Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Tolerance 2.0

We live in a religious climate in which atheists can be Protestant ministers. One in which the so-called Bishop of Rome insists the Koran is just as valid as the Bible and that Allah is the “same entity” as Jesus Christ. A climate in which the ordination of women is accepted, the LGBT community embraced and the performance of same-sex marriages commonplace.

Tolerance is the sine qua non of the new Christendom; its most indispensable ingredient.

Of course, the way words are used these days has little connection to etymology. The word “tolerance” found its way into the English language from the Latin tolleo, and originally carried the sense of putting up with or supporting something with which one did not agree. In progressive-speak, Tolerance 2.0 means something quite different, denoting the celebration of habits and values which had until quite recently been considered morally repulsive.

Thus it is wholly inadequate for the head of Roman Catholicism to say that Christians ought to live and let live where Islam is concerned; rather, Tolerance 2.0 requires he equate Christ and Allah, and to elevate the Koran to the level of holy writ.

It doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves from time to time that the Lord Jesus and his apostles were not at all tolerant in this second sense:
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
— Jesus Christ, from the Sermon on the Mount

“I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door.”
— Jesus Christ, to the Pharisees

“There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
— Paul, to Timothy
Oh, don’t get me wrong: in the original sense of the word, believers “tolerate” much in society around us for the sake of the gospel. We put up with many things that are repulsive to our new natures (or that ought to be) in the interest of sharing the truth with others. In its relationship with the world, Christianity may be said to be the most truly tolerant of all belief systems, since it recognizes that people cannot be forced into heaven. It acknowledges that deliverance from hell cannot be achieved by anything but personal agreement. Catholics can have inquisitions: Protestantism, rightly understood, cannot. You cannot force a man to believe.

But where it matters, Christian faith is intolerant to the core. It demands the rejection of values and behaviors that are most natural and comfortable to fallen man, and the assumption of responsibilities and ways of thinking that are foreign to the world.

Judgment begins with the house of God. Discernment should too.


  1. Yes, I am also not comfortable with Pope Francis' display of misplaced tolerance. Mutual respect can be achieved in other, more valid, and more honest ways as well. Unfortunately, his excessive attempt at mutual tolerance does actually detract from his attempt since it suggest that the other party cannot be relied upon to have respectful disagreements with your own position. This then identifies you indeed as having non-Christian uncharitable values. You would expect a man of this intellectual caliber to realize that the importance of any religious message is determined by how it is lived out and that Islam sadly lacks in that respect (and so does any other religion by comparison to Christ's teaching and example).

    With regard to the Catholic Church and coercing faith in the Middle Ages I think you have a biased view since, if it had been Protestants in those days it would have happened the same way. Think about the settling of the USA. That kind of thing simply once more illustrates the term "fallen" with regard to humanity.

    1. Wracking my brain trying to recall where I said anything about the Middle Ages and Rome coercing faith ... but I agree with you that institutional Protestantism has rarely covered itself with glory.

    2. Wrack no more.

      I consider this to be the Middle Ages.

      Inquisition time period (Wikipedia)
      The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition (Spanish: Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición), commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition (Inquisición española), was established in 1480 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile.