So, I recently subscribed to the Answers in Genesis magazine, a publication dedicated to spreading the creationist and Bible-literalist viewpoints, and refuting new evidence that comes to light that supports the evolutionary standpoint. I’ve done this because, being a former Bible literalist and creationist myself, I was shocked to discover the degree to which information was carefully filtered, and evolutionist arguments were twisted or removed from context, in order to bring me to the desired conclusion: that (macro-)evolution is a hoax, and creationism is the only standpoint that makes any sense.
So now that I’ve come to see just how contrary to the truth creationism actually is, I’m trying to keep myself abreast of current thought and misinformation that is spread from some of the major sources of creationist propoganda, so I can research them properly, and compare them with the actual information they purport to be refuting (strawman arguments seem to be the most common way to argue against evolution—that is, refuting positions that the opponent isn’t actually arguing—so the easiest way to discredit many of the arguments is to actually look up the original sources, verify quotes, and put them in their context).
Anyway, I just received a copy of Answers Update, a “monthly newsletter equipping Christians to uphold the authority of the Bible from the very first verse,” and I started reading the very first article, Goose-stepping to Zion?, which defends the Answers in Genesis organization against direct attacks from a new book, American Fascists: the Christian right and the war on America, by Chris Hedges, who, according to the article, draws comparisons between Bible literalists and Hitler-era Nazis. But, I couldn’t believe my eyes as I came across this passage:
Who are the people manifesting fascist tendencies 60 years after Nazi Germany? It’s those who, in the name of tolerance, will refuse to tolerate those who are perceived as intolerant (i.e., those who hold to absolute standards, such as Bible-believing Christians).
In fact, Hedges quotes (sympathetically) the late philosopher Karl Popper, who once wrote that we can “therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to be tolerant of the intolerant” (p. 1).
The inconsistency is so glaring to us. Hedges’ self-proclaimed open-mindedness and tolerance absolutely falls apart when he attempts to rationalize his (clearly obvious) hypocrisy.…
He also does not appear to understand that while he howls at Christians’ attempts to impose their views on society, Hedges wants to see that it’s his views that should be imposed.
Now, it may be that Hedges’ viewpoint is on the extreme-side: some of the quote that I’ve elided with an ellipsis includes the claim that Hedges has “publicly chastised liberal humanists who believe in inclusiveness and who express any willingness to dialogue with evangelicals,” which, if true, would be a rather extreme viewpoint.
However, I’m simply amazed that someone could find “intolerance of intolerance” to be hypocritical; there’s no such thing as “absolute” tolerance. If one were tolerant of intolerance, that one would in a very real way be passively approving the intolerance, and therefore not a true tolerance at all.
Moreover, it’s abundantly clear that even the most tolerant of people cannot tolerate every viewpoint: it would be insanity to call it hypocrisy for one to simultaneously claim tolerance and yet at the same time refuse to tolerate child molestation.
How unfortunate that they choose to attack Karl Popper’s conclusion, without bothering to even mention his very reasonable supporting arguments, in apparent violation of the popular evangelical exhortation, that in Biblical studies, “whenever we see the word ‘therefore,’ we should check to see what it is there for.”
You can read the full article online at AnswersInGenesis.Com, which was co-authored by the founder and CEO of Answers In Genesis.