Is Tolerance Intolerant?

I was engaged in an online conversation regarding the matter of homosexual ‘marriage.’ This is a matter in which many are involved. It is interesting to see how people today are quick to demonize anyone with a differing view. Tolerance is not holding the same view as everyone else. That is called agreement. In order to exercise tolerance, I must hold a view that is different than somebody else. No, I’m not evil if my views are not your views. In fact, if they were, that might make for some one-sided dialogue.

Below is a response I wrote regarding a perceived “tolerance infraction”:

I want to set the record straight that I do not believe homosexuality is an abomination. According to the Bible, God says homosexuality is an abomination. He says the same about lying and a litany of other transgressions. Do I think homosexuality is wrong? Absolutely. Do I believe that people should be able to conduct their lives as they see fit? Unquestionably. But I believe people deserve informed consent so that they may act accordingly.

One issue I do have is the requisition of the term “marriage.” I believe as the Bible dictates. It says marriage is between one man and one woman. Though I disagree, I would be more comfortable with calling a homosexual union something else. The term ‘union’ would work nicely. As for me, it doesn’t matter what it is called as long as it is not marriage. I sincerely believe that marriage is a representation of the relationship between Jesus Christ (the Bridegroom) and the Church (the Bride). This is very sacred to me. So is my marriage to my wife of many years.

If part of the issue pertains to affording homosexual couples the same benefits that married heterosexual couples enjoy, the laws need to be changed so that both groups are on equal ground. Another option is to strip benefits from heterosexual partners.

A possible solution is this: the Church abandons the term ‘marriage’ in favor of a term that accurately defines the nature of the relationship in a God honoring way. Call it a covenantal union or something. I’m not terribly concerned over semantics. I just know that a heterosexual marriage is not the same as a homosexual ‘marriage.’ As much as we try to reshape our perceptions in the name of equality, it doesn’t change the fact that they aren’t equal. Sure, we can pass laws and we can aggressively prosecute Christians who don’t get with the program, but nothing is changed. A homosexual ‘marriage’ is not endorsed by God. Nor will He ever endorse it. I’m not saying this to be mean, but declaring something as true doesn’t make it so. Though a zebra looks similar to a horse, it still is a zebra.

There was a time where I wouldn’t protest. Not because I thought it was the right thing to do. I just didn’t care. I also didn’t care about abortion or really anything else. I was an unregenerate who looked out for himself. I’m still a sinner, but I have repented of my previous life and put my trust in Jesus.

I know many people think it’s mean to tell others that they are wrong. Some behave as if it is evil to use the “w” word. The fact is that it is the opposite. Believe it or not, atheist Penn Teller helped me understand that. Regarding a particular proselytizer he said, “If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell…how much do you have to hate someone to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” That sums it up quite nicely. It’s okay to tell people they’re wrong in the spirit of love. Not some sappy sentimental love, but a godly love that genuinely cares for people and their eternal souls. In John 14:15, Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” He determined this was so important He repeated this twice in the same chapter. To emphasize, He followed with, “Whoever does not love me does not keep my words.” (John 14:24 ESV)

I don’t want anyone to go to hell, but if someone lives an unrepentant lifestyle, the Bible is clear that hell will be his destination. Those are harsh words, and if I was in danger of hell, I would rather hear the truth now than find out when I’m standing in judgment.

I’m sure it’s my turn to hear that I’m wrong. That is okay. Disagreement is not synonymous with hatred. It seems that people use the terms interchangeably. I hear people trying to enforce tolerance through intolerance. Maybe someone redefined ‘tolerance’ when I was sleeping, but to be tolerant of something, there must be some incongruity. If you like cheeseburgers and I don’t, as long as we don’t punch each other in the nose, we are being tolerant of each other. If I try to coerce you into forsaking cheeseburgers through litigation or other means, I’m being intolerant. I see the Tolerance/Intolerance Paradox in the world today. Some homosexuals demand tolerance while being intolerant of some Christians’ perceived intolerance. I can’t speak for everyone, but as for me, speaking against homosexuality (or whatever sin happens to be the flavor of the month) isn’t me trying to throw my weight around. I’m a wretched sinner like everyone else. I’m speaking out against the sin, not the sinner. I do so out of genuine concern for others’ salvation. I wish we didn’t live in a broken world. I’m compelled by my faith to warn of the real danger of sin. I do so out of love for my Savior, not out of hatred for my fellow man.

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5 thoughts on “Is Tolerance Intolerant?”

  1. “Tolerance is not holding the same view as everyone else. That is called agreement. In order to exercise tolerance, I must hold a view that is different than somebody else”

    BINGO! I think that is the important piece that many people miss today. I am not intolerant because I hold a different view on a matter than you. I am not intolerant when I hold a certain belief or activity to be morally right, while you passionately believe that it is wrong.

    Tolerance answers the question “What happens next?” If I start calling you names or attack your character, or worse, simply because I disagree with your position, then I am being intolerant.

    Those who label others as being intolerant, in my humble opinion, are usually guilty of it themselves!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s true, Jim. In general, the time has passed us by where we can have civil discussions about certain subjects. The call for tolerance seems to be replace the clarion call of “Hatred!!” I wish this could be a topic of civil discourse.

    Like

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