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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802831702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802831705
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Michael Cromartie
-- Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, D.C.
"In these highly contentious times we need a renewed understanding of the meaning of true tolerance. True tolerance means taking our deeply held convictions seriously because understanding our differences actually makes a difference. Disagreements matter. True tolerance means engaging one another with civility and respect despite our differences. It is not incompatible with firm convictions or the desire to persuade others. In this timely book D. A. Carson argues that today true tolerance is not well tolerated. He makes a passionate plea for a recovery of an older form of tolerance, insisting that the existence of disparate views is vastly different from the acceptance of all views being equally valid. Important matters are at stake here, and Carson cogently explains why they are so urgent."

Bryan Chapell
-- President, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis
"Nothing is more intolerant than a tolerance that requires the absence of all convictions. Don Carson thoughtfully shows how tolerance, once defined as respecting others' right to hold differing perspectives, has morphed into a pervasive insistence that no one should hold firm convictions. The consequence of such a shift is a challenge to biblical faith that needs a biblical response, which Carson ably provides. In doing so, he gives the biblical basis for true tolerance in a just society and shows the inevitable tyranny of tolerance ill-defined. Not to hear and heed him is to enter a nightmarish world in which zeal to discern truth is replaced by zeal to keep anyone from claiming anything is really true."

Mark Driscoll
-- Pastor, Mars Hill Church, Seattle
"Sadly, the debate about Christianity has shifted from 'is it true' to 'was anyone offended.' The Bible assures us that the gospel message will be offensive, although the gospel messenger should be loving. Carson has done a masterful job of helping Christian leaders understand how to navigate a cultural context that is increasingly tolerant of seemingly everything but Christian belief."

About the Author

D. A. Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois. He has written or edited more than fifty other books, including The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church, and Christ and Culture Revisited.

More About the Author

D. A. Carson (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He is the author or coauthor of over 45 books, including the Gold Medallion Award-winning book The Gagging of God and An Introduction to the New Testament, and is general editor of Telling the Truth: Evangelizing Postmoderns and Worship by the Book. He has served as a pastor and is an active guest lecturer in church and academic settings around the world.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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(I also LOVE that he ends the book with an exhortation to DELIGHT in God!
Yehoshua
Carson's work is not always an easy read, but his style is memorable and his flow of thought remains clear throughout the book.
Enoch Burke
Carson details the history of tolerance and gives numerous examples of the new tolerance's intolerance.
Dottie Parish

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 76 people found the following review helpful By JP on February 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"Tolerance" has taken on an idolatrous golden calf status in our culture as of late, being the predominant ideology in nearly all areas of life. In The Intolerance of Tolerance, D.A. Carson tackles the elephant in the room, arguing against the current form of tolerance, which ironically is no tolerance at all.

Birthed out of a series of lectures Carson has given across the Western world, the main argument of the book is that tolerance has come to be the prevailing mantra of our time. However, tolerance no longer means what it used to, and the new form of tolerance is not very tolerant at all; at its best it is veiled intolerance and at its worst it borders on the absurd. Carson describes the old tolerance as a stance that acknowledges the existence of both right and wrong, and discoverable, defensible truth. This tolerance accepts "that a different or opposing position exists and deserves the right to exist" (p. 3). This tolerance respectfully engages in debates and criticisms. However, as Carson deftly argues, a new tolerance has taken over that is intolerant of the old tolerance.

The new tolerance, Carson argues, is tolerant of all things on the surface, so long as no dogmatic, absolute, judgmental, critical, or disparaging remarks are made. This new tolerance has become part of the unquestioned plausibility structure; it accepts all opinions and renders them all equally valid. But under this new tolerance, right and wrong cease to have any meaning. It does not acknowledge any specific truth, and labels any religion or system of thought that claims to be true as intolerant. Thus, any disagreement - let alone claims to exclusive truth - is demonized as intolerant, leaving no room for anything but a spineless, tyrannical tolerance.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By PstTBG on February 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Is tolerance the highest ideal? What does tolerance mean and how can it be achieved? Can an evangelical Christian be tolerant?

Carson's book deals with these questions as he probes western culture and its fixation on tolerance as the ideal that drives all social interaction. In his preface he states that there were two main incentives to writing this book. The first was the broad appeal and interactions in university settings when he lectured on this topic. The second was the overview that he had provided in his earlier book on culture, Christ and Culture Revisited. He wanted to explore the theme of tolerance and intolerance in more detail.

In the introduction Carson provides two similar but competing definitions for tolerance that become the basis for everything else that he says in the book. He calls these the old tolerance and the new. The old tolerance is defined as the belief that other opinions have a right to exist. The new tolerance is defined as the belief that all opinions are equally valid. He unpacks these ideas and demonstrates from interaction with many other authors that these two ideas undergird much of the confusion and ultimately disagreement that one encounters in trying to discuss differing belief systems.

The next few chapters cover how the shift in meaning of tolerance has occurred and then how it has been applied in today's society. Carson demonstrates how the older idea of tolerance is vital to a free society, and how the newer definition is actually inconsistent and ultimately unsustainable. Truth claims by major religions including secular humanism, if taken seriously, all deny the idea of tolerance in the newer definition.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Brian R. Bennett on March 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This quick read is a must especially for those who get frustrated with the political correctness that has consumed our nation. You know that something is very wrong when people are so quick to condemn, be offended, or threaten lawsuits for mere opinions. One side of the coin states that we have the right to freedom of speech; yet, if that speech irritates or "offends" someone, then the speaker is automatically considered an infidel!

What ever happened to common sense? If I trip on the curb, it isn't the curb's fault: it's my fault for tripping. As I often comment in my college courses that I teach, "if someone offends you with a comment, you CHOSE to be offended..." End of discussion.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Aaron Armstrong on May 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One doesn't have to be a great student of culture to know that there's been a shift in how we view the world. It's a change that, D.A. Carson argues, is subtle in form, but massive in substance. What's happened? We've changed our understanding of tolerance. We've moved from an understanding that accepts the existence of different views to one that presupposes the acceptance of those same views.

"To accept that a different or opposing position exists and deserves the right to exist is one thing; to accept the position itself means that one is no longer opposing it," writes Carson in his recently released book, The Intolerance of Tolerance. "The new tolerance suggests that actually accepting another's position means believing that position to be true, or at least as true as your own. . . . We leap from permitting the articulation of beliefs and claims with which we do not agree to asserting that all beliefs and claims are equally valid." Based upon his lectures given over the last decade, this book delves into the nature of this new form of tolerance, its implications for our culture and how we can respond.

One of the things I love about reading Carson's work is that he's very good at taking something really big and heady and making it reasonably easy to understand (either that or I'm so comfortable with abstract concepts that I don't even notice anymore). For example, here's how he describes the difference between the old and new forms of tolerance:

"The older view of tolerance held either that truth is objective and can be known, and that the best way to uncover it is bold tolerance of those who disagree, since sooner or later the truth will win out. . . . The new tolerance argues that there is no one view that is exclusively true.
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