Board index Tolerance

Our culture says it values tolerance, but does it? Let's talk.

Christians are intolerant, but it's not their fault

Postby Newbie » Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:09 pm

noun: tolerance
the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.

noun: respect
a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

I often hear about the attitudes of atheist and their lack of respect. People talk about how everyone should be entitled to different things, that they should not be judged, what have you...

But I believe that people are using words they don't necessarily mean, nice sounding words that seem to insinuate a mutual understanding. To me, it doesn't seem to have any basis in reality.

I tolerate Christianity. People have the freedom in my country to have whatever religion they like and I must not impede on their desires. But I don't need to respect it. I can hate it in fact, but I must, again, be tolerant. I allow for it.

However, to me it seems, Christianity is guilty of intolerance due to the very nature of it's own ideology. Christianity claims to be true and it's ideas about god, life, sin, and salvation to be factual. Not just something that people agree to disagree on, they must live their life based on the reality according to their religion.

The Westboro Baptists are a good example of this, a non-violent yet extremist group of Christians, they will protest against dead children's funerals.

I'm sure this is grotesque to everyone reading it, but it is part of their reality. And their protesting is what affects us because they are part of society and that is their impact. This is the same with all Christians, they live in society and have their impact because they really do have their own religiously based reality.

In conclusion, Christians are automatically intolerant of other people and their religions, or lack of religion, because their religion provides a different set of facts from which they are obligated to operate. Christians must believe God does this or that, that action is a sin, this action is very good, etc etc.

For a Christian to not be intolerant by the virtue of their religion, they would need to place their religious beliefs behind their own private ones, regardless of intent. While this, to me, seems to be what happens on nearly a universal level...it is not something that I can necessarily claim as fact. It could potential be an insult...

Thoughts?
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Re: Christians are intolerant, but it's not their fault

Postby jimwalton » Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:35 pm

First of all, I agree with others that the Westboro baptists aren't a good example of anything positive.

OK, on to tolerance. These thoughts come from the mind of Daniel Taylor:

I think we can all agree that a person has no need to be tolerant of something unless they object to it. I don't tolerate something I accept or I'm indifferent to, because it requires nothing of me. If I agree with it, I don't need to tolerate it. For instance, most social liberals cannot rightfully be said to tolerate homosexual relationships, since they have no objection to it. If you want to know if a liberal is tolerant, ask them about Pat Robertson or George W. Bush.

So if tolerance requires an initial objection, then conservatives, ironically enough, may be much more tolerant than liberals, since there are so many more things to which they object. The least tolerant person is the person who accepts everything, because they don't have to overcome any internal objections to show respect.

Now, if tolerance requires an initial objection, it also implies withheld power. if I would stop something if I could, but am powerless to do so, I am not tolerant, merely impotent. True tolerance means I could exercise power to stop it, but voluntarily withhold that power.

Relativism takes the position that we have a multitude of views, values, and practices all around us, and draws the conclusion that there is no justifiable way to choose among them, because truth is merely opinion.

Tolerance, by contrast, objects to those views, has the power to (possibly) stop it, but withholds that power out of respect for the right of the other person to hold that position.

No moral person tolerates everything. There are issues around us—racism, human trafficking, rape, child sexual abuse, economic injustice, exploitation of women—where freedom of expression and justice collide. Given that everyone (I hope) agrees that some things should NOT be tolerated, the real issue should not be whether one is tolerant or intolerant, but what's included on one's list.

Thus conservative Christians may possibly be the most tolerant people in our country, because of the objections Christians have to the direction and expressions of the culture, and yet Christians show considerable respect for those who hold those positions, despite their disagreement.

Now back to some of my own thoughts. Christianity, then, is not guilty of intolerance due to the nature of its own ideology. They subscribe to truth as it is revealed in the Bible, and think that those who believe otherwise are holding on to falsehood, and yet we live next to each other in harmony all across the nation. Christians, as the Westboro Baptists horridly show, do have the public and social force to protest more than they do, and yet they withhold that action. In conclusion, in total disagreement with you, Christians have shown tremendous tolerance because of the great volume of their internal objections. It's not intolerant to believe that God does this or that, that certain actions are sins, or that other actions are good (as per your definition).

Possibly you are confusing relativism (all beliefs are equally valid) with tolerance (all beliefs are not equally valid, but all people have a right to hold whatever belief they choose). Christians are not relativistic, but they are tolerant.
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Re: Christians are intolerant, but it's not their fault

Postby Newbie » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:52 pm

"First of all, I agree with others that the Westboro baptists aren't a good example of anything positive."

Seems to be, Christians aren't a fan...sad. Jesus hung out with sinners.

"OK, on to tolerance. These thoughts come from the mind of Daniel Taylor: I think we can all agree that a person has no need to be tolerant of something unless they object to it. I don't tolerate something I accept or I'm indifferent to, because it requires nothing of me. If I agree with it, I don't need to tolerate it. For instance, most social liberals cannot rightfully be said to tolerate homosexual relationships, since they have no objection to it. If you want to know if a liberal is tolerant, ask them about Pat Robertson or George W. Bush."

Well, if you are a Christian and you follow the theology, there is a list of things you aren't supposed to tolerate.

"So if tolerance requires an initial objection, then conservatives, ironically enough, may be much more tolerant than liberals, since there are so many more things to which they object. The least tolerant person is the person who accepts everything, because they don't have to overcome any internal objections to show respect."

aight

"Now, if tolerance requires an initial objection, it also implies withheld power. if I would stop something if I could, but am powerless to do so, I am not tolerant, merely impotent. True tolerance means I could exercise power to stop it, but voluntarily withhold that power."

Since when were you personally powerless over everything in your life?

"Relativism takes the position that we have a multitude of views, values, and practices all around us, and draws the conclusion that there is no justifiable way to choose among them, because truth is merely opinion."

Well, relativism isn't part of Christianity...soooo we are way off base.

"Tolerance, by contrast, objects to those views, has the power to (possibly) stop it, but withholds that power out of respect for the right of the other person to hold that position. No moral person tolerates everything. There are issues around us—racism, human trafficking, rape, child sexual abuse, economic injustice, exploitation of women—where freedom of expression and justice collide. Given that everyone (I hope) agrees that some things should NOT be tolerated, the real issue should not be whether one is tolerant or intolerant, but what's included on one's list."

mkay

"Thus conservative Christians may possibly be the most tolerant people in our country, because of the objections Christians have to the direction and expressions of the culture, and yet Christians show considerable respect for those who hold those positions, despite their disagreement."

Tolerant in that they ignore their theology and just kinda chillax...yes

"Now back to some of my own thoughts. Christianity, then, is not guilty of intolerance due to the nature of its own ideology. They subscribe to truth as it is revealed in the Bible, and think that those who believe otherwise are holding on to falsehood, and yet we live next to each other in harmony all across the nation. Christians, as the Westboro Baptists horridly show, do have the public and social force to protest more than they do, and yet they withhold that action. In conclusion, in total disagreement with you, Christians have shown tremendous tolerance because of the great volume of their internal objections. It's not intolerant to believe that God does this or that, that certain actions are sins, or that other actions are good (as per your definition)."

I don't think you get it. A Catholic who doesn't have a problem with abortion is someone indifferent to murder, as his theology states. They are putting their person beliefs ahead of their religiously based reality. That's what I'm saying. Christians, on a whole, are very tolerant today. It's because they lost the battle with modernity and now most Christians ignore their theology and just do whatever they think they should.

"Possibly you are confusing relativism (all beliefs are equally valid) with tolerance (all beliefs are not equally valid, but all people have a right to hold whatever belief they choose). Christians are not relativistic, but they are tolerant."

Nope...you are missing my point.
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Re: Christians are intolerant, but it's not their fault

Postby jimwalton » Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:11 pm

Sorry that I missed your point. Hm. I'll take another run at it.

> sad. Jesus hung out with sinners.

Yep, he sher did, but he also let the religious hypocrites know he didn't agree with them and, as a matter of fact, he reserved his harshest words for them.

> if you are a Christian and you follow the theology, there is a list of things you aren't supposed to tolerate.

Nope. You misunderstand completely. There's a lot that Christians object to, but we are supposed to tolerate. In Romans 5.12, Paul wrote, "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?"

> Since when were you personally powerless over everything in your life?

I'm not. Being powerless is completely different from possessing power and yet voluntarily withholding it, which is what I said. I'm sensing you missed my point entirely. If I'm angry at you, and I have a loaded gun in my hands, standing 6 feet away from you, who are unarmed, and instead of pulling the trigger I think better of what I'm about to do, that's quite a different matter from being in a position of powerlessness.

> Tolerant in that they ignore their theology and just kinda chillax

I guess you need to explain. You keep throwing this out as a sarcastic point, but you never expound on it. I've told you tolerance is perfectly in keeping with Christian theology, so I need some points, some evidence, or something to explain. Cheap shots don't make for good conversation.

> A Catholic who doesn't have a problem with abortion is someone indifferent to murder...

Right. That's where you're misunderstanding. Let's try to sort it out, because I think there are several things going on here. I agree with you that a Catholic who doesn't have a problem with abortion is indifferent to murder, have for all intents and purposes renounced the import of their faith, and are what the Bible calls carnal. Jesus said in Matt. 7.21 that not everyone who calls Jesus "Lord" with their lips really belong to him, but only the ones who do his will (love, trust, and obey him). I didn't get that you were talking about religious hypocrites—that would change the conversation entirely. I thought you were talking about sincere, faithful, and godly people. Those are the ones I was talking about, so maybe with that clarification you might want to go back and re-read what I said in that light. But if you were only talking about religious hypocrites and people who couldn't care less, than your question is sort of absurd and misleading, and everything I said doesn't apply. Of course religious hypocrites are intolerant, compromising, and relativistic. If you want to talk about genuine Christians of genuine faith, then that's where my comments come in.
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Re: Christians are intolerant, but it's not their fault

Postby Michael » Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:03 pm

If you believe that Christ is god and that his preachments are to be upheld, then doing anything but following them is hypocrisy.

If you didn't come on here and argue with people. If you didn't present yourself as a Christian in public. if you didn't support the religion openly...then your own beliefs would be private and of no one else's business.

No one could fault you for that.

But that's not Christianity.

You HAVE to spread the word of Jesus. It's compulsory.

So you spread the word, tell other people what is right...and then don't actually follow the preachments.

Hence...hypocrite.
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Re: Christians are intolerant, but it's not their fault

Postby jimwalton » Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:14 pm

See, I'm glad you said those things. I disagree with your implied definition of hypocrisy. A hypocrite is a pretender, an impersonator, a mask-wearer. That's very different than someone who believes Christ is God and that his teaching is to obeyed, but failing at that. I don't pretend to be something I'm not. I'm quite public about my inadequacies and failures, never posing as perfect or even "got it all together." But Jesus' main point even goes beyond that. The hypocrisy described in the Bible is that of using God and the things of God as a means to some other end. My imperfections and failures, and even my disobediences don't make me a hypocrite. Pretending that I have none of those things is, though. Hypocrisy is pretense, not weakness.
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Re: Christians are intolerant, but it's not their fault

Postby Michael » Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:13 pm

If you pretend to hold a belief that you do in fact not, then you are by defintion a hypocrite.

If you claim to hold a belief...and then go against it...what does that then mean? That you both agree and disagree with the belief? How is that possible?
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Re: Christians are intolerant, but it's not their fault

Postby jimwalton » Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:16 pm

Hm. Did you read my post? Hypocrisy is a facade, not a failure. You're right that if I pretend to hold a belief that I do in fact not hold, I am a hypocrite. That's what hypocrisy is. But if I hold a belief and then go against it, that's different. I do, in fact, hold the belief. I may be weak, rebellious, or disobedient, but I'm not a hypocrite unless I put up a false front that I am not weak, rebellious, or disobedient.
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Re: Christians are intolerant, but it's not their fault

Postby Michael » Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:41 pm

So if I said that I believe Jesus was god, and then I went and prayed at a Hindu temple...what is that? It's a failure?
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Re: Christians are intolerant, but it's not their fault

Postby jimwalton » Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:42 pm

That's contradictory, for sure. It's certainly against the teaching of the Bible, and most likely contradictory to Hinduism as well. It's hard for me to judge, because I don't have more of the picture. It's syncretistic. It's compromise. I can't agree that it's outright hypocrisy because I don't have more of what's happening. I'm not trying to be difficult or evasive; I just can't evaluate a scene by looking through a keyhole.
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