The Danger of Tolerance

Is it ever wrong to be tolerant? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

A lot of Christians yesterday, including some in leadership, had the equals sign as an avatar of Facebook saying they wanted equality in marriage. I would like to have seen how they would have been responded to being told the standards of who one can marry is already the same for everyone, but I fear there is more heat than light on this issue and more are thinking with emotions than reasoning. This is especially so since politicians like Portman and McCaskill have given reasons that are largely emotional for a change of mind.

One aspect of this is the idea of tolerance. Christians want to be good people. I get that. We think it is good to be tolerant. Therefore, we decide we should be tolerant. We get the command that Jesus told us that we are not to judge and therefore it comes to “Who am I to judge someone else? Let God do that. I will be tolerant. That’s what Jesus would have me do.”

Keep in mind, Jesus made several judgments and he was hardly tolerant of the false teachings of those around Him. When we look at the epistles, it’s the same way. They hardly would have been written if the apostles had been practicing tolerance.

Of course, this is with the modern view of tolerance. The modern view is more along the lines of having to accept everything. One cannot say that another person is wrong in their position. All views are to be seen as equal and no view is any better than another.

Such a position will lead to numerous contradictions. For instance, if no view is better than another and all views are equal, what about the view that all views are not equal and some views are better than others? Is that to be treated the same way? If an exception is not made, then the principle is violating itself.

So am I saying Christians should be intolerant? No. I’m saying we should practice classical tolerance. In classical tolerance, you allow some wrong views to be held on matters of serious discussion. You still say the view is wrong, but you allow the person the freedom to hold that view.

This shows up in the NT. What about meat offered to idols? What about whether one should have wine? What about if any days are sacred? 1 Cor. 8-10 and Romans 14 are classic texts about this. If someone wants to do something like this, then let them, but the only problem Paul had was when one person started assuming they were more spiritual or better than another.

Note also that Paul also said some behaviors were clearly wrong. You do not tolerate lying or adultery or stealing. Interestingly, in 1 Cor. 6, homosexual behavior is included in this. Note especially that this is talking about the household of God. What about those outside? They are not held to Christian standards, though their behavior is still wrong.

In our country, we are allowed basic freedoms. For instance, the freedom of religion. The government is not to favor one religion over another. Hence, I will oppose Islam, but I defend their right to build mosques here and worship as they see fit, provided they obey the laws of the land in doing so.

Why oppose the change in marriage? Because this does affect everyone, particularly the least of these, the children. If you think that children have a right to have a relationship with their natural mother and father, then you have all the reason you need to keep marriage as it is.

Note also the other great danger of tolerance. It’s a one-way street. You can be sure that when the other side is in power and you want to practice your Christianity that says homosexual behavior is a sin, they won’t be so tolerant. You will be called to task. How do I know this? Because it’s happening already. Tolerance is not being practiced for those who disagree. Those who seek to celebrate diversity don’t seek to celebrate those who disagree with them.

Christians. Practice true tolerance, but don’t practice the modern notion. The church never prospers when it backs down on its Christian principles.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Advertisements

Tags: , ,

7 Responses to “The Danger of Tolerance”

  1. Clare Flourish Says:

    Hello Nick. I am not sure how much of a throwaway line it is, but when you say “the standards of who one can marry is already the same for everyone, but I fear there is more heat than light on this issue and more are thinking with emotions than reasoning” I do not think that is particularly rational. Straight people may marry those with whom they fall in love, and make love to physically in order to bond. Gay people may not.

    You see, when you suggest that gay people can marry already, I wonder if you really do not understand, or whether you are saying we are liars when we say we do not choose our orientation. Why would we lie?

    Or do you think gay people should marry without lovemaking? Consummation is traditionally important in marriage.

  2. apologianick Says:

    Claire. Let’s start with the first objection. I claim everyone has the same rights with marriage.

    Here they are.

    You can marry anyone who meets the following criteria.

    They are of age.
    They are of the opposite sex.
    They are not a close relative.
    They are consenting.
    And you may only marry one person.

    Nowhere in there is “You may marry the person you love.” That’s not a legal requirement. You don’t have the right to marry someone because you love them.

    Which of these is wrong?

    • Clare Flourish Says:

      It is not that they are wrong, but that they are insufficient to define marriage as an institution.

      The question is, why would you? Why would anyone marry? Because they want to commit to another person, for life. This is difficult, and making love helps couples to bond. So, straight people can marry whom they naturally wish to marry, and gay people cannot.

      What you say is true, and irrelevant. To put it another way, straight people can form couples and choose to have their relationship recognised in law, which has certain legal advantages. Gay people can also form couples, but cannot have their relationship recognised in the same way.

      You perplex me. Why are you asserting the opposite?

  3. 1mag0de1 Says:

    hmm, there’s a few points I’d like to make about this. I agree with you that tolerance cannot be considered acceptance, and regardless of whether or not gay marriage is made legal or not, we should claim that the practice is immoral. That being said, I fail to see how gay marriage affects everyone any less than letting Muslims build mosques here and preach false teachings to Christians and non-believers, not to mention children.

    As far as children having a right to a relationship with their natural mother and father, I would agree with that as well. But I wonder if you are equating having a relationship with being raised by. To make the latter a right of children, divorce would have to be made absolutely illegal by the state except, perhaps, for the most dire of circumstances. I’m not certain this is a wise course of action. Even more curious is why there doesn’t seem to be much of a push for such legal action to be taken by Christians, but thats another issue. The thrust of my point here is this, if it is only having a relationship that is the right of children, why couldn’t children have a relationship with their parents while being raised by a gay couple? This seems to happen all the time in the foster care system, only with children being raised by straight couples. Additionally, in most of such cases, the natural parents aren’t raising their children for good reasons.

    Maybe a better argument to make would be to say that children have a right to be raised by a father and a mother. I’ll have to think about that one.

    Last point, I definitely agree with you that those of a socially liberal persuasion have been less than consistent, to say the least, when it comes to tolerance. Dan Savage is one of many proponents of gay marriage who has openly mocked Christians on numerous occasions. Worse, he mocked them for mocking and preaching hate speech at gay people! That doesn’t exactly help his message. But you say this is a danger of tolerance, what do you mean? Do you mean Christians shouldn’t be tolerant, even in the classical sense, if it means permitting behaviors which could undermine Christian influence in our culture?

    • apologianick Says:

      Hi Mag.

      No. I don’t want to see divorce banned, though I want to see it much harder and especially the elimination of no-fault divorce. There are some sad cases where I think divorce is necessary, such as in spousal abuse. No fault divorce changes all of that by siding on the position automatically of the person who wants the relationship to end. Marriage is no longer a covenant then.

      There might be some cases where there is no one else to raise a child but a homosexual couple, but the question is “Which is dispensible in the raising of a child?” Will it be a mother or a father? Already, there are cases on the books of a child being seen as having at least three parents when someone else can in now way be considered a parent. That’s because the presumption of paternity cannot be made that of parentage. I urge you to go to the Ruth Institute. Dr. J is excellent on this topic.

  4. apologianick Says:

    Claire: It is not that they are wrong, but that they are insufficient to define marriage as an institution.

    Reply: BUt I was not defining marriage. I was talking about rights. Your first statement was the rights were not equal. Nowhere is there listed “You have the right to marry the person you love.” If we do that, then there’s no objection to polygamy, incest, marrying a cartoon character, marrying yourself, etc. I just listed the rights of marriage. You have not said any of them are wrong. Therefore, the rights are equal.

    Claire: The question is, why would you? Why would anyone marry? Because they want to commit to another person, for life.

    Reply: Is that why everyone gets married? Some people marry for money. Some people marry for citizenship. Some marriages are arranged. That’s a reason to marry, but is that the reason marriage exists?

    Claire: This is difficult, and making love helps couples to bond. So, straight people can marry whom they naturally wish to marry, and gay people cannot.

    Reply: I see several people who have sex and don’t get married anyway. Seems like they’re able to do it.

    Claire: What you say is true, and irrelevant. To put it another way, straight people can form couples and choose to have their relationship recognised in law, which has certain legal advantages. Gay people can also form couples, but cannot have their relationship recognised in the same way.

    Reply: Question. This assumes that treating things that are equal unequally is wrong. I agree. Yet can you establish that heterosexual sex is equal in every way to homosexual sex? Could there be a difference that matters most?

    Claire: You perplex me. Why are you asserting the opposite?

    Reply: It would help you if you would listen to the reasons for a position before making assertions.

    • Clare Flourish Says:

      Love is not a defining criterion of the legal basis of marriage, it is the reason for it. As you well know. If the legal requirements are met, straight people have the right to marry the person they love. Gay people do not. Therefore, the law does not treat them equally. What part of this do you not understand?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: