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If you’re placed in a situation where you suspect your convictions will be labeled intolerant, bigoted, narrow-minded, and judgmental, turn the tables. When someone asks for your personal views about a moral issue—homosexuality, for example—preface your remarks with a question.
Most of what passes for tolerance today is not tolerance at all, but rather intellectual cowardice. Those who hide behind that word are often afraid of intelligent engagement. They're unwilling to be challenged by alternate points of view, to engage contrary opinions, or even to consider them. It's easier to hurl an insult--"you intolerant bigot"--than to confront the idea and either refute it or be changed by it.
While flying a little commuter jet to northern California, I had no way of knowing someone was reading over my shoulder. I quickly found my seat on the plane and buried my nose in a book. “What are you reading?” A lady’s voice floated timidly over the top of the seat. I chatted with her a few moments about the Lord, wrote out the title on the back of my business card, wished her a pleasant trip and plunged back into my study.
One question frequently stops Christians in their tracks: "If the Gospel alone saves, then what about the heathen in Africa who never heard?" Can God justly convict a man who hasn't heard about Jesus? Some people hear the Gospel and reject it, but most never hear it. How can God condemn them?
Some say Christianity is just a crutch. But let's turn the question on its edge for a moment. Is atheism an emotional crutch, wishful thinking? The ax cuts both ways. Perhaps atheists are rejecting God because they've had a bad relationship with their father. Instead of inventing God, have atheists invented non-God? Have they invented atheism to escape some of the frightening implications of God's existence? Think about it.
Taken at face value, the "Who are you to say?" question challenges one's authority to judge another's conduct. It says, in effect, "What authorizes you to make a rule for others. Are you in charge? Are you the police or the king or something?" This challenge miscasts my position. I don't expect anyone to obey me simply because I say so. I'm appealing to reason, not asserting my authority. Challenging me misses the point. I'm not commanding, but persuading. It's one thing to force beliefs; it's quite another to state those beliefs and appeal for them.
Notice that one can't tolerate someone unless he disagrees with him. We don't "tolerate" people who share our views. They're on our side. There's nothing to put up with. Tolerance is reserved for those we think are wrong. This essential element of tolerance--disagreement--has been completely lost in the modern distortion of the concept. Nowadays, if you think someone is wrong, you're called intolerant.
A favorite ploy of professors whose teaching on relativism is challenged in class is to ask, “If you believe in moral absolutes, what are they?” A person might offer that it’s immoral to dock the professor’s pay just because he’s Jewish, or African-American, or a woman, or approves of homosexuals (or whatever your professor’s hot-button happens to be).
Morals are individual, relativists argue, therefore we ought to tolerate others' viewpoints and not pass judgment on their behavior and attitudes. It should be obvious that this attempt commits suicide. It fails through contradiction. There is no tolerance in relativism, because the moral obligation to be tolerant violates the rules.
In May, 1994, Congress passed a law making it a federal offense to block an abortion clinic. Pamela Maraldo, President of Planned Parenthood at the time commented to the press, "This law goes to show that no one can force their viewpoint on someone else." The self-contradiction ought to be obvious: All laws force someone's viewpoint.