Our Readers' Opinions
February 2, 2007
World becoming more and more intolerant

EDITOR: There is a re-surfacing and growing trend, particularly in the religious and political world today, where many religionists and politicians believe that tolerance means that you ought not to criticize their religious beliefs and political views. This kind of thinking is not healthy and right (Prov.14:34) for any nation and therefore leads society on a downward path. It destroys divine rights-consciousness values and the morals of society.

Undoubtedly, we are living in a world that is becoming more and more intolerant. However there are those who are unreasonably bent on stamping out criticism under the pretentious garb of ‘Tolerance.’ This false idea breeds an ‘anything goes culture’ where people are tagged as ‘intolerant’ when they seek to lift the standard of morality by preaching ‘the Bible says it’s so and therefore it is to’. Do people then wonder why the world is in such a state of confusion!{{more}} Children boldly disrespect their parents and guardians, use of dangerous drugs like cigarette and marijuana on the increase, men and women selling their bodies, organizations fighting tirelessly for the prohibition of use of Bibles in schools and display of the Ten (10) commandments in public places, rapid escalation of sodomy under the name of ‘alternative lifestyle,’ violence and inequality existing in false religion…and the list goes on in-exhaustively. All of the aforementioned are the fruits of propagating the unsound perception of ‘tolerance.’ A re-education into the issues of Tolerance and Criticism is therefore indispensable and timely.

According to the Scribner-Bantam English Dictionary, tolerate means to suffer or, to put up with. Therefore, Tolerance signifies forbearance. ‘So to suffer or to put up with or to bear with, has to do with relating to persons whose views and/or practices are disagreed with, yet no anti-rights actions towards them are taken, to either impose ones beliefs upon them or to hinder their expressions of dissent’ Thusia First Freedom Chronicle July-Sep, 2001.

Winston L. Frost, Dean of the Trinity Law School made the following statement in his speech at the International Coalition for Religious Freedom Conference on ‘Religious Freedom and the New Millennium”:

‘There is a mistaken view that tolerance means that you have to accept everything and anyone’s truth claims as being true. Such a view would mean that you can hold no truth claim to be less valid than your own…what we have to realize is that tolerance does not mean accepting that everything is true. Tolerance means being able to distinguish between what is and what isn’t true, but accepting the fact that there are those who believe differently than you do and allowing them to have that view and to be able to discuss, debate and deal with that in a public square…part of toleration is that you disagree with the other person on the nature of their truth claims and yet you are willing to agree to discussion, you are willing to listen, to dialogue, discuss…’

The above is a sound-founded, fitting and pro-rights protection view of what tolerance entails. Legitimate criticism goes hand in hand with such a tolerant propagation. Criticism is an important dimension of freedom of expression. It certainly does not mean infringement upon other persons’ rights by libel, slander, defamation of character etc.

The Oxford Popular English Dictionary and Thesaurus defines criticism as: pointing out faults; judging of merit. Criticism is a natural personal freedom and should not be legislated against since it is not at all harmful to society.

So, as the world becomes more and more evil and wicked men try to twist and pervert terms such as criticism and the true idea of tolerance, through subtle sophisticated means( for example ‘hate speech’), may we not be caught in this trap by withholding virtuous ideas that will preserve society and eradicate corruptions and injustices.

Ann-Marie John