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Is Christianity Intolerant?

Updated on July 5, 2015
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I am a Christian pastor who wishes to bring glory to God in all that I do, and to help people through my writing to know Him better.

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Tolerance Out of Control

Tolerance, according to a popular dictionary is: "The ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with." To tolerate simply means you accept the existence of different views: to recognize other people's right to have different beliefs or practices without attempting to suppress them.

Some have called Christianity intolerant simply because we believe in absolute truth and that there is a universal morality that should apply to everyone. That absolute value system applies to everyone because all mankind was created in the image of a holy God and He is the judge of what is right and wrong.

Others call Christianity intolerant because of our belief that there is only one way to heaven. Jesus has said: "I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the father except through me" (John 14:6). Most other religions teach a form of works salvation, in order to become good enough to make it to whatever eternal state they believe in. Christians believe that no man can work his way to Heaven. It is only by God's grace, through faith in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross (Ephesians 2:8,9).

However, do these beliefs make a person intolerant? Or has the definition of intolerance changed over the past few decades? Let us examine this.

I. Tolerance Redefined

In our "politically correct" culture, the word tolerance has taken on a whole new meaning. Instead of simply recognizing other people's rights to have different beliefs without suppressing them, even though we don't recognize them as truth, now we have to accept their "truth" as equal with our own. We are in a society in which all truth is relative. Right and wrong change according to public opinion. Now all values, all beliefs and all lifestyles are equal. And if you don't accept them as such you are intolerant.

So under the new meaning of intolerance, any religion that espouses absolute truth would be seen as an intolerant religion. But these people are self-refuting. And their logic is skewed. For if all belief is equal, then a Christian believer has just as much right to speak about and practice his religious beliefs as anyone else. I like what Josh McDowell had to say in an article he wrote: He tells us:

" If these 'tolerance' advocates reject Christianity, then they are not treating this belief as 'equal'. So, in practice, to paraphrase George Orwell in Animal Farm, all beliefs are equal, but some beliefs are more equal than others. The result is extreme intolerance towards Christianity from people who talk so much about tolerating all views. In short, they are intolerant of intolerance, so logically they should be intolerant of themselves!" (From an article entitled: The New Tolerance by Josh McDowell).


II. Intolerance in Disguise

Such is the plight of all evangelical Christians who believe all truth comes from the God of the Bible, and who believe that He has created the universe and set the rules. The Judeo-Christian beliefs that once were used to govern our society, that have lead to one of the most free, powerful and prosperous societies that has ever existed, are now being belittled dismissed and maligned.
The truth is that nearly every lifestyle and belief system under the Sun is tolerated except Christianity. The Bible has been taken out of the public schools and kids can't even say "Bless you" without being docked points in at least one classroom in California. That is equally true in some workplaces. One woman was fired for saying: "Have a blessed day" to customers. Other schools and businesses are banning students and workers from saying: "Merry Christmas."

Further, there are various groups trying to get all religious symbols, particularly Christian symbols, out of public places all together. For instance, a group called Americans United for the Separation of Church and State have advocated that things like crosses and other religious symbols be banned.

Conclusion

While we should not conclude that Christians have never been intolerant, in the traditional sense of the word, neither should we stand idly by and let the "new tolerance" movement paint us into a corner with their views and their seeming agenda against us.

We believers need to repent of the times that we have not recognized and allowed others to have an opinion, wrong though it may be. The same free country that has allowed us to have our freedom of religion for more than two centuries should indeed allow it for everyone.

However, we must also do all in our power to make sure the freedoms we have known continue for centuries to come, if the Lord tarry. In order to do that, we must realize that we are where we are at this time in history because our nation has drifted away from the God who brought us into existence and has given to us this great republic. Let us who call on the name of the Lord pray for repentance and healing of this great country of ours. And may the Lord, in His mercy, save us from the new intolerance that is now sweeping our land.


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    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      3 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      Thank you but you have cut out a vast majority of the Bible that Jesus Himself espoused in coming up with your theory. I could never consider it.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 

      3 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      Thank you for publishing my submission. The purpose of Hubpages is for discussion. I prefer not to debate, but to discuss. Now that you have been kind enough to publish the theory: God does not condemn, but forgives, the readers may judge. I ask you to think and reconsider the proposed theory. I will leave you in peace now.

    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      3 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      Mr. Obrien: You are quite persistent. I don't want to keep debating you because clearly you have your own private views of the Bible that don't seem to come clearly from the Scriptures themselves. If you just read what Jesus said about the Old Testament it is clear that what He thought of it and your views are entirely different. But it seems that you have your mind made up on the subject and are not open to further discussion. Anything else that I could say would just lead you to the further dissemination of what I believe to be totally erroneous views of the Bible, and I don't want you to use this Hub to do this. If you want to debate someone, why don't ask a forum question? That seems to be a better place for such things. God bless.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 

      3 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      God does not condemn, but heals with forgiveness. The Old Testament (OT) was written by Rabbis who teach of (1) Gods’ judgment and (2) a remitting sacrifice. Both of these theories are wrong.

      Jesus did not condemn

      Refer to the teachings of Jesus in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) and the Adulteress (John 8:4). In neither story did the father (or Jesus) condemn the person. He did Not judge. The father ran to his son and welcomed him before the son said a word.

      The adulteress said nothing to Jesus and He said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again." Repentance had nothing to do with the story.

      Let us follow the God of Jesus, not the God depicted in Judaism (Old Testament). To be Christian one must renounce the God of the OT (wrathful, warlike, killer of children), the God of Israel.

      We will be judged, but not by the Rabbis. We will be judged by our own projections in a mirror held by God. It is Not God who will judge us, but ourselves. Stop projecting vengeance and anger and you will not be judged.

      See the Book of Joshua. It is the word of the Rabbis (not God) who insist they have been chosen and have a divine right to kill women and children, but be protected by God. The Rabbis also claim their land becomes Holy because they kill for it. The Rabbis wrote the OT, particularly Joshua, to justify their genocide of the Canaanites.

      Sacrifice has never removed sin.

      The Rabbis also wrote the Sacrifice Theory. Originally there was animal sacrifice to remove sin. Now, the Judeo-Christians teach a blood sacrifice of Jesus to remove sin. The problem is, sacrifice does not and has never removed sin. Therefore the death of Jesus did not directly remove sin.

      Sin is in the mind in the form of negative emotions. These negative emotions may be manifested in a sinful act. Sin occurs due to condemnation of others. Therefore avoid condemning others, as Jesus taught. If you have condemned to the point of creating negative emotions, then learn to forgive. Forgiveness is the way we heal.

      The death of Jesus did not directly remove sin; however it was needed for the resurrection. It is the resurrection from the dead which proves an afterlife actually exists. He could not come back from nothing. A place or condition must first exist before there can be a return. If one accepts the resurrections of Jesus, the afterlife or spirit is proved. Once the spirit is proved we should act according to the teachings of Jesus. Until the resurrection there was no objective reason to believe in a spirit at all.

    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      3 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      First of all, Jesus was a Jew in his humanity and he saw no contradiction between his message of love and the Old Testament Holy God of wrath against sin. He even said that the Old Testament Scriptures testify of him (John 5:39). Secondly, the Old Testament Scriptures do not see two different Gods. God is a God of judgment against sin as well as a loving God of mercy and grace. The Old Testament showed, that even with the law given by God, man cannot save himself. And it demonstrated the fact that God cannot accept sinful man. The sin question which began in Genesis 3, had to be addressed. Jesus, the perfect God-man became the perfect sacrifice for sin to which all the Old Testament sacrifices were looking forward.

      I cannot write a whole book here, but the Old Covenant demonstrated the need for the New Covenant where God's laws would be written on man's heart, and man could become a new creature in Christ.

      The New Testament and the Old do not contradict each other at all. They fit together perfectly as the complete story of God's redemption of man from start to finish. Further, there are many examples of grace and mercy in the Old Testament, just as there are examples of God's perfect judgment and His holy wrath against sin in the New.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 

      3 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      OK, now I am going to say something and I hope you will follow it. I apologize in advance.

      You wrote:

      "The Judeo-Christian beliefs that once were used to govern our society, that have lead to one of the most free, powerful and prosperous societies that has ever existed, are now being belittled dismissed and maligned."

      I have a problem with idea of, "Judeo-Christianity."

      Judaism is in the Old Testament (OT) and written and controlled by the Rabbis.

      The Rabbis (OT) teach a God described as intolerant, wrathful, jealous and a killer. All as you have described in your statements.

      Jesus (NT) teaches a God of compassion, tolerance, peaceful, forgiving and non-condemning. The NT contradicts the OT in the description of the ideal/God. God cannot be both, but one or the other, therefore Judeo-Christianity cannot exist.

      Choose the OT or the NT concept of God. God has not changed. Choose the Rabbis or Jesus.

    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      3 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      Thanks for replying. I know what passages you cited. They are simply more verses taken out of context and you did not even address the verses I was talking about in my Hub. These verses don't contradict a thing I said about Jesus' plain teaching there.

      The parable of the Prodigal son is the story of God's forgiveness and continued love of his children who have wandered astray and have come back to Him in repentance. And the story of the woman caught in adultery was again a jab at the hypocritical Pharisees who were condemning this poor woman when they had sin of their own to repent of. You notice that Jesus doesn't just say "Neither do I condemn you" and leave it at that. He says "Go and sin no more." A clear judgment that what she had done was a sin that needed repentance. The word repentance has the meaning of turning around and going in the opposite direction from what you had previously been doing. He was telling her that she should not sin in this manner again. So, you simply cannot use these passages to prove the point you were making. Thanks again.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 

      3 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      No... I cited what Jesus said.

      Prodigal son story begins at Luke 15:11...But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around hi and kissed him....

      The father welcomed the son back with no condemnation.

      Adulteress story John 8:4...

      8:11 Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.

      Jesus is teaching us not to condemn. This is my main point.

    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      3 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      Mr. OBrien: You clearly have taken your understanding of judgment out of context. Jesus did indeed judge sin while on earth. And the sin he hated the most was the sin of hypocrisy. Jesus called the Pharisees "white washed Sepulchures" because of that very thing. The passage you are referring to about not judging is taken from the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 7. Jesus was condemning those who were hypocritically judging, while at the same time worse than the ones they were accusing of sin. If you want to read my complete thoughts on the issue, I have written a Hub on it. Go to https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Do-not-Ju

      Also, I don't know what your talk on the first amendment has to do with this country becoming more and more intolerant of Christian beliefs. I didn't say that the government was doing it. And I didn't even say that we were being treated as badly as some other parts of the world where the Christians are being ordered to convert or die. However, there is more than enough evidence from the videos I posted that there is intolerance going on. And it could be leading us to a slippery slope down that path toward greater and greater intolerance.

      Finally, you missed the point completely that the definition of intolerance has changed to mean something entirely different than it used to mean. Now, Christians are asked to accept any and all beliefs and lifestyles, or they are considered intolerant. Well we cannot and will not compromise what we believe to be the belief in a standard of right and wrong based upon a God who has given us eternal principles to live by. By the old standard of tolerance, there is no problem with that statement. If by the new we are condemned then so be it. Thanks and God bless.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 

      3 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      Jesus taught not to judge/condemn others. See parable of the prodigal son, Luke 15:11-32 and the story of the Adulteress, John 8:4. In neither case did the father or Jesus condemn the person. We should personally follow Jesus and not condemn. Why? It avoids negative emotions within our own mind.

      The First Amendment applies to the separation of church and state. The Government (which is not an individual) may not promote or detract from any religion. Individuals and groups May promote or detract from a religion... but Not breach the peace.

      If someone believes they have been singled out for persecution, it may be due to a persecution complex. The projection of your own faults onto others is common. Analyze yourself rather than blame others.

    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      3 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      Thanks Bill for stopping by and sharing. I appreciate your faithfulness. Yes Pamela Bush, God does allow all Christian persecution to conform us more to Christ, and I am thinking that the Lord is allowing the Church here in America to experience an infinitely small taste of what our brothers and sisters are experiencing throughout the world. Hopefully, it will wake us up and make us want to fight for our religious freedom here, and pray for those in other lands who are going through so much more persecution than we in America have ever known to this point. Thanks for stopping by. Also, thanks sheilamyers for your comments as well. And no, I haven't read the book that you referenced but will go and buy it soon. Thanks for the tip.

    • Pamela Bush profile image

      howtopam 

      3 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Hi GodTalk;

      We must remember that persecution from the world is ordained for true and faithful believers in Christ Jesus. It is through such offences against Christians that the faithful are proven righteous. Without offence there would be cause for the patient enduring of suffering which causes faith in Him to grow. We Christians know that God is all knowing and all powerful and could intervene at any time to change the world, but He chooses to allow evil to prevail until the members of the body of Christ (the church) have been proven and become fully mature. We can learn from the apostles Paul and James who tell us that we should count it all JOY to suffer for Him.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Another spot-on hub, Brother. Voted up and shared. The videos made the point, too.

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