Tolerance and Intolerance


Rev. R.J. Rushdoony
California Farmer 252:3 (Feb. 2, 1980), p. 50.


When I moved some years ago into a major urban area, it took me a while to get used to street noises and night sounds. Because they were unfamiliar sounds, I heard them all. In a year’s time, I was so accustomed to them that I heard none of them.

Then, when I moved into this mountain area out in the country, I heard the coyotes howling night after night. Very soon, I ceased to hear them. Last summer, when our daughter-in-law remarked about the nightly serenade by coyotes, I realized that I had not heard them for a few years: it was too familiar a night noise for me to be conscious of, in the slightest degree.

Now this illustrates why we cannot use our feelings and experience as a test or standard. We readily develop a tolerance for many things. Our tolerance for pornography, national corruption, profanity, and sin in general has greatly increased in the past generation. Things once held to be intolerable are hardly noticed. What was once shocking on television, for example, is now tame fare, and what once destroyed a politician’s career is today no problem.

In brief, our level of tolerance is a false standard. This is why Isaiah declares, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20). We cannot use our thoughts and feelings as a standard: only God’s Word is the test. We ourselves readily develop a tolerance towards sin and evil: God’s Word remains the unceasingly clear and uncompromising Word.

The result of becoming tolerant towards sin is that we become intolerant towards God and His Word.

Tolerance and Intolerance

California Farmer 243:6 (Oct. 18, 1975), p. 36.


A friend was accused of intolerance by an associate because he expressed his opposition to various sexual offenses. He was briefly troubled by this charge until he suddenly realized that this accuser was himself savagely intolerant, intolerant in his case of Christianity.

Intolerance is inescapable. If we are Christians and abide by Scripture, we will be intolerant towards murder, theft, adultery, false witness, and other offenses against God’s order. They will be to us a violation of our freedom and order under God, and an oppression of godly men.

If, on the other hand, we are sinners and lawbreakers by nature, we will be intolerant of God and His people, intolerant of godly laws and restraints precisely because we tolerate and love sin.

Our Lord stated the issues clearly: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other” (Matt. 6:24). It is necessary for us to love God and His Word, and, if we are regenerate, it is our nature to do so. This means that we therefore hate sin and regard it as an offense against God and man and an intolerable violation of godly order which must be eliminated.

Similarly, those who hate God want to eliminate Him, and us, and everything which is an aspect of God’s law and order and Word from their universe. They are savagely and bitterly intolerant.

In other words, what you tolerate says a great deal about you. It identifies your loyalties and your love, and it classifies your nature clearly. Men are known, not only by their fruits, but also by their love and hate, their tolerance and intolerance.

For more articles and books by R.J. Rushdoony see

This entry was posted in Worldview/Culture, Z-Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Thank you for your interest and comment.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s