(#10) TOLERANCE IS A THEORY, NOT A REALITY

(#10) TOLERANCE IS A THEORY, NOT A REALITY

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In those days…Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” – Judges 17:6

When our Christians Might Be Crazy facilitator asked the group in Austin if they thought they were being judgmental of the Christian faith, one responded, “That’s all we’re doing, right?” When she wondered aloud if being judgmental is part of human nature, another ventured that it was. Check out the conversation that ensued among the various participants:

“I don’t think being judgmental is bad, personally. I think the way that most people think about it is bad. Yes, it’s a constant. Like you said, it’s human nature. We all look at somebody, we look at a situation, everything, you make judgments and you make your decisions based on those judgments. If we didn’t have any judgments then you would just be an idiot, you wouldn’t do anything for any reason.” “No sense.”

“Yes, you have to have some kind of understanding of what’s going on, right.”

“You’re making judgment calls, basically.”

“It’s what you do with that judgment and taking other pieces of information through religion that can lead to very negative things. But it can also lead to very positive things. They’re just completely dependent on how you take that information and put it into some kind of action….”

“Sometimes it is perfectly logical, and obviously, we have to make thousands and thousands of those calls every day probably, in some way or another. I would say, to me, a judgment has to be a leap some way.”

“But when I take that leap and then start condemning other people for it and telling them that they have to be as me, or else.”

“I’m not saying there are not judgments that are inappropriate.”

“Yes. You’ve got that sliding scale where judgment goes from how to live life to how to harm others.”

“I agree with that. I think that it’s not necessarily wrong to think that someone should do something a certain way. Every philosopher, period, has done that. They’ve all thought that their way of thinking was the best way, or maybe not the best but what should people probably do. Anyone who is talking about morals is talking about how they think people should do things. The difference is when you start to go from, ‘I judge people should do this’ to ‘I judge people
do this and unless they do I think this is going to happen to them’ or ‘I’m going to do something to them….’”

“I’ve met some people before, in life, who approach things more from the standpoint of, ‘This is what truth I feel like I’ve found for myself. I’m not going to tell you whether it’s right or wrong because it works for me and that’s as far as I’ll go with it. If you like it and want to play around with it in your life, cool. Otherwise, don’t worry about it.’ Yes, that’s just sharing their own personal experience and that’s, yay, do that all day long.”

These guys had the guts to admit they were being intolerant. The problem? They shifted the argument to say their own intolerance was good but other people’s intolerance was bad.

GOOD BIGOTS AND BAD BIGOTS

Not all the focus groups saw they were doing the same thing they scorned in others. So the facilitator served up a real-life scenario. She asked the San Francisco women: “You’re an 18-year-old going to college and your roommate is an evangelical Christian. Knowing that, do you switch roommates?” Here was the conversation that followed:

“That’s a factor.”

“That’s prejudiced. That’s like finding out somebody’s gay, or finding out somebody’s a different ethnicity. That’s full-on prejudiced, to just say, ‘I know one thing about this person, and I don’t want to room with them.’ That’s going against everything we say we have a problem with, with them. That seems totally wrong. If they’re a jerk, and they happen to be an evangelical Christian, that’s something different. Based on their faith, that’s pure prejudice.”

“I think it’d be more likely for them to be judging me, than me judging them….”

“I feel like all the judgments being made are more just the whole institution of it, but with individual people, you don’t know how they’re going to be….”

“I feel like we’re bashing them.”
“Yes. If I believe in that and I found out my roommate is an evangelical, I would probably want to switch.”

The issue of tolerance moved from the theoretical to the personal. They claimed to oppose intolerance. But at least some of the San Francisco women were unwilling to live by their own rules and room with a Christian. Their response was—in their own words—“prejudiced,” “judging,” and “bashing.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m not feeling the tolerance. Imagine if participants made these comments about African Americans. Women. Asians. Homeless people. Left-handed people. Democrats. Homosexuals. Pick a group. Do you think the conversation would have continued? Intolerance isn’t just a Christian issue but a human issue. It is not a case of the tolerant versus the intolerant but the intolerant versus the intolerant. So how do we find our way forward? By looking at tolerance biblically and practically from the Christian perspective that God is, in fact, intolerant.

This series of 30 daily devotions are adapted from the first chapters of Pastor Mark Driscoll’s new book “Christians Might Be Crazy” available exclusively at markdriscoll.org for a tax-deductible gift to Mark Driscoll Ministries. For your gift of any amount, we will email you a digital copy of the book (available worldwide) and also send you a paperback copy of the book (U.S. residents only). Pastor Mark also has a corresponding six-part sermon series that you can find for free at markdriscoll.org or on the free Mark Driscoll Ministries app. Thank you in advance for your partnership which helps people learn that It’s All About Jesus! For our monthly partners who give a recurring gift each month, this premium content will be automatically sent.


Mark Driscoll
hello@markdriscoll.org

Pastor Mark Driscoll is a Jesus-following, mission-leading, church-serving, people-loving, Bible-preaching pastor. He’s grateful to be a nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody. Read More