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.