Religious Intolerance Is…

One of the negative Christian stereotypes this ministry hopes to reverse is the stereotype of Christians being intolerant. Some people refer to this as “religious intolerance”.

This is what outsiders mean when they say that Christians are intolerant

I’ve learned that it’s important to define terms. Understanding just what intolerance is and isn’t is crucial. So, this is an attempt to define intolerance based on our extensive research on the subject. The following is what outsiders mean when they say that Christians are intolerant.

As you read the definition of intolerance, consider if you ever act this way towards those with other beliefs. [Read more…]

Should Howard Schultz have Caved to Homosexual Activitist Censorship?

Photo by o5com

Last week, Willow Creek Church and its association held its Global Leadership Summit; a worldwide leadership conference for Christians. Every year, this conference invites a cross section of our population to speak and share leadership principles to help improve our world. Past speakers have included Jim Collins (“Good to Great” book author), Daniel Pink, Seth Godin, Jack Welch, and others. Willow Creek invites leaders to share their not-exclusively-Christian message to A LOT of Christians worldwide. This year, Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, was invited to come, and he accepted. I have no doubt he would have shared some pearls of wisdom from his book “Onward” that sells in Starbucks stores worldwide. However, when homosexual activists protested his presence at the conference, he caved and withdrew from the speaking engagement.

So, the question this week is: Should Howard Schultz have caved to homosexual activist censorship? Other related questions that also come to mind… Was this an appropriate response? Does the homosexual community benefit from this censorship? Does the Christian community benefit from this censorship? Does Starbucks, it’s customers, employees, and stockholders benefit from this censorship? Would you have recommended he speak or stay home?

Chris The Perfectly Intolerant Superficial Christian

Chris, the perfectly intolerant Christian will talk to anyway, especially the “lost” and “hell bound”

Websters defines a stereotypical Christian as superficial and intolerant. Well not really, but let me introduce you to someone who fits that description. His name is Chris.

The Stereotype

You’ll notice Chris straight away because he always carries his Bible close to his chest in one of those fancy leather covers with a massive cross on the front. He always smiling and very outgoing. He will talk to anyone, especially the “lost” and “hell bound”.

I do have to warn you about a couple of things. For a start, he rushes through pleasantries so he can tell you his redemption story. Once he’s done this, he turns everything you say back to God, and quotes scripture too (that includes when you ask him if he wants a coffee). If you have anything negative happening in your life, he’ll tell you it is the result of sin and will begin praying over you.

No Cussing Aloud

Oh, and whatever you do – don’t cuss around him. And when I say cussing I don’t mean dropping the f-bomb. I mean any word that would be even slightly offensive to a toddler. Because if you utter even the slightest naughty word, he will instantly fall to his knees, command Satan to leave you and start pleading for your soul.

Does he sound familiar? That’s the stereotypical Christian isn’t it? Chris the perfectly intolerant superficial Christian is the person many people picture when they think of someone living the Christian faith.

Let’s Not Be Superficial

I’m not a stereotypical Christian. I’m not a completely mature Christian and I don’t know the Bible inside out. But I’m pretty sure the Bible doesn’t tell us this is how we should act. In fact, I’m pretty sure we are told multiple times that God chooses us as we are, that we should come to Him as we are and pray to Him bringing nothing but our true selves;  to remain humble and not judge or condemn others. Somehow we read this, find comfort in it, thinking it’s just for us, then place the Bible down and proceed to create this fake, intolerant Christian stereotype.

I know a lot of people living for Christ who won’t even call themselves Christian’s. They know all too well the stereotypes that come with it.

I know a lot of people living for Christ who won’t even call themselves Christian’s. They know all too well the stereotypes that come with it; the pressure to never fall, to try and live up to totally unrealistic standards of perfection inconsistent with human nature. I see their point.

Let’s Be Real

I am a follower of Christ trying to live my life authentically. I want to be REAL and live as an imperfect human following Christ. I want to show not just what is considered acceptable, but show God’s grace and His gift of redemption, through my flaws, in a way my words or any stereotype ever could.

It’s not enough to say that the Lord will heal, if we pretend accepting Christ exempts us from pain.
It’s not enough to say the Lord forgives all, if we hide our failures.
It’s not enough to say we are Christians, and hide that we are human and loved anyway.

People will never come to God if they believe they have to be perfect to do so.

People will never come to God if they believe they have to be perfect to do so.

What God Asks of Us

The only thing God asks us to do is to show His love to others and to lead them to Him. Where are we leading them if we hide behind the “perfect Christian” stereotype? Let’s drop the stereotype and just live authentic Christian lives, full of flaws, full of pains, full of failure. Then, let’s rest in Him who loves us as we are, and share that love with others.

By Suzanne Physick. Read Suzanne’s Bio below.

Are Christians Intolerant?

religious Intolerance, tolerance, intolerant
Photo by Identity Photogr@phy

Do Christians lack religious tolerance? I reject that completely! OK…just kidding. Read on…

Religious intolerance is defined as being so attached to one’s own belief as to be hostile to all others.

Intolerance Defined

Intolerance is defined as not tolerating or respecting beliefs, opinions, usages, manners, etc., different from one’s own, as in political or religious matters; bigoted. Religious intolerance is defined as being so attached to one’s own belief as to be hostile to all others.

The important words in the above intolerance definitions are “not respecting”, “different than our own”, and “hostile”.

Stop Disrespecting, Start Listening

We don’t win any points for disrespecting other people’s beliefs or opinions. When we are biased and refuse to listen to others who have an opinion or belief system that is different than our own, we come across as narrow-minded and our intolerance closes the door to the relationship and lock it shut. When we become hostile with others that disagree with us, we contribute to an antagonistic, unfriendly environment. What we are left with is the animosity often perceived between Christians and non-Christians.

The Heart of the Problem

This negative Christian stereotype of being intolerant, in my humble opinion, strikes to the heart of the problem within our Christian faith. We are called to love God and love each other, including non-Christians and non-believers. The fact is we don’t love other people very well.

That’s a failing heart condition…and it shows itself when we don’t love others enough to even listen to them or attempt to learn about their beliefs (E.g. religious intolerance). It shows itself when we refuse to spend time with people who are different than us, instead of “tolerating” their company. It becomes clear when we reject an opposing argument (on a faith, spiritual, religious, or scientific topic) without considering what is true or false, what is reasonable or unreasonable. In other words, when we outright refuse to hear someone else on a topic, it shows the lack of love in our hearts. This attitude IS narrow-minded and doesn’t contribute to a positive attitude toward Christian believers. Many of the non-believers I’ve encountered WANT to hear what we think and believe, but they also want their turn to share what they think and believe. I think that’s very reasonable and fair; tolerant!

Win the Relationship, Not the Argument

So, to be more tolerant of others with different opinions or beliefs, we must first look at our hearts. We must value building a relationship more than we value winning an argument. We must LOVE first. Then, we can listen.

We can’t expect other people to listen to us, if we are unwilling to extend the same respect to them.

Here is an important message about religious intolerance that I encourage you to receive. We can’t expect other people to listen to us and our Christian beliefs and opinions, if we are unwilling to extend the same respect to them. In order for others to be open to hearing your testimony and the reason you believe in Jesus Christ, you must be open to hearing from them first. In other words, for others to tolerate US, we must first tolerate (e.g. LOVE) them.

Don’t Stop Sharing Your Beliefs

We DO have valid reasons for our beliefs. We should be sharing our Christian beliefs with others. But if you love the other person, then be open to a dialog on the topic…not just a one-sided “preachy” sermon or lecture. You might be surprised to find that non-believers will respect us more if we simply shared our beliefs and were open to them sharing theirs.

When you share something close to your heart, how do you feel when the other person rejects it? How do you feel when they nit-pick it and try to find every loophole in your reasoning? It’s no fun and is very intolerant. Now, look in the mirror. What do you do when you encounter someone with a different opinion? Do you reject it? Do you nit-pick it and look for the loopholes? Do you allow your bias to cause you to reject what they are saying without really listening? No one wins.

Be First to Listen

So, as a Christian, go first. Show tolerance to other people and allow them to share ideas they are passionate about. Be the first to ask questions and sincerely listen. Then, be ready to share your reasoned beliefs when they ask “well, what do YOU think?”