First, let’s distinguish between the old tolerance and the new tolerance, which is a form of intolerance. And I am going to point people to Don Carson’s book on tolerance, on the new form of intolerance. But the old tolerance is the kind I want to defend.
The answer is going to be: Yes, yes, yes. Let’s be tolerant of each other’s differing religious and other views. The old tolerance is the view that there is such a thing as objective truth and objective right and wrong and objective beauty and ugliness — and whether any of us can claim to know it does exist out there. And we should all want to find it and believe it and live it. That was the assumption of the old tolerance.
Therefore, one idea or belief would be better than another idea or belief if it was more true, more right, more beautiful. And, therefore, the reason people held their ideas or their beliefs was because they were convinced that their belief was more true, more right, and more beautiful. And when a person with a belief met a person with a contrary belief, they assumed that one of them or both of them were wrong.
Generally each of them, each of us, assumed that he was right. That is why you hold your belief. You believe you are right. That is why you believe your beliefs. They are true or they are good or they are beautiful. And then they would argue with each other and each would try to show that the other person is wrong and persuade them that they are right. They would each give reasons why the other person was wrong. And if the matter was serious enough, they might even give warnings that the other person needs to change his beliefs or something bad is going to happen to them.
In practical matters, the consequences might be that you are going to get a disease if you believe that way about germs or about hygiene. You need to change your ideas. They are not true. Or, another one might be: You are going to lose your job if you have that belief about what the employee’s manual says. It doesn’t say that. You are wrong. You need to change your idea. You are going to lose your job. Or you are going to be caught in a snowstorm if you have that belief about the weather system, because you have got a wrong idea. It is coming tomorrow, not the day after. You are going to get caught if you try to drive there.