Friday, August 24, 2018
Tolerance is popularly understood as not imposing your beliefs or ideas on someone else but, "tolerating" the other's belief system, and "celebrating our differences." It's the core of the diversity movement.
In reality this is a false tolerance because those who are its greatest adherents cannot tolerate those who hold to certain views of the world or humans. All of us have some boundary, some point of no return that we can't tolerate. I can't tolerate excess materialism. Others may not tolerate those who believe same sex behavior is wrong or vice versa. Others can't tolerate the consumption of meat, environmentalists, the wealthy or the adulterers. In reality, we all have things we consider licit or illicit, and we consciously or unconsciously cannot tolerate those who cross that mental boundary.
True tolerance is more of a profound acceptance of others based on our own finiteness, weaknesses and imperfections.
"The knowledge of our weakness is the source of our tolerance."
-Tournier, The Person Reborn
True tolerance has little to do with keeping my beliefs to myself or paying lip service to accepting other's beliefs. It has everything to do with my understanding of myself. I am fallen from perfection, broken and incomplete. I will never ever have a full understanding of life. I am an interdependent, hypocritical creature, prone to judge others while simultaneously falling short of that elusive perfection.
Others may believe things profoundly different from me. I may not tolerate materialism, homosexuality, homophobia, reproductive rights, the pro-life movement, greenhouse gas emitting corporations, gender dysphoria, binary genders or a host of other ideas, issues or perspectives.
If I am tolerant, I humbly accept and embrace the other. Why? Not because they fall within my boundaries of licit ideas or behaviors, or because I accept that we believe differently. That's a delusion. But because they are a fellow creature, broken and incomplete, in need of acceptance, and redemption - just like me. I may disagree with their perspective in the depths of my soul. Nevertheless, the other is a fellow human, in desperate need for the flood-light of truth to penetrate the soul.
Blessed are the cracked, for they let the light in.
Hi, my name is Rick, and I'm a hypocrite.