Merica’s gods: Intolerance

I’ve spent the last several months thinking about the utter waste in our nation. We waste resources, education, and effort on a wealth of idolatrous pursuits that are at the epicenter of American culture. It makes me sad. It is deeply sinful. And one of the saddest parts about it is that the American church has done or is doing very little to call it’s people to repentance. Shame on us.

When I was a little kid my brother was an even smaller kid, and there were plenty of times he would do something that would make me want to slug him. Sometimes I did, which was quickly greeted by a parental reroof, but more often than not I simply tolerated whatever newly contrived annoyance he had come up with.

Our culture’s working definition of the word tolerance is broken. Tolerance is a beautiful thing, but in recent years there has been a steady shift in just what that word means. No one really thinks of tolerating something as putting up with something you don’t like anymore. Or at least that’s not the way it is discussed in popular media.

We’ve sort of collectively replaced the definition of tolerance with the definition for acceptance, especially in terms of cultural squabbles. No longer when two parties disagree is there a mutually held respect, accompanied by a venerable tolerance based on the opposing side’s inherent human dignity. Politically, socially, economically, and religiously, when someone inevitably disagrees with our ideas we label them as being intolerant.

We are so silly sometimes. By its vary nature, it is impossible to show tolerance for an issue unless we disagree with it. Christians should be the most tolerant people on earth. We should understand all too well that you don’t, can’t, and shouldn’t attempt to force your beliefs on others. Of course we will regularly be at odds with practically everything about current trends in morality. But that doesn’t mean we simply start demonizing everything and everyone. No, we don’t have to remain silent in our disagreement, but we can voice our opinions without turning into crusading moralistic bullies.

The other side has a problem with this too. Often the far left labels Christianity as an incredibly intolerant faith because the vast majority of us refuse to sway from our historical core beliefs about God and moral issues. The truth is that our refusal to budge from our stalwart moral position, while still acknowledging the dignity and worth of those belittling us, is actually what proves the level of our tolerance.

Both sides of this issue of intolerance need to wake up. The level of vitriol and hate mongering that goes on today is disgusting. It’s beneath us. We need to pull intolerance down off of its thrown and listen to what our neighbor has to say. It could be that taking the time to learn their opinion might give you insight into their basic human decency, even if you don’t agree with their position.

More posts in this series:

Etiquette, Etican, Etican’t

Football, Athletes, and Idolatry

Mirrors, Models, and Muscles

Education

Sex

Culture Wars

Religious Tradition and Dissidence

Intolerance

Greed & Consumerism

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