The Three D’s of Tolerance

by J Warner Wallace

Of the many self-refuting statements offered on college campuses across America, perhaps the most dangerous for Christians is the new definition of “tolerance”. Like all worldviews, Christianity offers an explanation for reality that excludes many other options. If Christianity is true, other views of the world that deny the existence of God (or postulate a god who is characteristically different than the God of the Bible) are false. If these other views are true, Christianity is false. When worldviews offer opposite and contradictory explanations, both may be incorrect (or one may be correct) but both cannot be true. We need a strategy, therefore, to deal with people who hold views that are different than our own.

Our culture has embraced a strategy that seems appealing at first, but ultimately falls on its own sword. It begins with a redefinition of “tolerance”. Most young people have now been taught that tolerance requires us to accept that “all views have equal merit and none should be considered better than another”. As I explained in a prior post, this definition is self-refuting because, although folks who hold to this definition say they accept all views as equally true, they reject the view that some ideas are patently false (and, therefore, have less value than others). In other words, they will accept any view as equally valuable except the claim that some views are not equally valuable.

The problem here is that we’ve lost our connection to the historic definition of tolerance. In my generation (admittedly I am now an older guy), “tolerance” was defined as “the fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc. differ from one’s own.” This definition of the term is much different than the more recent corruption of the word, and it requires three important conditions and responses…


The Three D’s of Tolerance | Cold Case Christianity