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Sentence Sermons (Christian Inspiration) #40 --- Tolerance

Updated on March 8, 2011

Quotations on Tolerance

There is a wide difference between tolerance and liberty. Toleration implies that somebody falsely claims the right to tolerate. Toleration is a concession, while liberty is a right. Toleration is a matter of expediency; while liberty is a matter of principle. Toleration is a gift from man, while liberty is a gift from God.

—George W. Truett, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., July 24, 1939.

Tolerance is good but tolerance which sells out our conviction is treason.

—Glenn L. Archer, Christian Index, Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 24, 1960.

Tolerance [is] the soothing salve to soften wrath, to meliorate contentions, to calm disturbances, to mitigate strifes.

—James Albert Brooks, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, March 24, 1913.

Intolerance is an attitude of mind toward religious and other opinions which shows itself in fear or refusal to discuss the opinions of others.

Intolerance is not shown in opposition to another opinion, or even in burning at the stake, but simply in the refusal to listen to those opposing opinions.

Tolerance is that attitude of mind that registers contrary opinions without anger, which may resist them, but has no desire to suppress them.

Five common varieties of intolerance are political intolerance, intellectual snobbishness, industrial hardboiledness, racial fear, and religious bigotry.

Courageous tolerance is something to be desired more than courageous intolerance. Tolerance should be sustained by reason as well as conviction, for reason is preferable to prejudice.

—H.G. Leach, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Feb. 18, 1929.

Look for the good in everyone you meet. It will help you to be understanding and tolerant.

—Phil Conley, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., Feb. 6, 1948.

It’s all too easy to confuse tolerance with submissiveness.

—Bill Copeland, Sarasota Journal, Sarasota, Fla., Aug. 24, 1965.

Tolerance is hospitality of opinion, a willingness to allow to others the liberty of thought we want for ourselves.

—Frank Crane, The Chicago Daily News, Chicago, Ill., Aug. 28, 1916.

No intolerance is quite so bitter as that created by religious contention.

—Frank Francis, Ogden Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah, Feb. 8, 1931.

The devil sharpens the lance of intolerance.

—Ernest C. Wareing, Western Christian Advocate, Cincinnati, Ohio, June 29, 1925.

Tolerance gets its severest test when it is called upon to tolerate intolerance.

—Jack Warwick, Toledo Blade, Toledo, Ohio, Jan. 13, 1941.

The test of a Christian is not the vigor with which he proclaims his opinions, but his ability to live in fellowship with all classes of his fellow Christians. Christianity is first a personal, abiding and sincere relationship with God and second a real fellowship with the brethren. The real test of a Christian is not the power with which he is able to proclaim his beliefs, but his ability to live in fellowship with and cooperating service with other Christians.

—R.S. Chalmers, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, Feb. 18, 1924.

The intolerant person feels he must do God's work in his own way and is influenced by bigotry and selfishness. Intolerance has driven many away from the church and the home. It is a state of mind in which the nerves are on edge and emotions are out of order.

The intolerant person is a backseat driver, too busy finding fault to find any joy in life. He is tempted to dictate to others and is distressed by things about him, forgetting that the worst of the storm beats within his own brains.

Tolerance does not mean that a person sacrifice his own individuality. It demands that he should so live that the harmony of his life should be in relation to the harmony of others.

—Randolph Ray, New York Times, New York, New York, June 29, 1936.

The spirit of intolerance [is] the outgrowth of pride [and] conceit. ... Good will toward men comes from respect and consideration for their beliefs and circumstances and a humble attitude in regard to one’s own opinions. ... Intolerance is the forerunner of persecution. ... We find Christ ever ready to forgive us of our sins. As He so willingly forgives us of our sins, so we should find ourselves growing more tolerant each day toward those with whom we come in contact, ever ready to forgive a friend for a seeming injustice or an unkind remark. It will bring us real happiness, and happiness is not an illusive “something” that only a few can have. It is a real, concrete living experience, and this can hardly be had without diligent, prayerful study of His word, wherein we can learn much from His example of love and tolerance.

—Henry Lorenzen, Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City, Utah, Oct. 7, 1950.

Much that passes for toleration is merely indifference. Only those can exhibit true tolerance who having settled convictions of their own find themselves in sharp disagreement with others. ... The worst enemy of ... religion is not the active hostility of its foes but the callous indifference of the neutrals.

There is the bad habit of harsh censorious judgment. Such judgments are most often self-revealing. People are mirrors for us, and what we think we see in another is often but the reflection of something in ourselves. Whenever we are acutely conscious of other people’s failings, we should make it the occasion of rigorous self-examination.

Censorious judgments are usually incorrect. Perhaps we cannot agree with the great French writer that to know all is to forgive all, but there can be no doubt that fuller knowledge makes for more charitable opinion. ... Jesus said, “Judge not that ye be not judged.” Our own faults and failings, our own weakness and meanness, should engross our consideration pretty much to the exclusion of the faults and failings, the weakness and meanness of others. ...

What is common sense? To a person who has common sense, the little things seem small and the big things loom large. To a person who hasn’t common sense, it is the other way about; the little things loom large, and the big things are unnoticed and receive but scant attention. Common sense is mainly a matter of seeing things in proportion and perspective. It is the chief essential for success. ...

The world must grow in reverence and in charity, or the mounting sum of human knowledge will not crown men with blessing, but will overwhelm them with disaster.

—Arthur Jeremiah Roberts, Lewiston Daily Sun, Lewiston, June 11, 1925.

Eternal vigilance is necessary to withstand the ever-present inclination of intolerant opinions from resorting to coercive action. There are plenty of people who would compel others to conform if they had the power. There are many things about which there is no crisis, and while differences may be strong and wholesome, the issue can be carried along with forbearance and respect. It is when beliefs assume the right to impose themselves upon others and compel others to conform that they themselves become intolerable.

It is one of the duties of this hour to check up our prejudices, all of them, class prejudices and racial prejudices and religious prejudices, and prevent them from passing into intolerant speech or action. It is a time when nerves are tense, when feelings are strong, when suspicions and resentments are easily aroused. We must keep the poison of intolerance out of our minds and hearts. We must put on guard our best and kindliest judgments and our generous and considerate feelings.

—Minot Simons, New York Times, New York, N.Y., Nov. 20, 1933.

The essence of intolerance consists in the eager desire to place our stamp or faith, our mark churchmanship, upon others; to coerce them into the acceptance of our interpretation of things, and to be in a state of hostility except we succeed in so doing. Intolerance arises from the inability to put ourselves in the position of others, to look at truth from their angle, to view things from their standpoint. The more a man thinks and knows, the wiser his vision and the broader his charity or judgment. Intolerance is always associated with prejudice and ignorance.

A fruitful cause of religious intolerance is the failure to perceive that God deals with the souls of men individually, and that His truth is revealed to us according to our several capacities to receive it and according to the particular needs of the individual soul.

We must take care not to confuse tolerance and charity of thought with what they are not. To be loose-minded, to have no special convictions, to ignore questions of principle, to make wholesale sacrifices of what our conscience tells us to be the truth, to treat questions of grace moment lightly, just for the sake of an outward, superficial union, is neither tolerance nor charity. Neither should we regard any man as intolerant merely because he is absolutely loyal to the truth as he sees it. ... Faithfulness to principle, whatever that principle may be, is neither narrowness nor bigotry, and on the other hand, a weak, uncompromising inconsistency between belief and practice is not the spirit of tolerance.

What then is tolerance? True tolerance, gentle charity, real breadth of mind, is to seek to appreciate that which is good and sincere in the doctrine, effort and work of those who differ doctrinally from us, to give gladly fullest credit where credit is due, to attribute to others the same high and earnest motives which actuate ourselves. ...

The effort of Christians of all parties and denominations should be never to look askance upon any not numbered amongst themselves who are doing a good work in the name of Jesus. ... We can believe that the work of the Holy Spirit is being done by the faithful and true souls of all churches and creeds, here at home and in lands afar. ...

We must work ... constant in the going of good, ... loyal to the truth as we believe it to have been taught by Christ. ... We must strive to be consistent and constant in all things, thankful to see that through the efforts of those not of our household of faith, the Holy Spirit is doing his wonderful work, remembering, also, that part of the Spirit's work is to be done by our stern fidelity to the truth as we believe it. ...

But with our fidelity there must be charity of judgment and warmest tolerance and highest appreciation of all that is noble and worth in the efforts of others, quite as devout and earnest as ourselves, who do not see the truth as we see it.

—F.L. Carrington, Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, June 23, 1913.

Freedom of choice depends upon tolerance and liberty cannot survive without it. Does tolerance mean that a person must of necessity put himself in the category of those who possess no personal convictions about their conduct, or have no qualms about following the crowd? The answer is an obvious No! The answer is still tolerance but tolerance without compromise. Tolerance does not mean that we must participate in another's mode of living. It is a fact that one may oppose everything a person stands for yet permit him to think or believe as he desires. Tolerance has never meant and never means that we must get on the bandwagon regardless of its direction of travel. Let us never suppose that in order for us to be tolerant we must do everything the world does.

—Charles R. Scott, Cumorah's Southern Messenger, Johannesburg, South Africa, October 1962.

It is to be earnestly recommended [to] avoid contentious arguments and debates regarding doctrinal subjects. The truth of the gospel does not depend for its demonstration on heated discussions; the message of truth is most effectively delivered when expressed in words of simplicity and sympathy. ... A testimony of the truth is more than a mere assent of the mind; it is a conviction of the heart, a knowledge that fills the whole soul of its recipient.

Victory in debate is not stronger evidence of right on the side of the victor than is success in battle proof of the justice of the cause for which the conquerors fought. A debate is usually but a wrestling match of words, and the result demonstrates simply which of the wrestlers was stronger or more skillful, certainly not which of them stood for the right. ...

Refrain from such useless altercations of words. ... Some ... are prone to arguments and discussions. ... They sometimes carry on their wordy warfare. ... No good, but surely evil will come from such a course. ... Leave the schemes of pointless discussion alone; keep close to the teachings of the revealed word, as made plain in the [scriptures]; and let not a difference of views on abstruse matters of doctrine absorb your attention lest thereby you become entangled from one another and separated from the Spirit of the Lord.

—Ben E. Rich, Elders Journal, Atlanta, Ga., November 1903.

Tolerance has become a rather flabby word. Unfortunately, for many people tolerance means reluctant endurance, disgruntled permissiveness of something or someone undesirable or unpleasant. It expresses for them what might be felt about a nagging headache, noisy neighbors in your apartment building, or a summer shower without your raincoat. In pure usage, however, tolerance connotes much more strength and character. In it are forbearance and patience with hope of understanding, indulgence for variance, and freedom from bigotry or prejudice.

It is regrettable that in a country that has provided religious and racial equality and has preached tolerance in theory, there is evidence that some Americans have flabby tolerance when creed is replaced with deed. ... We sometimes lack compassionate tolerance for different kinds of beliefs and peoples. ... We have seemed to forget at times that one need not compromise or give up one's own precious beliefs, while being generous toward those entitled to the same claim that we make for freedom of thought and spirit.

Among Christians tolerance must not only be a strong concept, but also a two-way experience. It needs to be demonstrated positively on the church parking lot immediately after departing the pious atmosphere of the sanctuary. More seriously, it is a necessary bridge in multi-racial communities, in three- and four-generation congregations, in interdenominational conferences. ...

Tolerance seems, to me, to be closely akin to agape love, that emotion that can transcend vast differences with understanding and acceptance. One of us can be truly tolerant alone, but the church will never have a koinonia, a genuine fellowship, until all members practice true tolerance.

—Sarah Frances Anders, Baptist Message, Alexandria, La., Aug. 24, 1972.

Intolerance is malignant egotism.

—W.A. MacKenzie, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Dec. 1, 1924.

Bigotry assays life with acids of intolerance.

—W.A. MacKenzie, The Leesburg Morning Commercial, Leesburg, Fla., March 26, 1927.

Intolerance has drawn more blueprints of hell than God could use in an eternity.

—W.A. MacKenzie, The Leesburg Morning Commercial, Leesburg, Fla., Aug. 5, 1927.

It is much easier to expect tolerance than it is to extend tolerance.

—Roy L. Smith, Christian Advocate, Chicago, Ill., May 1, 1947.

Let us be careful to keep a tolerant mind without becoming morally indifferent.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Aug. 28, 1937.

Intolerance is religion's worst caricature.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., June 26, 1942.


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