Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Intolerance of Tolerance

My goal in these posts (really the purpose of this blog) is to reflect aloud the meditations of my heart. By doing that I hope to learn Godly truths, work through the difficulties of the faith, and see the relationship with my Savior strengthened. Only He can draw me closer to Him; and I pray He will produce fruit in my life.

This week, I'm going to talk myself through the following objection to the faith:


"How can you say Christianity is true and other religions are false?!"


Well, the easy answer is "because I can!" (Not trying to sound pompous).

And by this I mean I am logically justified in making this argument. Logic tells us that 'A' and 'not A' cannot both be true. Yet we still get the comment above from people who say we are being intolerant by calling others wrong. We all hold to our own opinions for one reason: we think they are true. Why would we believe them if we didn't think they were true?

In fact, that person is telling me that I am wrong in regards to my belief that I think I am right. Right there they are violating their own definition of tolerance.

When someone uses the word intolerant, the first thing I need to do is ask them what they mean by the word.  It is important that I pay close attention to their definition. If their answer implies the idea that 'saying someone elses views are wrong' is intolerant, I will need to clarify with them the fallacy in their argument.

Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason explains how "tolerance is being courteous of another persons viewpoint, no matter what the view, not that all views have merit."

Saying that by disagreeing with someone's view I am being intolerant is completely absurd. In fact, tolerance implies an opposing view. If they held the same view, there would be no need to 'put up' with it! We would be in agreement! Tolerance implies a disagreement by definition.

I must be careful of 'strategically' used words like 'tolerance' and 'respect,' which no longer hold the same classical meaning in conversations these days. These words are used strategically so that the accuser is able to hide behind the accusation. If I take their respopnse at face value and buy in to their idea of tolerance I will quickly find myself far from the truth of my own faith; for how could I call myself loving and tolerant but say everyone elses views are false? They make it seem so horrible.

Just remember: WE CANNOT BOTH BE RIGHT! We can both be wrong, or one be wrong and one right. But in order to be intellectually honest, they have to admit this fact.

Chuck Colson said of this postmodern mindset: "Tolerance has become so important that no exception is tolerated."

That captures the fallacious ideology perfectly!

Lastly, and most importantly, I must remember to be Christ-honoring and respectful in my discussions (1 John 3:15-16). And remember what Paul said in 2 Cor 10:5, "We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God. "

I need to be ready to answer these questions when they come up. And if I'm doing my job, they will!

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