In today’s tense religious/political environment, the words “bigot”, “bully” and “hater” get thrown around to label anyone who is an ideological opposite. This behavior shuts down debate, demonizes the opposition, and instills hatred toward opposing groups.
In the following video, theologian D.A. Carson explains the concept of “The Intolerance of Tolerance” and the changing landscape of what it means to be a tolerant person:
The traditional/modernist use of tolerance: “I may disagree with you, but I insist on your right to articulate your opinion, no matter how stupid or ignorant I think it is. That is tolerance.”
Now tolerance means that you must not say that anybody is wrong. You have to say that all positions are equally valid.
Carson also makes the distinction that in the previous usage of tolerance, you tolerate individuals, where as now, people tolerate positions. And now if you don’t tolerate the popular position, you are labeled ‘intolerant’–even though you tolerate the person. That is the intolerance of tolerance.
Here is a helpful quote from Carson’s book The Intolerance of Tolerance:
Neither the old tolerance nor the new is an intellectual position; rather, each is a social response. The old tolerance is the willingness to put up with, allow, or endure people and ideas with whom we disagree; in its purest form, the new tolerance is the social commitment to treat all ideas and people as equally right, save for those people who disagree with this view of tolerance.
Advocates of the new tolerance sacrifice wisdom and principle in support of just one supreme good: upholding their view of tolerance. So those who uphold and practice the older tolerance, enmeshed as they inevitably are in some value system, are written off as intolerant. Thus banished, they no longer deserve a place at the table.