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Religious Toleration

Updated on November 11, 2016
GodTalk profile image

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.


The Redefining of Tolerance

In today's day and age, it is politically correct to be tolerant of all religious beliefs. If tolerance means that you respect people of other religions and respect their right to believe what they believe, as I would hope they would respect me, then we have no problems. However, what I have a problem with is the fact that the word tolerance has been redefined. This word used to mean: "bearing or putting up with someone or something not especially liked." However, now it means that all values, all beliefs, all lifestyles , and all truth claims are equal." So Christians, and others, who believe that there is absolute truth, and there are absolute values, are considered intolerant.

I. The Absurdity of the New Tolerance

The new definition of intolerance is both absurd and self-refuting. First, of all, those who reject Christianity and want them to change their belief system to become more tolerant are showing a bias against the Christian belief in absolute truth. They are not seeing the Christian belief as equal, and are themselves intolerant of the believer in Jesus Christ

Secondly, if all religions equally speak the truth, then all truth is relative. And it is illogical to think this when no one, including the relativist, lives like that. The very statement: "All truth is relative" is an absolute statement of belief, which again is self-refuting. There must be at least one absolute truth if that is the case; that is the absolute truth that all truth is relative.

By calling all truth relative, I'm saying that what I believe to be the truth is true because I believe it. However, what you believe, even though it may be the exact opposite of my belief, is true as well, because you believe it. If you're confused at this point, don't feel bad. Anyone with a little common sense, and who hasn't been brained washed by the new tolerance, sees that this makes absolutely no sense.

To say that my belief that there is one life, at the end of which is a judgment by a holy God, is equal to someone else's belief that people are reincarnated and have many lives, is crazy. Either I am right, they are right, or neither one of us is right. However, we cannot both be right.

II. Truth does Not Equal Intolerance

Christianity believes in absolute truth. Jesus Himself said: "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). And the Christian religion is based upon certain truth claims. It is a belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that He came to this earth to save us from the sin that separates us from a Holy God. He lived a perfect life that we couldn't live. Then He died on the cross as our substitute. God the Father raised Him from the dead, showing His acceptance of that sacrifice. Further, Jesus promised that He will return again as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and all who believe in Him will live eternally with Him. If that is true, then anything contrary to that truth has to be false. It isn't intolerance, it's simply fact.

You might call me deluded, or crazy but believing that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven isn't any more intolerant than it would be to tell you that the United States has 50 states. No matter what anyone else believes to be the truth, the United States continues to have 50 states. Truth does not equal intolerance.

I'm not saying that Christians have never been intolerant. People, in the name of Christ, have done unspeakable things. I think of the Crusades, for instance. But that doesn't come from the teachings of Christ. It was a corruption of that teaching.


In our culture, it is becoming harder and harder to stand for what we believe. To stand for truth means that we'll be called bigoted and intolerant. Sadly, those who teach tolerance for all religions, are almost, without exception, intolerant of the teaching of creation and the absolutes of Christianity. They cannot tolerate that God has told us that there are things that are right and things that are wrong.

What these people really want is to do what is right in their own eyes. They want to throw out the God of the Bible because it will allow them to do what they want to do without consequences.

We, who believe that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, must continue to uphold that truth, no matter what may happen in our society. We must speak it in love, but by all means, speak it. Because if we don't, no one else will. And if the new tolerance wins, real tolerance disappears from our society, and we all lose.


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    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      8 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      Thank you for reading and for linking your hub to mine. I just read it and thought that you did a good job. Keep up the good work. God bless.

    • Logos831 profile image


      8 years ago from somewhere, ca

      Great hub! I wrote on a similar topic recently- moral relativism here:

      I will link your hub to mine. I like lifegate's description of how the differences of Christianity to other religions is a real standout and testimony to its uniqueness. One analogy I learned from Stand to Reason is this: say you have two small white tablets. They're both white, round, and the same size. But one is arsenic and one is aspirin. It's not the similarities that matter, it's the difference.

    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      8 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      Thanks Lifegate for your insights, and for stopping by.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      8 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Out of all the thousands of religions in the world they all have one thing in common except Christianity. That commonality is they must all work to earn the favor of their god. Christianity is the only "religion" (I prefer the word relationship) where God reached out to His creation.

      For sure Christianity would seem to be in the minority, but when you consider the contradictions between other religions (hell exists--hell doesn't exist; one god--many gods; etc.) like you said, they can't be all right. It's that single difference in Christianity that is absolute Truth and stands alone among the world's religions. Thanks for sharing.

    • GodTalk profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Shirley 

      8 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      Thanks for the compliment. And I agree that Christianity is not the only religion that makes truth claims. But once again it comes down to asking who is right. The new tolerance would say that they both are equally valid. There simply cannot be competing truths. If one is true, the other has to be false.

      I can accept the fact that the other person believes it to be true. And I can accept the fact that they are probably just as sincere in their beliefs as I am. But if Christianity is true then that makes other religions sincerely wrong.

      This is where true toleration comes in. I bear, or put up with a religion that I don't particularly like because it goes against the truth of God. But I simply cannot say that what they believe is good. I love them, despite our disagreements and treat them with the dignity of a fellow human being created in the image of God.

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 

      8 years ago from Tennesee

      This is a well thought out and written opinion piece and I applaud that. But I also know that there have been many religious texts written throughout the course of time and all of them propose that the path to Truth and Light may be found in the words and example of their god(s). And I believe this is something we must all accept if we are to ever expect acceptance from others.

    • pennyofheaven profile image


      8 years ago from New Zealand

      I respect all living things people included. That respect is naturally arising and is not contingent on any belief system one might or might not have nor is it contingent on a way in which one chooses to live their life. Accepting people as they are is respecting them. Not sure if that is the old tolerance definition? If more people accept people as they are then mankind would be better for it.


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