Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Should Christians be tolerant?

A couple of thoughts about tolerance... because today tolerance has been redefined to mean that all views are equally valid and all lifestyles are equally appropriate. As such, the notion that we communicate here day in and day out on the Bible Answer Man broadcast that Jesus is the only way is being vilified as the epitome of intolerance. Rather than capitulating to culture, we as Christians have to be equipped, prepared to expose the flaws of today's tolerance and simultaneously exemplify the meaning of what I would call true tolerance.

The first point I'd like to make is "all views are equally valid" sounds like a tolerant statement. In reality, it's a contradiction in terms. If, indeed, all views were equally valid, then the Christian view must be valid. But here's the problem: the Christian view holds that not all views are equally valid. Thus the redefinition of tolerance in our culture is a self-stultifying or self-refuting proposition.

Not only so, we do not tolerate people with whom we agree - we tolerate people with whom we disagree. If all views were equally valid there'd be no need for tolerance. Not only so, but today's redefinition of tolerance leaves little room for objective moral arguments or judgments. A modern terrorist could be deemed as virtuous as a Mother Teresa with no enduring reference point. Societal norms are quickly being reduced to mere matters of preference. The moral basis for resolving international disputes and condemning evil practices like genocide or oppression of women is being seriously compromised.

In light of its philosophically fatal features, Christians must reject today's tolerance and revive true tolerance. True tolerance entails that despite differences we treat every single person that we encounter with dignity and respect as people who are created in the image of God. True tolerance does not preclude proclaiming the truth, but it does mandate that when we proclaim the truth we do it with gentleness and with respect. In a world that's increasingly intolerant of Christianity Christians must exemplify tolerance without sacrificing truth on the altar of today's redefinition of tolerance. Indeed, tolerance when it comes to personal relationships - as I've said so many times on the broadcast - tolerance when it comes to personal relationships is a virtue, but tolerance when it comes to truth is a travesty.

5 comments:

Karen said...

This is an issue that has become increasingly important within the church at large. It is difficult being the butt of verbal attacks from one's fellow congregants due to taking a firm stand that Jesus is the single true way to eternal life with God (John 14:6). I've faced this, and have fallen back on the verse your ministry is built on (1 Peter 3:15). Still, part of the problem lies with the thousands, perhaps millions of believers who fail to stand firm or speak up when this truth takes a beating. We do ourselves and our God no favors by being silent in the face of this misinformed cultural maelstrom.

Nick said...

It seems to me that the basis for "universal tolerance" is actually a self-serving (albeit misguided) desire to avoid any responsibility for one's actions or opinions. If "Everybody is right and nobody is wrong in their personal beliefs" were true, wouldn't this refute any attempt to define universal right or wrong? Without an absolute, then NOTHING is "right", no matter what the philosophers may argue.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I am glad that somebody is willing to stand up against 'tolerance.' So many people I know that say they are christians don't even care what the bible says on big issues. They get offended when I stand up against gay rights, or the idea of pro-choice, and tell me to be more 'tolearnt.' It leaves a person very frustrated. I cannot say how much it means to me that one, if only one, person is standing up against the normal mainstream christianity. I just really appreciate truth, and am glad that somebody is doing something about it! Its about time. Well, just wanted to say thanks :)

In His Grip,
Cassey

B&N said...

Hank, thank you posting your opinion about tolerance and intolerance. In the place where I live many people say that all views are the same and boast of their "tolerance" of the Christian view as well. Your comment will help me in building my viewpoint more intellectually from a Biblical perspective, in order to give a defense for the Hope in the Truth. Please continue to help Christians defend, strengthen and share their faith if face of todays very relativistic viewpoints.

purplehymnal said...

"True tolerance entails that despite differences we treat every single person that we encounter with dignity and respect as people who are created in the image of God. True tolerance does not preclude proclaiming the truth, but it does mandate that when we proclaim the truth we do it with gentleness and with respect."

That's really, really, rich, coming from someone who did not extend a single iota of gentleness or respect, in your power-hungry bid to shove your own personal brand of religion down the throats of every single member trapped under both Joe Tkach Sr.'s and Jr.'s thumbs, in the Worldwide Church of God cult in the 1990s.

You and your Christian Research International cronies descended on the WCG like the Europeans conquering the Americas. You took everything we had ever understood, and tossed it to the wind, expecting us to go along like the brainwashed little sheep we were supposed to be.

We were brainwashed, unfortunately most of us were brainwashed too well, which is why there are 650+ splinters and counting, and only forty thousand or so of us who are truly free (from all religion).

And now here you are, almost two decades later, mouthing off about how "Christians" must be gentle and tolerant towards those with different beliefs?? Your history belies you, sir. You have not set a very good example of practicing what you preach.