Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tolerance Redefined

I have been dealing over the last several blog entries with the top ten reasons why a particular gentleman who wrote me is not a believer. These top ten reasons find their correspondence in the lives of a lot of skeptics. They have reasons why they can't accept the historic Christian faith and those reasons are very commonly expressed and that's why I'm dealing with them, not only for this gentleman but for the many people who doubt the veracity or the validity of the historic Christian faith.

One of the reasons that is given is that Jesus is not qualified to be God's representative because Jesus was intolerant. This whole idea of tolerance is bandied about a lot in our culture and the Christian faith in general is considered to be intolerant. Today tolerance is redefined to mean that all views are equally valid, and therefore, all lifestyles are equally appropriate. As such, Christ's proclamation that He is the only way is then vilified as the epitome of intolerance. Rather than capitulating to culture, we, as Christians, should be equipped to expose the flaws of this modern concept of tolerance while simultaneously exemplifying true tolerance.

First to say, "All views are equally valid" sounds tolerant, but in reality it's a contradiction in terms. If, indeed, all views were equally valid, then the Christian view must be valid. But the Christian view holds that not all views are equally valid! Thus the redefinition of tolerance in our culture is a self-refuting proposition. Moreover, 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 at all.

Furthermore, today's redefinition of tolerance leaves no room for objective moral judgments. A modern terrorist could be deemed as virtuous as a Mother Teresa. With no enduring reference points, societal norms are being quickly reduced to mere matters of preference. As such, the moral basis for resolving international disputes and condemning intuitively evil practices like genocide or child prostitution 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 our differences we treat every person we meet with the dignity and respect due them as those who are created in the image of God. True tolerance does not preclude proclaiming the truth, but it does mandate that we do it with gentleness and with respect. In a world that's increasingly intolerant of Christianity we, as Christians, must exemplify tolerance without sacrificing truth. As I've said so many times, tolerance when it comes to personal relationships is a virtue, but tolerance when it comes to truth is a travesty.


Ron said...

Can you continue on with this subject and give us some examples of how we might respond. Some guidelines as it were to the address the 'tolerant' among us who are intollerant to the Christian viewpoint?

I find it improbable that i can hold my tongue when pressed by atheists and the like who will berate me over my views, label me intollerant, and then in the end i shoot myself in the foot trying to respond.

Steve said...

How tolerant should we be towards someone that islying, cheating, stealing and making a mockery of a once great ministry?

Anonymous 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 Institute 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.