Tuesday, July 8, 2008


"...they have mangled the word 'tolerance' to a degree that is unrecognizable. The first sentence says, 'Americans of every religious stripe are considerably more tolerant of the beliefs of others than most of us might have assumed'. If one were to use the word 'tolerance' correctly it would mean that you would affirm that while you stridently disagree with another person's belief, yet you would defend that person's right to hold that belief, without using some coercive force to change him. It means liberty of conscience. But the way these reporters are using the term makes tolerance itself into a dogma. That is, you HAVE TO believe that all religions are equally right, or you are a bigot." ~ John Hendryx, Evangelical Christians "more tolerant" than Previously Thought (italics mine)

The article that Mr. Hendryx is citing can be found here. I completely agree with the above statement. The word "tolerant" has been twisted to dogmatically mean "you have to believe that none of your beliefs are exclusively true or you are a bigot." How is this "tolerant"? Really this is just doctrine of convincing yourself that there are no doctrines and everyone should be just like you. This is really a very intolerant view, for those who hold it are saying that everyone should be just like them (which usually means dogmatically believing that those who hold to dogmas strongly are bigots), while pretending to be neutral. It is not, however, neutral but it just as exclusive as Christianity, if not more. Under this new definition of tolerance you must exclusively believe that all religions are right to be "tolerant". It is a dogma wrapped in lip service to neutrality.

I agree with Mr. Hendryx, to be truly tolerant one would have beliefs that they hold (as strongly as they wish to hold them), yet also defend the right of another person to disagree with them. I believe it would also include defending the rights of all religions to respectfully attempt to show others why they believe they are correct. The Westminster Confession holds to this kind of tolerance: "It is the duty of civil magistrates to protect the person and good name of all their people, in such an effectual manner as that no person be suffered, either upon pretense of religion or of infidelity, to offer any indignity, violence, abuse, or injury to any other person whatsoever: and to take order, that all religious and ecclesiastical assemblies be held without molestation or disturbance." (23.3)

Tolerance is not holding that everyone should believe that everything is right (which is really just believing in nothing) but holding that everyone has the right to believe what they choose as strongly as they choose without "molestation or disturbance".

By His Grace,

No comments: