Tolerance: The Abused Sentiment

Tolerance is a good thing to have in a healthy society, but can be abused for nefarious purposes. Today tolerance, or its abuse, is considered to be the first duty of the citizen with regard to religion. We are told we must tolerate all other religions, and treat them as if they possess the same truths we, as Christians, profess. In fact, Pope Francis himself has said as much in claiming Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Is this really how Christian are to view religious pluralism? Does tolerance demand we be indifferent to divine truth, or accept false religions as equal to Christianity?

According to Christ's teaching, our first duty is not tolerance, but love of our neighbor. A Pharisee, attempting to be sly, and tempting Him, asked, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? And said to him , “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And a second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets" (Matt. 22:36-40). Justice and love are the two first duties of a man to his fellow-men. Tolerance is nowhere mentioned in Christ's teachings. Perhaps that is because mere tolerance does not go far enough. Christians shouldn't merely tolerate the lost, but the Christian should love them with a divine charity, sharing with them the Gospel—and that is far more than tolerance."Tolerance" is merely a catchword of Leftist cultural ideology, which might force us to put up with an obnoxious Marxist revolutionary, a Social Justice Warrior, or violent religionist in our midst, (even to our own self-destruction), but knows nothing of charity.

A distinction must be made with reference to tolerance here. Christians are not intolerant of those in other religions, but with regard to their error, there can be no such thing as tolerance. We simply can't compromise with error and spiritual lies. What is false we simply can't be compelled to call true, any more than we can claim fire is cold. When, therefore, the Christian apologist combats error and champions truth, he only follows the example of Christ and does what any sane person will acknowledge to be just and right to do when confronted with a lie. Dogmatic tolerance is self-contradiction. Christianity professes to be the absolute truth, and so we Christians can't say to the fallen world:

"If you believe in the Trinity, in the divinity of Christ, in salvation by grace through faith, in the name of Jesus alone, that's fantastic. If you don't believe in them—that's fantastic too—since I'm tolerant.”

The church is the custodian of God's revealed will and truth, and thus can't compromise with error; and any church—no matter how seemingly loving it is, how much it does in the sphere of social welfare, or social justice—any church that throws the mantle of a false charity over its spiritual bankruptcy in compromising with false religions- is proved thereby not to be Christian in any orthodox sense.