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On Tuesday March 10, members of the community gathered to attend the newest addition to the Crandall Public Lecture series. This lecture, titled “Are Christians REALLY Intolerant? Should they be?” was led by Crandall sociology professor Dr. Sam Reimer, who addressed the subject of tolerance and intolerance in Canada. More specifically, through this lecture, he shared new research that shed light on the commonly-held belief that conservative Christians are less tolerant, and explained why the research has often associated Christianity with intolerance over time.
To begin, Dr. Reimer defined tolerance as “putting up with something one finds objectionable.” He explained how researchers examine tolerance, including commonly used measure of tolerance created by Samuel A. Stouffer. Dr. Reimer argued that there are numerous flaws with this measurement, and proposed that a different method for predicting and measuring intolerance would produce more valid results, outlining his use of the “least-liked” method in his research. Through this method he established that conservative Christians are not, in fact, less tolerant than other groups, but posited that there are other, non-religious factors (some of which do indeed apply to some conservative Christians) that determine how tolerant a person will be. In essence, his conclusion was that it is not the belief itself that determines one’s level of tolerance, but rather the way one holds to those beliefs.
Following Dr. Reimer’s presentation, Dr. John Stackhouse shared a few words, commenting on the ever decreasing degree of tolerance in society as a whole. He stressed that, as Christians, we should strive to be both unusually tolerant, referencing Jesus’ practice of being inclusive to all, and also remarkably intolerant, referencing Jesus’ command to everyone to “be born again.” He concluded his remarks with the observation that every society, whether the Church or the Canadian nation, should be tolerant of anything that does not impede its purpose while being intolerant of anything that does.
Overall, the lecture was stimulating and engaging, drawing a large crowd of people, both from within the University and without. Thank you to Dr. Reimer and to Dr. Stackhouse for enlightening us, and to everyone who attended for supporting the academic pursuits of Crandall’s faculty.
If you were not able to attend this session, the lecture and response are available for watching below and on Crandall University’s YouTube channel.
Crandall’s Public Lecture series serves to offer the community at large an opportunity to hear from faculty members at first hand and learn of the work that they are doing to advance scholarship in their fields of expertise.
Crandall University is Atlantic Canada’s leading Liberal Arts University rooted in the Christian Faith, with undergraduate programs in Arts, Business Administration, Science, and Education, and graduate programs in Education and Organizational Management. To learn more, visit crandallu.ca or call 1‑888-968-6228.