In case anybody forgot, conservative* evangelical Christians hold to the same basic tenets of the faith that have been around for 2,000+ years. We will defend those beliefs at all cost, even at the cost of our lives (because Jesus is worth it).
Therefore, this means we believe things that some people–mostly on the Left–find extremely aggravating and repulsive. We believe in the traditional view of marriage (as defined only by God), between one man and one woman; we believe what the Bible teaches about sexuality, gender, and identity; we believe life starts at the moment of conception, which means abortion is murder.
In this day and age, to believe those things classifies you either as an intolerant bigot who wants to discriminate and oppress women or a religious nut-job who doesn’t believe in science and exercises blind faith–or both!
But believing these things doesn’t make us intolerant people.
The big ideological elephant in the room is that the word intolerance has been, as a whole, redefined by the Left. They have taken that word and redefined it as acceptance or approval. If you don’t approve—no, even celebrate!—their views, then you are an intolerant bigot. (Some may think this is extreme. It’s not. Just take a gander at the news.)
So now, if you dare say you disagree with somebody else’s worldview, you’re not just disagreeing—you’re being intolerant. However, from many people on the Left, this is when true intolerance spills out of there mouths. In the name of Leftist “tolerance,” quite ironically, they are the ones being intolerant. To many, it’s either approve or quit talking. (I will concede that they are many on the Left that do not act this way. Thank you.)
The Correct Definition
Intolerance is defined as “unwilling to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that’s different from one’s own.”
Friends, that is the definition of intolerance. Are there some Westboro Baptist Church “Christians” who are, in fact, intolerant? Absolutely! But those people, mind you, are not Christians. Though they claim the name of Christ, their hearts are filled with hate and legalism.
However, for the majority of conservative Christians, this definition does not define our attitude towards whom we disagree. Yes, we do firmly believe what God says about marriage, sexuality, gender, when life begins, etc. With that being said, that doesn’t mean we’re “unwilling to accept” other beliefs.
For example, I strongly disagree with macro-evolution but that doesn’t mean I won’t accept the fact that millions of people believe in it. That’s tolerance. I can let them believe what they want to believe.
I vehemently oppose abortion, but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand or accept people’s differing opinions on the topic. And by accept, I don’t mean approve. M
My point is this: we should be able to gracefully disagree with one another and not try to tear each other’s heads off just because somebody disagrees. We are not attacking or hating you when we say, “God says that is sin.” We are actually loving you the best way we can.
Loving and Disagreeing
A few days ago, Tim Keller tweeted this:
This is absolutely true. To be quite honest, it’s insane that we’ve reached this point as a society. People truly believe that if somebody disagrees with you, or says something that offends you, it means they hate you–and that’s simply not true.
Keller makes the point that I’m trying to make here: I can disagree with you without hating you. Just because I don’t agree with your view doesn’t mean I don’t love you as a fellow image-bearer of God. We are both people. We both have the same value, worthy, and dignity because God has given it to us–and we should be able to still disagree, even on fundamental worldview issue.
Whether it’s conversations about LGBTQ issues, abortion, gender, etc., we should be able to disagree with one another and still respect each other as people. Disagreement doesn’t mean hatred.
Soli Deo Gloria
*I don’t put liberal Protestants in with this because, well, they have veered off. Most liberal Protestants–if not all–do not believe in the historical teachings of the faith (virgin birth, resurrection, etc.) and definitely do not hold conservative, biblical stances on cultural issues.
“…it may appear that what the liberal theologian has retained after abandoning to the enemy one Christian doctrine after another is not Christianity at all, but a religion which is so entirely different from Christianity as to belong in a distinct category.” J. Gresham Machen