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.