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
As you read the definition of intolerance, consider if you ever act this way towards those with other beliefs.
Religious Intolerance IS:
1. How we promote our beliefs:
- Attempting to force our beliefs on others.
- Setting up laws or systems to intentionally benefit one religion or to intentionally exclude benefits from other religions.
- Creating laws or systems to exclude participation or punish people with different beliefs.
- Shutting out different religions or non-religions from public or “state” institutions because they aren’t the majority (Christian) religion.
- Example: only allowing a Christian prayer before a public (secular) school football game, even though the players and fans are made up of different belief systems.
- Demanding that Judeo/Christian creationism be taught in schools, but excluding other beliefs or scientific theories from also being taught or discussed. Note: this type of intolerance works both ways, such as when schools don’t allow the mention or discussion of non-evolutionary theories to the origin of human life.
- Pushing to have the Bible taught in school, yet opposing the inclusion of other religious texts from discussion.
We DON’T have to agree with others, or deny our own beliefs, to be more tolerant
2. How we shut down discussions:
- Refusing to acknowledge or discuss opposing views.
- Refusing to entertain the idea that other people have any valid points on a subject we disagree with; suggesting that there is NO truth or redeeming quality of any opposing belief.
- Attempting to silence opposing views or biblical interpretations, or discouraging challenging questions from being asked about our beliefs/church doctrine.
- Suggesting that there is only ONE correct view or interpretation of scripture (even though the multitude of Christian denominations is a direct result of different biblical interpretations and practices).
- Saying “I’m right! You are wrong!” without taking the time to even consider and evaluate another person’s views or beliefs.
3. How we treat others:
- Treating others with different beliefs as “less than”…as if the person is unworthy of our time, love, or respect.
- Disowning friends or family who choose a different religion, belief system, or lack of faith.
- Not tolerating the PERSON who holds an opposing belief. (Thinking they are obviously not as bright as you, because they don’t agree with you).
- Discriminating (outside of a faith-based organization) based on someone’s different beliefs or lack of beliefs.
- Firing, or not hiring, an otherwise competent non-Christian, atheist, agnostic, etc…, solely on the basis of their beliefs.
Seek to be more loving, graceful, compassionate, merciful, and understanding of those people who disagree with our Christian beliefs
Are You Intolerant?
So, based on the above definition, are you intolerant? If so, may I encourage you to change your ways.
Hold to the truth for sure. And keep in mind that we don’t have to agree with others, or deny our own beliefs, to be more tolerant. Seek to be more loving, graceful, compassionate, merciful, and understanding of those people who disagree with our Christian beliefs. Do that, and Christianity will slowly be viewed as being more tolerant, while maintaining the Biblical truth we seek to preserve.
Important Update: We’ve recently added “intolerance” to our negative stereotypes small group bible study. Download our FREE negative Christian stereotypes Bible Study.