surrender to their lack of tolerance of my parking values.  But there are also times when I will not surrender to their lack of tolerance.  I would say there are also times when I will surrender to their forced tolerantism and there are times when I will not surrender to their forced tolerantism.  The myriad issues to which this applies, political and social, surround us in this present time.  Increasingly because of the lack of values in our government and social institutions, I am being forced to engage in what Foucault calls "acts of insubordination" because I do not believe in tolerantism and what it attempts to do to me and other people who have values.

Right now in our society there are a variety of issues that are currently on the table.  As a Christian, my views are immediately suspect, are a lightning rod for attack because I have taken solid positions, I stand for a particular morality, I believe there is such a thing as right and wrong.  Those of us who have taken moral positions are criticized by those who may not have, as being intolerant.  Interestingly, their intolerance of both me and my positions are sanctioned whereas my intolerance of their position(s) is not sanctioned because values whatever they may be result in intolerance. 

Have Christians been intolerant or continue to be intolerant.  Of course they have an are.  However, interestingly the Judeo-Christian ethic, that was the basis of much of what America is, allows for dissent.  To borrow a quote from the Matrix,
"Damn it Morpheus, not everyone believes what you believe"
"My beliefs do not require them to" (interchange between jason Lock and Morpheus)
A critical aspect of the Christian position is choice.  People are able to choose God or not choose Him.  The lack of choice is not a Christian principle at the most basic level. 

So for people to impose their position on others, even if, or especially if it is a position of tolerance is not a Christian principle.

Now clearly I will advocate for laws that support my position.  In these and other areas I will engage in dialogue to try to convince others of my position.  I will win and I will loose.  I will choose to follow what is imposed upon me and at times I won't.  It is interesting in our time that our own federal government will choose which laws it will follow and which it will not.  I don't entirely like that, but they have on some level opened the door for people of principle to do the same.

McNair

3 comments:

Daniel Garcia said...

I would like to become an advocate for people with disabilities. Recently, I have made it a point to get to know a person with a disability. I work for the US Postal Service and have the opportunity to deliver mail to a building which houses people with disabilities; it is there that I have made many new friends. I enjoy the conversations I have with these people but am saddened at their plight: not so much there physical or cognitive disability but the little human interaction they have with “friends”.

I have seen the face of evil in this respect first-hand as I have observed visitors and passerby’s look upon these people with disdain and murmur beneath their breath words I could not make out. Nevertheless, whether this reaction by some is rooted in “intolerance” or “ignorance” is subject to investigation but Dr. McNair, you provide great insight into the greater issue.

I do not believe that the root of the problem has anything to do with being “tolerant” or “intolerant.” You wrote, “People are able to choose God or not choose Him.” (Ph.d, McNair, J., 2012) Therefore, I believe it is a matter of choice and when people “choose” to believe in God they are relegated to such trivial things as making bold accusations of “intolerance”.

However, while there is a place for employing such terminology it is not the root of the problem. According to Dictionary.com, one definition of tolerance is that it is "a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one's own." Again, this definition lends itself to an array of discord in that it allows for people to believe what is right in their own eyes. We cannot force our views upon anyone but we should be able to share our thoughts freely. (PHd. McNair, J, 2012)

Interestingly enough circles which hold that truth is relevant and therefore not absolute are in fact stating a contradiction; by virtue of stating “truth is relevant” is indeed speaking an “absolute.” If we as Christians are accused of being “intolerant” because we believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God; God’s revelation to man and the standard for living and belief then we are condemned by the very people who hold another view which in their eyes are in the right. We could in fact go back and forth and accuse each other of being intolerant.

Therefore, what you said provides great insight into this dilemma, “So for people to impose their position on others, even if, or especially if it is a position of tolerance is not a Christian principle.” Phd., McNair, J, 2012) It is indeed not a Christian principle but “choice” is, and I choose to believe that God is the supreme being who has provided a savior to bring us back into a right relationship with Him, and who is willing that none should be condemned, but being omniscient knows that not all will believe.

Romans 1:20-21 a says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God (choice – leads to intolerance) nor were they thankful, became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.Thus, our choice will either lead us to “tolerance” or “intolerance”: the basis of our intolerance or tolerance is the determining factor of whether it is right or wrong.

spidey2013

eDago said...

As a person who is a subscribes to the personal philosophy of Progressive Tolerantism I openly admit that a large part of that philosophy is to never attempt to force or convince others to believe what I believe. Although I do enough explaining my beliefs, I never feel that it is right to color a person’s beliefs with mine. Personally I hold fast to things that I view to be truths, such as the existence of an omniscient God and the interconnectedness of all living things and religions, even if those persons and faiths choose to accuse each other of being wrong. Just like many others who carry deep beliefs, my faith encourages me to generalize the same principles that Jesus demonstrated into all aspects of my life and values the strong but basic quality that unites us all even when we are in disagreement; love and the desire to know the source of greater goodness or at the very least, be participants in a work of greater good without acknowledgment of a God source.

The major aspect that my Progressive Tolerantism effects is that in which I experience harmless conflicts with others. However, since the term “harmless” is very subjective in this context, let me prologue my standing with the definition that harmless conflicts are a matter of opinion so long as it does not effect others in negatively and neither the individual nor the community are altered physically or psychologically in a way that can affect their way of interacting with the environment or affect their possibilities to develop self-determination. This means that if I encounter someone who is scoffing at a student of mine whom is in a wheelchair and since I belief that will negatively effect my student, of course I will not be tolerant of that type of harmful display. In contrast, if I encounter a person expressing a religious opinion that I disagree with, I accept their freedom to choose. I cherish my faith and how it empowers me to pursue change things for the better and accept things that I have grown to label as harmless.

In applying my personal beliefs to my work with the disabled community, I tolerate very little when it comes to anything that will hinder growth in a positive direction and/or restrict freedoms just as those whom subscribe to traditional Christianity may also. It is in finding this common ground that allows me to strengthen greater ties of working towards a greater good for the disabled community.

eDago said...

As a person who is a subscribes to the personal philosophy of Progressive Tolerantism I openly admit that a large part of that philosophy is to never attempt to force or convince others to believe what I believe. Although I do enough explaining my beliefs, I never feel that it is right to color a person’s beliefs with mine. Personally I hold fast to things that I view to be truths, such as the existence of an omniscient God and the interconnectedness of all living things and religions, even if those persons and faiths choose to accuse each other of being wrong. Just like many others who carry deep beliefs, my faith encourages me to generalize the same principles that Jesus demonstrated into all aspects of my life and values the strong but basic quality that unites us all even when we are in disagreement; love and the desire to know the source of greater goodness or at the very least, be participants in a work of greater good without acknowledgment of a God source.

The major aspect that my Progressive Tolerantism effects is that in which I experience harmless conflicts with others. However, since the term “harmless” is very subjective in this context, let me prologue my standing with the definition that harmless conflicts are a matter of opinion so long as it does not effect others in negatively and neither the individual nor the community are altered physically or psychologically in a way that can affect their way of interacting with the environment or affect their possibilities to develop self-determination. This means that if I encounter someone who is scoffing at a student of mine whom is in a wheelchair and since I belief that will negatively effect my student, of course I will not be tolerant of that type of harmful display. In contrast, if I encounter a person expressing a religious opinion that I disagree with, I accept their freedom to choose. I cherish my faith and how it empowers me to pursue change things for the better and accept things that I have grown to label as harmless.

In applying my personal beliefs to my work with the disabled community, I tolerate very little when it comes to anything that will hinder growth in a positive direction and/or restrict freedoms just as those whom subscribe to traditional Christianity may also. It is in finding this common ground that allows me to strengthen greater ties of working towards a greater good for the disabled community.