Wednesday, 12 June 2013

In praise of intolerance

In a society which seems to have abandoned most moral values, there is only one that seems universally lauded: tolerance.

Yet I do not remember that being on any of the old lists (as Treebeard might have said).  There were the Big Three: Faith, Hope and Charity; and the Cardinal Four: Justice, Prudence, Fortitude and Temperance, then the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit, but tolerance?...

And increasingly, I am intolerant of tolerance.

I have not been blogging for a while, as the sun was out and the weeds needed to be dug up (and Mrs T needed to be placated re said weeds).  However, digging the ground elder gave me lots of thinking time.  It is fairly easy, when weeding casually, simply to pull the stuff up, particularly around other plants; and even not to worry about it when it is in the empty spaces in-between: at least it is green and it is ground cover.

But that is a flawed strategy, as the wretched stuff thrives underground, sending long roots throughout the bed, growing up in the midst of your other plants; suffocating them and taking all the goodness out of the soil.

And it struck me (and here you will realise that I missed my vocation and should have been a vicar) that this was just like tolerating error. It may look harmless, but it will take over, and eventually choke truth and even the ability to think.

So whilst I think we should, of course, behave with utmost charity to all, including particularly those who are in error, we should not tolerate error itself.  That has been the fatal weakness of Christianity recently, in my view.

Instead of pretending that we think all points of view are equally valid, we should make a fearless and tireless stand for truth, and confront error.  Dialogue is fine, but it must not be a dialogue that pretends we accept erroneous views as valid; rather a dialogue that seeks the starting point or foundation from which we can evangelise.

Otherwise we risk misleading people both within and beyond the Church, which is a sin against both truth and charity.


Ttony said...

In Spain, I used to hear people talk about Santa Intolerancia: just as you say, tolerance is in fact the enemy of truth.

umblepie said...

Good post, thanks.

Dawn Young said...

Any tips on eliminating ground elder would be much appreciated.

Ben Trovato said...


The link in the post (on ground elder) is the place for professional advice.

As for me, I dug the whole bed over, by small fork, removing rhizomes: including digging up most of the plants, washing the soil from their roots to be able to disentangle the ground elder rhizomes.

Took several days, and is only partially successful: I will use a systemic weedkiller on any re-emerging growth.