Tolerance - My Turn

W. Terry Varner
March 22, 2015

Can society create a national and world climate of tolerance in regard to religion? Religious events are staged where leaders of various world religions, and with contradictory principles of belief, are embracing one another with the claim that all “faiths or religions” are of equal value with God. Is this true biblically? Such is not working in the culture of the world. The killing of atheists and Jews in Paris, the killing of a Jew in Denmark, and the slaughter of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya by Muslims shows the failure that all faiths are equal in the eyes of men, let alone in the eyes of God. Such declarations dumbfound many Christians.

No one desires to appear narrow-minded or bigoted, but we must desire to be faithful to the biblical doctrine of Christianity’s “one faith” ordained by God (cf. Eph. 4:5).

The education I received as a child and through graduate school taught me to respect and recognize other beliefs, practices, quirks, etc., without necessarily agreeing or sympathizing with them. Most of us define the genuine concept of tolerance as everyone has a right to their own opinion. However, the genuine concept of tolerance today, whether taught in our schools or media, is vastly different. Today tolerance means to consider each and every individual’s beliefs, values, worldview, lifestyle, and truth claims as equally valid. The consequence is that all beliefs are equal. All values are equal. All worldviews are equal. All lifestyles are equal. All truth claims are equal. Today’s tolerance demands both praise and endorsement of all beliefs, values, worldview, lifestyle, and truth claims; however, this is not correct thinking!

Let us test the above tolerance claims. The Christian who distributes anti-abortion literature in front of an abortion clinic is not tolerated except to accuse him with intolerance. The Christian who objects to legalizing marijuana (cannabis) is dismissed as intolerant wants of others. The Christian who objects to pornography at the comer store is considered a prude and considered intolerant. Denounce homosexuality and you may be arrested, but you will certainly be considered intolerant. If we oppose same-sex marriage, we are labeled as intolerant. If we own a business and refuse service to same-sex couples, we will put out of business; e.g. baker’s refusing to bake a wedding cake or a florist refusing to sell wedding flowers to a same-sex couple. For the Christian we dare not object to these and like cultural issues. However, the Christian has no choice but to object because these cultural issues will not stand the scrutiny of biblical truth. “Test everything; hold fast what is good” (1 Thess. 5:21).

The popular as well as the academic demand for tolerance in all things involves the rejection of being dogmatic and absolute; i.e. not all things are equally. When we become tolerant of all things, we deny any absolutes and any standard. Christians who have succumbed to this philosophy of life attempt to justify about any and all sinful things. Such tolerance ultimately abolishes the Christian faith in its entirety. It removes the absolutes. The Christian faith is based upon objective, historical facts—the Virgin Birth of Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus are vital, absolute elements to the Christian faith. The Christian faith recognizes and calls things that are sinful, sinful. When we tolerate the denial of these items of truth, and other Christian truths, we are on our way of making the Christian faith or Christianity as lacking truth and substance.

Christians are instructed “to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). “The faith” is not any and all faiths, but the Christian faith. Atheism is the faith of unbelief. Atheism is in total contradiction to the Christian faith. You say, “I do not agree with your reasoning on tolerance.” When you do not agree you are tolerant by today’s definition.