Tolerance once meant listening respectfully to all points of view, freely discussed in our common search for truth. But the new creed is that knowing the truth is impossible. All ideas or propositions are placed on an equal footing, unless it’s a Christian idea, which is curtly dismissed from the marketplace of ideas. Carrie Prejean can tell us all about this.
Moral relativism is the view that when it comes to questions of morality, there are no absolutes and no objective right or wrong; moral rules are personal preferences (Beckwith).” This is reflected in many places, especially academic settings. When you forget or exclude God, relativism reigns. You become your own moral code. Objective moral standards don’t exist. You become god and usually will gratify your senses however you want, regardless of what other people say or think. When you devalue God, you devalue everything else, including human life.
What we see today is what one author called “the revenge of the offended absolutes” (Colson). Courts strike down simple prayers and religious symbols, and then wonder why barbed wire has to surround the playgrounds. Universities reject the very idea of truth, and are shocked when their brightest students loot and betray their companies. Celebrities mock the traditional family and family values, and then wonder why teenage pregnancy is a global issue. Law makers justify the taking of innocent life in sterile clinics and then act perplexed when life is disregarded in blood-soaked streets.
Sex is sacred, family is one man and one woman and children, integrity is a must in any culture, and a belief in God and obedience to Him are absolutely essential. When these absolutes are offended or ignored, they wreak a kind of revenge and culture pays a price. “We castrate and bid the gelding be fruitful,” says Lewis. We laugh at values and then wonder why people do the things they do, why they don’t “produce” more courage, honor, and noble things.
If a student comes to your school wearing a T-shirt that says ALL STATEMENTS ARE FALSE. That statement has a serious problem. If all statements are truly false, then his T-shirt motto must be false as well. See the logical knot. It’s self-defeating. The person who says, “There’s no absolute truth” just shared an absolute truth. They’ve self-defeated themselves. Stop hiding behind self-defeating nonsense, recognize that truth is discovered, not created for oneself, and that when the moral absolutes from a Moral Lawgiver are ignored, society goes into moral free fall, where anything goes.
We tend to define tolerance as moral neutrality – refusing to judge any behavior right or wrong. “It means putting up with people precisely when we believe they are wrong. It means respecting all viewpoints… (Colson).” It gives people room to work through their beliefs. It doesn’t rigidly point to the rules; tolerance reaches out with ideas that are truer, but in so doing it doesn’t suspend judgment. Tolerance requires practicing moral judgment, not suspending it. Tolerance is a virtue, like when opinions are being shared so someone can arrive at the truth. But tolerance is not a virtue when someone is being murdered or raped. Put them in jail immediately! There’s a time for the money-changers to be driven from the temple when the common good is jeopardized.
Tolerance is the wisdom to know which ideas or things to put up with and when, why, and to what degree to put up with them – and the settled disposition of acting on that wisdom (Budziszewski).
Carrie Prejean did the right thing by allowing absolutes to guide her decision and answer. How about we do the same.