Friday, April 27, 2012

Christian Tolerance is not the Last Defense of the Secular Humanist

by Randy Pope

[Editor's note: this article was originally published March 23, 2012]

Americans have learned to be offended at the drop of a hat today. Last week you learned that the First Amendment to the Constitution does not protect you from offense proceeding from religious assertions of absolute truth. Today's contrast of the traditional Christian doctrine of tolerance with the Liberal Pluralist's doctrine of tolerance will shatter the remaining defenses of a godless society against the truth of God.
You may not believe that immodest dress, pornography or homosexuality are sins, but one's believing or not believing something as truth or not does not make it so. Therefore that is a question for another paper on another day. Today you will simply discover that the traditional Christian doctrine of tolerance does not protect you from assertions that may offend you, made by Christians.
The Government school system, teamed with liberal media and politicians, and ignorant or spineless conservative politicians, have taught you that tolerance is assigning equal value to every belief system whether it can be reconciled to your own or not. In other words you must not criticize others for wearing a thong or bikini in public even though it cannot be reconciled with your belief that revealing one's body in that manner violates God's explicit command from scripture to dress modestly. The absurdity of this doctrine is revealed with a radical illustration that follows logically from the assertion. If the assertion is right you must not criticize Cannibals for eating people even if you believe that Cannibalism is wrong.
Regardless of whether the new doctrine of tolerance is absurd or not, the real question is, what is the traditional Christian doctrine of tolerance. It must be admitted that tolerance of other belief systems is a Christian virtue. The question is what should that tolerance look like? Put most simply, a Christian must treat everyone with equal respect, whether they believe them to be right or wrong.
Respect for your fellow man does not include a kind of libertarian freedom to do everything that he wishes to do. It does not even mean that you must “live and let live”, allowing every activity that does not harm someone else. In fact the subjectiveness of the term harm is the cause of the loss of much freedom that would be reclaimed if the American society would once again bow its knee to the objective law of God.
Christian respect includes kindness to those whom you disagree with, while maintaining a belief in the superiority of the truth of God's commands. Therefore Christians should maintain for the triumph of Biblical truth in all arenas, but they must contend for that victory with kindness, respecting his opponent's right to be wrong. In other words in the battle for God's kingdom he may not always convince his opponent of the rightness of his position, and he may not always win the battle, but he must always contend faithfully for the truth, and he must always engage the enemy as a gentleman.

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