The new tolerance

“TOLERANCE MAY INDEED BE THE DOMINANT theme of the modern curriculum. The authors of a recent study of high schools concluded tolerating diversity is the moral glue that holds schools together. One study of history books found toleration presented as “the only ‘religious’
idea worth remembering.” Steven Bates One writer in the magazine, Teaching Tolerance, stated that “tolerance is an idea that is universally relevant [to every class], and it belongs everywhere in the curriculum.” Teachers are being told how to teach it in every single subject. From history to literature to mathematics, the children are learning tolerance. Tolerance is being willing to put up with, endure, bear with those whose views or lifestyles are diff erent from others’ views without agreeing with them. And every Christian should be tolerant in the correct and historical meaning of that word. It is what the Bible means in the love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13: “Love endureth all things.” Every Christian should be tolerant. It is the sign of a gentleman to put up with people who have strange ideas or even strange habits or customs, even though you don’t agree with them.
But if you think that is what is being taught in the curricula of this country, you are very wrong. The New Tolerance is the title of a book recently released by Josh McDowell which I recommend for everyone of you to read.

The ‘new tolerance’ means this: Not only do you put up with and endure and bear with those who have different views, habits, and/or lifestyles than your own, but you must agree with their views as well. Furthermore, you must even be willing to promote and endorse that other lifestyle, since it is every bit as good as yours. It begins with the idea that there is no absolute truth. Everything is relative. Th erefore, one kind of lifestyle is as good as another kind of lifestyle. You mustn’t judge because there is no absolute standard to judge by!

The Post-Modernist says, “Reason has failed. We must resort to feeling.” It is always not “I think,” but “I feel.” We have even invented a new civil right – the civil right for my feelings not to be hurt. A young lady in one of the high schools recently sued because they sang a patriotic song that had some religious words in it. She said that it hurt her feelings. Th e whole school ground to a halt. Th e courts moved into action, “We cannot have anybody’s feelings hurt!” Part of Post-Modernism is this universal individual. We don’t have countries. There is just the individual, and his/her feelings, and they must not be off ended.

“There is no truth, there are no moral absolutes, and the important thing is my feelings.” There are not even any universal truths of any kind for people, and whatever truths we have are simply societal constructs that each community or society or nation has created, and these do not apply beyond the borders of that culture. All morality is culturally created and culturally defined. So it is the end of all truth. Truth does not exist
in any objective sense, and it is always limited to a particular culture.

Tolerance is the last virtue of a depraved society. When you have an immoral society that has blatantly, proudly, violated all of the commandments of God, there is one last virtue they insist upon: tolerance for their immorality. They will not have you condemning what they have done as being wrong, and they have created a whole world construct in which it is not wrong, and in which they are no longer the criminal or the villain or the evil person, but you are! And so they call evil good, and good evil … and believe me, that is just the beginning. I was told about a totalitarian nation where they would not even allow the mention of homosexuality on television or radio. If anybody read Romans 1, or any of the many other passages in the Bible where God condemns homosexuality, that person would go straight to jail. What benighted nation would have such an immoral law as that? It is found in deepest Canada. Th e very things I’ve said here today could land me in prison in Canada.
You see:

If it is true what they say that there are no judgments by which we can condemn any standard of right and wrong or good and evil as better or worse,
And if it is true that the only thing that matters is our feelings, And if it is also true, as they say, that you cannot separate what a person does from what the person is,
And since Christians for 2,000 years have believed that we are to love the sinner, but hate the sin (they say, “Oh, no you don’t”),
And since polls have repeatedly shown that high school students in this country believe that you cannot criticise anything anyone believes without criticising and finding fault with that person.

Therefore, if you have a discussion of atheism with an atheist, you are finding fault with that man and criticising his views. You can’t separate the two. If you fi nd fault with a thief and you would criticise his stealing, though as a Christian we would want to love him, then you are finding fault with him, not merely what he does. The same thing is true of a homosexual. You cannot have a rational discussion of the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality, because if you fi nd any fault with it, you are fi nding fault with that person who will tell you that “what I do is what I am,” and you cannot distinguish between the two.

‘Hate’ crimes
We’re going down hill. Does it matter? Yes, it matters, because you see, when you are criticising what that person believes or what he does, you are hurting his feelings, and that is a ‘hate’ crime. For the first time in history you can be judged for what is inside your head or inside your heart! They first ridiculed them. They laughed at them. Then they began to condemn them. And then they began to silence them and censure them, and
censorship came into place. Then they began to persecute them. And then they began to imprison them. And then… and then they began to kill them, all in the name of tolerance. As one school administrator said, “It is the mission of the public schools not to tolerate intolerance!”

Now, my friends, Christianity is the most loving religion in the world. God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son. Jesus Christ gave His life. God gives to us eternal life. God forgives us and He urges us to love others, to love our friends, to love our enemies, to love even those who
want to kill us. But Christianity is an absolute religion. By the way, all of these strictures do not apply to other religions – only to Christianity – God is a jealous God and He will not have any other gods before Him. All of the gods of the heathen, He says, are but idols. Christ says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me”. (John 14:6). That statement alone could one day have landed Him in jail
because it is absolutist. How many people today say, “Well, all religions are basically the same.” There is a theological term for that idea. It is called ‘hogwash’. (That’s a direct translation from the Greek.) It only reveals the ignorance of the person who makes that statement. Gautama Buddha died for no one. Lao-tze died for no one. Confucius died for no one. Mohammed died for no one. Only Christ died for the sins of the world. Only Christ rose again from the dead. Only Christ off ers eternal life freely to those who will trust in Him. Christianity is diametrically opposite from all of the other world’s religions in those things that really matter. But because it is absolute and not relative, it is Christianity against which all of this that I have mentioned is aimed. It is like being corralled like sheep to the slaughter. Most of the sheep don’t even know what is happening.
Wake up!! WAKE UP!

Dear friends, for forty years I have urged Christians to be faithful to the Great Commission of sharing the Gospel with a needy world. Many of you have been indescribably faithful in doing that year after year, decade after decade. But even more of you didn’t lead anybody to Christ last year. You didn’t lead anybody to Christ the year before that. You didn’t lead anybody to Christ in the last decade. You are going to fi nd out what is at the end of the road of disobedience to the Great Commission. It is time that we stand up for Jesus Christ and show some backbone while we still have a place to stand.

DR. JAMES KENNEDY is the Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and the President of Evangelism Explosion International.
View their website at:
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6)
Joy 7 BC.indd 42 2007/03/17 01:17:51 PM