When Truth is Relative, Intolerance is Everywhere
Vol: 19 Issue: 3 Tuesday, January 3, 2017
To the world in general, the word ‘tolerant’ means that one accepts all belief systems as equally true and valid. That notion, which sounds eminently fair and egalitarian, is the foundation upon which the myth of Christian intolerance is constructed.
I call it a ‘myth’ — not because Christians aren’t intolerant — we are — but because what we refuse to tolerate has been mythologized.
The notion that truth is relative is what gives the world a reason to hate Christianity as ‘intolerant’ and ‘hateful’. To a Christian, truth matters. To the secular world, the truth is whatever they want to believe is true.
In the sense of religious tolerance the word ‘tolerance’ really means ‘pluralist’. ‘Pluralism’ is a curious philosophy, in that it holds that a number of simultaneous and conflicting truths can exist at the same time with each separate “truth” remaining equally true.
Pluralism holds that distinct cultural beliefs are true for that culture–but not for cultures that operate out of a different “paradigm” (like Christianity.)
Pluralists say that truth is a “social construction.” It is created through social consensus and tradition, not discovered in reality that exists independently of our beliefs. Truth is, therefore, subjective interpretation, rather than facts based in reality.
To the pluralist, all religions are equally valid and all religions lead to God. All gods are equally ‘god’, which is the logical equivalent to saying there is no God at all — and then making a religious worldview out of it.
Therefore, defining ‘tolerant’ as the semantic equivalent to ‘pluralist’ means that Christianity is intolerant because it stands or falls on that central truth that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life, and that no man comes to the Father but by Him.
Under the Romans, Christianity was outlawed because it was ‘hateful’ and ‘intolerant’.
In revived Rome under antichrist, the Apostle John prophesies that the Tribulation saints will be persecuted and put to death for refusing to accept his universal symbol of religious pluralism, what we call ‘the Mark of the Beast.’
The Mark of the Beast isn’t merely an economic system, although John says that without it, no man would be able to buy or sell.
John also says that it will become a universal, pluralistic religious system saying that, he will “cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” (Revelation 13:15)
Those who don’t accept voluntary inclusion into the pluralistic religion of the false prophet because of their faith in Christ will be executed for their intolerance.
Religious pluralism, in some form, is the universal religion of the antichrist. But Christianity is not the only faith that makes claims of exclusivity. So does Islam. So does Judaism.
Exclusivity is a fundamental of each faith.
The false prophet is depicted by John as having, “two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.” The Lamb is symbolic of Christianity, whereas the dragon is another name for Satan.
Logically, the pluralist religion of the antichrist will be some counterfeit form of Christianity that includes all other faiths under a single religious umbrella. We are getting closer, but we aren’t there yet.
The problem is, one cannot reconcile ‘tolerance’ with ‘faith’. ‘Tolerance’ (religious pluralism) dictates that there are many truths. The indwelt Church stands as an obstacle on the path to religious pluralism during the Church Age, until it is recalled at the Rapture.
The reason, in part, is because faith recognizes only one truth. One cannot have ‘faith’ in conflicting truths — the Bible says, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
A person goes to work Monday because he has faith that his paycheck will be there Friday. Not just that he will be paid, but even how much he will be paid.
If that paycheck was only there sometimes, and the amount reflected the whim of a different paymaster each week, who would keep showing up for work on Monday?
One’s work is the ‘substance’ of things hoped for (the paycheck) and the fact one shows up each Monday is the unseen evidence of our faith in payday. Do you follow?
One cannot be ‘tolerant’ of conflicting ‘truths’, any more than it would be intolerant to refuse to go to work without faith that one’s payday will reflect the same ‘truth’ every week.
Faith and tolerance are polar opposites. That doesn’t make Christianity intolerant of the world.
It makes the world intolerant of Christianity.
The Christian claim that Jesus is the only way to heaven is what the world finds so intolerant about Christianity.
To a Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, etc., that means that they are excluded, since they don’t worship Jesus as God. Therefore, Christianity is an ‘exclusive’ religion, and people don’t like to be excluded.
Even when they CHOOSE to be excluded. Take Bill Maher, for example. He routinely slanders Christianity as intolerant, because Bill Maher refuses to tolerate Christianity.
It is an absurdity of epic proportions.
Consider the premise for a moment. The ‘hate speech’ argument is based on Jesus not letting Muslims, Hindus, etc., et al, into His heaven just because they refuse to accept Him as God. It gets more absurd when you factor in the secularists and the atheists.
They find Christianity intolerant, too, and for the same reason. The ‘mythical’ Jesus won’t let unbelievers into His ‘mythical’ Heaven, which they say makes their case for Christianity as ‘intolerant’ and ‘hateful’.
Leaving aside why Jesus would exclude unbelievers for a second, one has to wonder why unbelievers would want to go to His mythical heaven in the first place? And if it is mythical, why is it such a big deal to them?
Whether or not Christianity is intolerant depends on what the word ‘tolerant’ means. And in an age of propaganda, words are not very precise. Remember, in the name of ‘pro-choice’, it is a crime to offer a different choice than the choice to have an abortion — if it is offered within 100 feet of an abortion clinic.
‘Militant’ means any terrorist who isn’t for the moment, targeting YOU. Or it means ‘radical’, as in ‘militant feminist’. So, ‘militant’ — depending on political worldview — can mean either a crazed terrorist murdering as many innocents as possible or, a group of angry women carrying signs.
“Tolerant” — and its derivatives — is a word like that.
From the perspective of Biblical Christianity, there is no more tolerant worldview than that of Christ. Christianity teaches the obvious truth that all men have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.
Even atheists recognize ‘sin’ — even if they rename it. Were it not for sin, societies wouldn’t need police protection. Nations wouldn’t need armies. Religions would have no reason to exist and no ‘hammer’ with which to keep the faithful in line.
Sin exists. All religions offer a remedy. Some require you to go out and knock on doors and proselytize new members as a means of salvation from sin.
Some others require you to keep certain church laws and regulations in order to be saved from sin, while others require an outward act of penitence.
(Then their are those religions that might require you go out and blow up a school bus full of innocent children.)
Even secular society has a remedy for sin. When a convicted criminal serves out his sentence for a crime, he is said to have ‘paid his debt to society’. He can never be punished for that crime again under the law.
There is nothing intolerant about the recognition for sin, or the existence of a sin debt.
Jesus offers all men the free gift of salvation for the asking. They need only accept the gift of Pardon offered and trust in His Shed Blood as full payment of their sin debt. But the choice is entirely on the individual.
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” (Deuteronomy 30:19)
If they accept the gift, they are imputed with the Righteousness of Christ and have therefore paid their sin debt and are eligible for Heaven. Their debt to Heavenly society is paid, and like the convict whose sentence is served, they can never be punished for that crime again.
If they reject the offer of Pardon, then they stand before the Righteous Judge with that debt unpaid. It is their choice.
When Jesus surrendered His life on the Cross, His last words, according to Scripture, were, “It is finished.” The translators translated that phrase from the Greek word Jesus actually used, “Tetelestai.”
“Tetelestai” is the word that was written across a slave’s manumission papers. It was the word written across a promissory note once the terms had been met. It was an important word, because of its finality. It drives a stake through the heart of the myth of “Christian intolerance”.
“Tetelestai” means, “Paid in full.”