What Does It Mean To Be Tolerant?

Ok, so we’ve defined what Christian intolerance is. Now, you might be wondering what the opposite of intolerance is and how you can be more tolerant.

Let me first dispel some possible pitfalls as we strive to be more tolerant of people with different beliefs.

Religious TOLERANCE doesn’t mean

  • Agreeing with anyone who has a different view
  • Changing your beliefs just because someone disagrees with them
  • Agreeing that truth is relative and that all views are equally valid and true
  • Avoiding an impasse with someone who holds a different belief. (That WILL happen due to the extreme differences between worldviews)

Instead, we can be more tolerant of people with different beliefs, by…

  • Sharing our beliefs (the Gospel) with love, and being respectful listeners towards others with different beliefs
  • Realizing, in America, we don’t live in a Christian theocracy. We live in a country where other religions, and people without a theistic faith, are free to believe and practice whatever they want. We must not force our beliefs on others. God doesn’t even do that. And so, we should place faith that God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is strong enough to compete in the marketplace of ideas and will come out on top in the end. God’s in charge and he will not let His truth be obscured.
  • We should acknowledge competing beliefs, encourage open discussion, and work to support and defend our beliefs in light of differing views
  • Allow others to test our beliefs through critical inquiry. This is hard work. But by allowing ourselves to be tested, we have the opportunity to refine, clarify, and strengthen our views…so that we will continue to grow in our abilities to defend our faith
  • Treat others with love and respect, even if we passionately disagree with their worldviews
  • Staying engaged and connected with our friends, family members, co-workers, and acquaintances with whom we disagree

It’s hard to live outside of our safe, homogeneous Christian bubble. But, until God takes us home, this is the world we live in. Let’s make the most of it by being in functional, warm, loving, TOLERANT relationships. Yes…even with people we disagree with.

Important Update: We’ve recently added “intolerance” to our negative stereotypes small group bible study. Download our FREE negative Christian stereotypes Bible Study.

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  1. says

    Tolerance is temporal long-suffering until a solution is resolved from God’s Holy Scriptures as exemplified in Acts 15 when the Gentiles were accepted into the faith by James proper exegesis of Amos 9:11-12. Or, the solution can be resolved from the expectation that God’s sovereign unknowable will prevails as in Acts 5:34-42, in which a Pharisee, Gamaliel, advised his Christ-rejecting High Council of Jewish leaders that God will prevail. Tolerance is not an immediate compromise for the sake of peace. It is the temporal patience in the midst of temporal, loving disagreement that will ultimately be resolved by God or His Words. Tolerance, religious or otherwise, is not peace and to think that it is, is only self deception.

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