The modern mania for tolerance is an insidious tool of the Great Deceiver.
It goes by other names as well – acceptance, accompaniment, and being non-judgmental. The modern world and media praise behavior that displays these attributes. Many people believe that the only necessary virtue is tolerance. Proclaiming the truth is an aggressive act.
Libertarians, who claim to be on the conservative side of the political spectrum, also join the chorus. The message that “you live your life and I will live mine” resonates with many. If you don’t like a vice, don’t do it is another variation of the message.
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A Terrible Conflict
Today’s American education system encourages students to drink deeply of the four freedoms listed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – religion, speech, press, and assembly. However, the current mode of applying these liberties inclines those students to reject any objective standards of behavior.
Traditional Christianity has an all-encompassing moral code. It begins with the Ten Commandments, which are reflected in American law. Scripture contains other moral norms that have long been reflected in society. The Church has clarified these moral precepts through two thousand years of application.
The clash between Christian tradition and postmodern immorality puts people in a state of contradiction.
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Envision a conversation between a Christian and a non-believer. It might happen at a lunch table, a restaurant, over a back fence, or even on social media. The two participants are not exactly friends but are more than cordial acquaintances. They discuss a third acquaintance who is going through a divorce.
Christian: I was so sorry to hear that Henry and Catherine are divorcing. Do you have any idea why?
Non-Believer: Henry said that his company offered him a job in Chattanooga. It is a big promotion, but Cathy doesn’t want to leave her career here. She told him that she wasn’t about to uproot her life to move half-way across the country.
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Christian: Haven’t they thought about what that is going to do to their lives?
Non-Believer: Henry told me that they would have to sell the house because Cathy can’t afford it on her paycheck.
Christian: What will happen to the children?
Non-Believer: I don’t know. I guess that they will live with Cathy and spend their summers with Henry.
Christian: It seems to me that one of them should make the sacrifice to keep their family together.
Non-Believer: Both of them have worked hard to build their careers. The children will adjust.
Christian: Aren’t they worth more than the careers?
Non-Believer: Hey, it’s their lives. They have to do what works for them. Who are we to judge them?
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At this point, the two want to change the topic. The non-believer is uncomfortable with any discussion touching upon absolute morality. All too many modern Christians have absorbed at least part of the doctrine of toleration. Both of them are unwilling to take principled stands on controversial issues.
Morality is Social, not Individual
The core of this argument is that morality is a purely individual matter. The social effects of this error have been profound. Too many stand aside as society becomes less Godly and more secular. Any sense of Christian culture is steadily disintegrating.
Morality is inherently social because moral decisions never affect only one person. Every immoral decision harms the person who makes it and others. A divorce, for example, harms the children. Several studies show that the children of divorced parents are far more likely to be divorced themselves, creating a new generation of victims. It tears apart extended families as their members must choose sides. The bitterness of the divorce spreads to co-workers, neighbors, and congregations. It destroys family businesses and can burden government with assisting its victims.
Each vice creates its own sets of victims. Dishonesty in business affairs erodes the trust that makes commerce possible. Corrupt law enforcement causes disrespect for the law that exists to protect everyone.
Even so-called “victimless” crimes harm many others. For instance, a decision to use illegal drugs helps to create an aggressive underground economy that creates a climate for violent crime. The disordered life of the drug abuser affects a family relationship, work situations and personal health.
The Christian Duty to Expose Immorality
Engaging in the fight for morality is a fight for those hurt by immorality. It makes one into the person that will “hunger and thirst after justice.” The truly just person is the “peacemaker” who becomes the child of God. (See Matthew 5:6-9.)
The moral order is the manner in which people live in accordance with fallen human nature. It creates the social conditions by which people can deal with suffering, develop their full potential and achieve union with God. An immoral world creates lives of misery governed by the unbridled passions. It destroys ordered liberty, creates chaos and offends God. “Tolerance” and being “non-judgmental” are merely deceitful attitudes that take people away from God – which is what the Great Deceiver wanted all along.