CONSIDER THIS EXCHANGE BETWEEN “A” and “B.” (We’ll use colors to help you travel fast.)


“You’re intolerant.”

“Can you tell me what you mean by that? Why would you consider me an intolerant person?”

“Well, it’s clear you think you’re right and everyone who disagrees with you is wrong.”

“I guess I do think my views are correct. It’s always possible I could be mistaken, but I don’t think I am. But what about you? You seem to be disagreeing with me. Do you think your own views are right?”

*“Yes, I think I’m right, too. But I’m not intolerant. You are.”

“That’s the part that confuses me. Why is it when I think I’m right, I’m intolerant, but when you think you’re right, you’re just right? What am I missing?”



[This comes from Tactics, pp. 78-79, 202, by Gregory Koukl (Zondervan, 2009). Italics & note in quotes (below) his, colors & boldface, mine]

As a former teacher at a secular university, I find this exchange, especially its tone, typical of what many students bring to discussions, especially about religion. If a person expresses certain religious (especially Christian) or moral views that are (presumably) unfashionable with what the “majority” believes, then that person is automatically intolerant. (This is related to “snickercrit” that we’ve previously discussed.) We’ll say more about illogical intolerance in the future. Before ending, let me tack on an interesting comment by Koukl if the response after the asterisk (above) takes a slightly different turn:

[Koukl offers this alternative: “If red person says,] I think my views are right for me. You’re trying to force your views on others; I’m not.’ [Koukl says:] I call this the ‘post-modern two-step’ because I think it is intellectually dishonest. The whole reason the the other person [in red] is engaging you [the one in blue] is to correct you. He thinks you should adopt his more ‘tolerant’ view instead of the ‘arrogant’ and ‘intolerant’ view you hold. He wants to change your mind because he thinks his view is correct and yours in wrong, the very same thing he brings to his charge of intolerance against you.

The first problem here is one of logic, not the concerns of a particular issue itself.