Tolerance: A Double Edged Sword

Tolerance: A Double Edged Sword July 6, 2023

In the West, It Seems Our Culture’s Highest Value is Tolerance

How tolerant are you? Are you inclusive of all? Do you accept and affirm every view and identity that could possibly exist? Are you condemning others by holding them accountable for their actions? Do you think that people that believe differently from you are wrong?

These are the questions that are at the forefront of our culture. As organizations continue to enhance their companies with Diversity and Inclusivity Departments and put their employees on the hot seat for being ________phobic and then punish those who seek to live out their convictions, we will continue to see our society plunge into the darkness of tolerant disdain. First, understand that the idea of tolerance here does not hold the classical understanding.

What is Tolerance?

Tolerance in its classical understanding refers to the ability to exist next to someone who has a view that you disagree with no matter how vehemently you disagree. This entails that you are accepting that others have differing views, philosophies, religions, political ideas, and so forth. No conforming to the mob is needed. You are able to think as you wish and continue on with your life. Most importantly, there is an expectation that you are allowed to challenge other viewpoints and engage with them critically. In other words, you are not expected to agree with or accept every view under the sun and are allowed to challenge the ideas of the day.

Today, tolerance has taken on a new meaning. Tolerance, in this Western World that we find ourselves in, means acceptance. You are accepting of the lives of others no matter how self-destructive they are. You are accepting of other religions and philosophies as equals no matter their fundamental difference. In essence, tolerance, when enforced by the mob, forces one to engage in a type of doublethink. You are able to hold a belief and conviction, but you are forced to live in contradiction of your conviction.

Let’s Look at a Scenario

Suppose there is a bakery that makes cakes for special events. This bakery is owned by Christians who have Christian convictions, and thus live out their convictions throughout their lives, including their business. They even help the homeless community by giving out baked goods that are not sold by the end of the day for free. They serve everyone that comes through the door. It does not matter your background, your sexual identity, your religion, or your creed. This company will provide you with a cake and other baked goods as long as you pay full price for the item.

Now suppose there is a cake request that is meant for a special occasion. Suppose a couple who consists of 2 people of the same gender wishes to attempt to get married. They want to go to this bakery, specifically, and request for them to make them a cake for their wedding. What should the bakery do? And what should the bakery be forced to do?

The Owners are Stuck

Remember, this bakery is owned by Christians. Christians believe that marriage is defined by God as the union between one man, and one woman, and is meant for one lifetime. (Gen 2:24, 1 Peter 3:7, Ephesians 5: 25, Matthew 19: 4-6, Colossians 3: 18-19, Mark 10: 6-9, Genesis 1: 27-28, Leviticus 18:1-18, etc.) Should this bakery be forced to provide a cake for this couple in celebration of their “Wedding”, even though it goes against their conviction? They would be living in contradiction to their conviction. And would be disobeying the Lord.

The answer, I think, is obvious. No.

If your answer is yes, then perhaps you have joined the tolerance mob in forcing others into living in conflict with their convictions.

What if…

What if a company wishes for their employees to wear a pin celebrating Pride Month? (This was the topic of my last article in June. Click on this Link to See the Article) Should the company force a Christian employee to comply? The answer… simply… is no.

And here is the catch. For the mob to tell others to be tolerant of others’ beliefs and to live against their convictions, is to make an intolerant judgment on them. The employers who enforce their tolerance policies on employees who hold Christian convictions are violating their own stance of tolerance. They are being unaccepting and thus intolerant of their employee and his or her convictions. The tolerance mob who wants this hypothetical bakery to bend their knee and provide a wedding cake for a homosexual couple is being intolerant of the views of this bakery. And the “tolerant” business that makes their employees celebrate a month that goes against their convictions in any way under threat of firing or lost privileges is violating their own standard of tolerance. Thus, the crowd has no firm ground to stand on.

Simply put, Tolerance is a double-edged sword. When deployed, the person who would use this weapon to destroy someone ends up destroying themselves in their own double standard. The sword of tolerance is one that can be taken by the defense and used against its opponent. Christians in the West, hold the line and challenge the tolerant crowd with truth, gentleness, patience, and kindness. And do not be afraid to ask the challenger to be what they wish of you to be… tolerant.

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