The Intolerance of Tolerance

The Intolerance of Tolerance

D. A. Carson argues how intolerance should be thoughtfully challenged.

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We live in a culture obsessed with the idea of 'tolerance.' However, when tolerance, poorly defined, is made an absolute good, it drifts towards intolerance. It must then, argues D. A. Carson, be thoughtfully challenged, both for the good of the church and for the good of the broader culture.

Carson examines how the definition of tolerance has changed. It now has less to do with putting up with a person or stance while still seeking to disagree, and more to do with not saying others are wrong. It is impossible to deploy this new tolerance consistently, so that actual practice is often whimsical and arbitrary. Worse, the words 'tolerance' and 'intolerance' have become merely rhetorical terms of approval and disapprobation.

Despite the many negatives about these new, often ethically deficient definitions of tolerance, from a Christian perspective there have been gains as well. In this valuable and accessible volume, Carson uses examples and quotations to illustrate his analysis and concludes with practical advice on exemplifying and promoting the virtue of civil civic discourse.

Product details


  • Preface
  • 1. Introduction: The Changing Face of Tolerance
  • 2. What Is Going On?
  • 3. Jottings on the History of Tolerance
  • 4. Worse Than Inconsistency
  • 5. The Church and Christian Truth Claims
  • 6. And Still There Is Evil
  • 7. Tolerance, Democracy, and Majoritarianism
  • 8. Ways Ahead: Ten Words
  • Index of Names
  • Index of Subjects
  • Index of Scripture References


Author Don Carson
ISBN 9781844744053
Format Paperback
First published February 2012
Dimensions 151mm x 232mm x 15mm
Print size 9pt
Language English
Pages 200
Publisher IVP
Independent reviews

The Intolerance of Tolerance

Tim Challies,, February 28th 2012

This is not just a book for smart people, but you’ll find it helps. If you’re really smart and well-read you can probably read it once with pretty good comprehension. If you’re like me, you’ll need at least two readings and even then be scratching your head at times. It’s not that it’s exceedingly dense or difficult, but that it deals with categories that are unfamiliar. At least that was my experience. But I’m glad I read it as it helped me crystalize exactly what I’ve seen going on all around me. It’s given me the parameters I need to ensure that I don’t inadvertently lose the better meaning of tolerance and it has given me fair warning of the consequences should I do so.... continue reading

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The Intolerance of Tolerance | Don Carson | £14.99 £11.99