The secular humanistic view of tolerance has proven to be nothing more than a thin veil used to disguise their extreme intolerance.
The classical definition of tolerance is "sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own" (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition). That is true tolerance.
Today we have defined tolerance not only as being able to allow people to have views differing from ours, but we have added the misguided notion that all views are equally valid. That is, those who are tolerant are supposed to recognize that your "truth" is to be considered just as valid as my "truth." That is the prevailing thought, it seems, of our postmodern mindset.
In reality, however, we encounter a major problem. It seems that those who are so vocally lobbying for "tolerance" have defined the word as meaning that we must be tolerant only of the views they happen to agree with; opposing views are met with extreme hostility.
John Dunphy in an article entitled "A Religion for a New Age," wrote, "I am convinced that the battle for humankind's future must be waged and won in the public school classrooms by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith; a religion of humanity... the classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new -- the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism." (The Humanist Magazine, Jan-Feb, 1983 Volume 43 Number 1).
This past week I was listening to a news program and my ears perked up when I heard the anchor mention that a law was being considered that would allow the government to execute people whose beliefs were held so deeply that they could not be changed.
This is not a new concept. While the document The Humanist Manifesto II calls for an age of tolerance, it also calls for re-education camps for people of faith and then later identifies those who hold a religious faith as a danger to society in general and advances the idea that those who cannot be changed should be euthanized for the good of society.
Mark my words: the further this nation moves from its Judeo-Christian foundations the more intolerant we will become.
The late English historian Arnold Toynbee who wrote the massive 12-volume analysis on the rise and fall of civilizations rightly observed that "democracy is a leaf from the book of Christianity" and when the influence of Christianity is extinguished our freedoms will also be extinguished.
Now for some harsh words: the Bible says, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God'" (Psalm 14:1). It is my fear that we, in Western society, have educated ourselves into imbecility. We believe the ludicrous and deny the obvious and any voice of reason is immediately declared to be some form of hate speech. Those who believe there are standards and there exists absolute objective truths face a carefully choreographed smear campaign designed to silence the truth.
The reason true tolerance can only exist in a Christian setting is that truth can stand in the face of a lie, but a lie cannot stand in the face of truth. That is why those who promote the idea of a humanistic tolerance become so hatefully intolerant of those who hold opposing views.
We have lost our ability to have any civil discourse today. Either we tow the politically correct line or we face the ire of a society devoid of God.
When Nazi Germany found non-Arians inconvenient, they simply redefined what it meant to be a person and 13 million were murdered in the Holocaust (6 million being Jews).
We need to wake up and smell the coffee. Our mad rush to free ourselves from the restraints we believe God places on us is leading us on a collision course with certain disaster. We who think ourselves so wise that we no longer need God need to consider how really foolish we have become.
Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington, GA.. For more information visit the Gateway website at www.gatewaycommunity.org