Are Christians more intolerant than other people or groups? Let’s start with the dictionary definition of the word ‘intolerant’ to make sure we are on the same page:
1. Unable or unwilling to endure something [such as endure criticism].
2. Unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression esp. in religious matters.
3. Unwilling to grant or share social, political, or professional rights.
(From Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary)
Nowadays, ‘intolerant’ has been redefined as an unwillingness to get along; a refusal to conform to a protestor’s expectations. It’s popularly used in the sense of “Why are you intolerant — why won’t you go along with what we do and believe?”
Here is a point most people seem to miss: if you are for an idea, then you are sometimes against the opposite. If you say, “She is intolerant of abortion rights,” then you are intolerant of pro-choice. Someone saying, “You are intolerant of homosexuals” is himself intolerant of people holding contrary beliefs. Whenever you are speaking out against the ideas or beliefs or practices of others in order to stop them, you are demonstrating intolerance toward them; you are unwilling to allow them the same freedoms to practice their way of life as you enjoy.
Tolerance does not mean to give up one’s beliefs for the one who is protesting them. However, that is the meaning people use many times – “If you were more tolerant, you would side with us.” What does tolerance mean? Again, Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary:
1. Sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing with or conflicting with one’s own.
2. The act of allowing something.
Tolerance is the allowance of different views while not necessarily agreeing that they are right. It paints a picture of people hearing out the different beliefs without anger or retaliation. It does not mean that the different views should be outlawed in favor of yours. It means to disagree agreeably when the views are against one’s own.
Thus, the presence of tolerance and intolerance is not a religious issue. Everyone is tolerant and intolerant about something. But we are most intolerant toward those who hold ideas or practices that threaten our own beliefs or agenda in some way.
Christians will come across as intolerant to some because they follow moral standards and rules that differ from the rest of the world. Christians believe that God has spoken and his words are preserved in the Bible. They believe the Bible has the only directions for getting right with God, honoring him with our lives, and affirms that the only way to enjoy life after death is through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
These ideas differ from all other religions, which have their own holy books and sayings. (Contrary to popular belief, believers in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam do not worship the same God).
Jesus said that no one can come to the Father except through him, Jesus (John 14:6). So, Christians believe that no one can know and interact with God the Father through any other religion or person. Read the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17; they are God’s high standards. They condemn all of us. God himself is intolerant of those who break his laws; meaning that he will not excuse us who sin. When Christians inform others of God’s commandments and standards, they are passing on what God wants them to hear. God is intolerant of sin, and the eternal punishment in store for those who persist in it urges Christians to protest against laws that lead to sin, and to win people to God through Jesus Christ. If I am intolerant of the same things God is, then I am in possession of the right way of thinking. God is never wrong.
Christians are alarmed at the direction of the country which is passing laws promoting behaviors that go against God’s moral laws. Laws do legislate morality; making immoral behaviors legal promotes immorality in the population that does not know God. When Christians band together to fight against such laws, they present a more notable presence than they would otherwise; their protests against many immoral laws and behaviors is heightened. Thus they appear to be more intolerant than other groups which don’t present such a united front.
However, as we have seen with the definitions at top, those who are against these Christian groups are themselves intolerant, not willing that Christians should use legal political tools to promote their way of life. When Christians establish a law they have promoted, or successfully block a law they opposed, then they are said to “ram their religion down our throats” or “dictate the way I believe.” But when the opposing side does the same, successfully passing laws that Christians reject, people don’t say they are ramming their ideas down our throats or dictating our beliefs. They only do this when the law is morally in tune with the Bible. This is an example of conflicting standards, but it also shows the mindset of the protestor in relation to God and his moral laws.
When only a few people object to their nation’s anti-biblical laws, the enormity of a nation fallen from God is apparent.