Whatever works for you.

Sep 29, 2011


“We should learn to be more tolerant of other people’s beliefs and lifestyles. It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re true to yourself. Everyone has their biases, so who are you to say who is right and who is wrong?”

Agree? Disagree?

Our culture places high value on tolerance. Many argue that everyone should be allowed to live according to his or her own moral standards because one, true, absolute moral standard does not exist. Each individual's perception is different, so we should treat our views/lifestyles as equal in validity.

While it sounds good in theory, like we should all hold hands and frolic through a hayfield singing the Party Rock Anthem, I respectfully disagree with the... idea that an objective Truth doesn’t exist. Consider the following hypotheticals:

What about the old, southern white man, who:
-at the age of 6, was told by his parents that “Black people are lesser than whites.”
-reads articles about black teenagers fighting in schools, hears rappers degrading their own women in songs, and sees black women fighting one another on reality TV shows
-son's car was broken into and later found in a predominantly black neighborhood with the parts stripped
…all evidence of the “Truth” that his parents instilled in him when he was young, therefore he develops an intolerance for black people

What about the archetypal, alpha-male who:
-was raised in a military home by a stern father
-was taught by his dad that to be insufficiently masculine was a sign of weakness
-sees the dominant, vocal, powerful male being glorified in the media, and adorned by many women
…all evidence of the “Truth” bred by his family and society, therefore he develops Patriarchical attitudes towards women and homophobia towards gay men

What about the young, New York resident who:
-lost her mother in the 9/11 attacks
-hears the use of phrases such as “radical muslims” and “civilizational jihad in America” in the mainstream media
-witnessed a "suspicious looking" young woman at the airport who was forced to remove her hijab and be thoroughly searched before boarding a plane
…all evidence of the “Truth” that she attained following the 9/11 attacks, therefore she develops Islamaphobia

What about the inner city hustler who:
-never knew parents and raised by his older brother who told him “as a black man you can never show love to this world, because the world will never show love to you”
-sees women clutch their purses tight as they walk past him
-overhears more affluent blacks refer to him as “ghetto”
-has clerks follow him around in stores
-hears stories of police firing 50 rounds into a black man on the date of his wedding
....all evidence of the “Truth” that his brother instilled in him about society, therefore he develops apathy and lack of remorse for people and decides to start hustling, killing his neighborhood slowly

Each of these people, through empirical evidence (or life experiences), has sufficient enough reason to believe that their worldviews are the Truth, and therefore they are justified in their beliefs and actions toward different people. And if you adhere to idea that “it doesn't matter what you believe, accept everyone”, then who are you to tell them they are wrong? According to Kerby Anderson, “That is the consequence of living in a world that has changed its view of truth and established an ethical system that denies the existence of truth.

Today when someone shows an intolerance for pretty much anything, they are deemed close-minded and bigoted based on the idea that “it is wrong, to say that something is wrong” (which, in essence is a self-defeating statement). All the while, those who agree that we should be tolerant of everyone and everything still react negatively when an individual who is being "true" to himself does something that violates them. In S. D. Gaede's words, "If you are intolerant of someone who is intolerant, then you have necessarily violated your own principle. But if you tolerate those who are intolerant, you keep your principle, but sacrifice your responsibility to the principle. Consequently, a person who is wholly committed to tolerance, must resort to total apathy. Yet putting over ten bumper stickers on a car is hardly apathetic and thus anything but tolerant."

Just something to consider: Where do you get your Truths from? How can you possibly be tolerant of everyone, yet not EVERYONE? 

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