Question: Some people today accuse Christians of being intolerant of their actions and beliefs, but aren’t Christians supposed to stand up for how the Bible teaches us to live? Does the Bible tell us that God approves of all religions, and that they are correct and are acceptable to Him?
Answer: The term tolerance is summoned into use today by people who are angered when their immoral actions are questioned by Christians. They don’t want anyone to disagree with the choices they make. They’re not using tolerance in its traditional meaning but trying to reinvent the term. According to Webster’s Dictionary, tolerance is a response to disagreement – to allow, permit, recognize, and respect others’ beliefs without agreeing with them; a conduct or point of view that one disagrees with but respects the person right to his opinion. Ironically, those who claim Christians are “intolerant” do not respect the Christians’ point of view and are actually intolerant themselves!
Jesus called His followers to share His eternal truths and challenge those in the world who are not living as He directed, those who are living in what God defined as sin, corruption, and darkness. For this reason, He called Christians to be “salt”, which adds flavor and prevents corruption, and “light”, which illumines truth and moral values and eliminates darkness. If it were true that Jesus gave people throughout the world different standards of righteousness, and different paths to Him, then He wouldn’t have pronounced that the world had much darkness and that His followers needed to spread His teachings that bring the light of eternal life. The Bible shows that there have been many times in world history when people didn’t follow God’s teachings of right and wrong, to their disadvantage and destruction. God gave all people the right to choose His way or not, to be either blessed or cursed:
In those days, there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 17:6
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. Isaiah 5:20
If we as Christians begin to believe that there are no absolute truths of right and wrong in life, then we also believe that many religions lead to pleasing God and, ultimately, eternal life, which Jesus clearly taught, is only available through Him:
I am the way the truth the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6
The apostle Paul warned of times like today, when people “would not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers and turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
If Christians wrongly teach that all beliefs are equally as true as Bible teachings, then we become tasteless salt, according to Jesus, and no longer of any use to God in our world:
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned again? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5: 13-16
Do you need courage to speak out for what Jesus has taught is right? Pray:
Jesus, please teach me your truths. Give me wisdom and courage to follow you in my thoughts, words, and actions, and have eternal life with you. Strengthen me to not be afraid of displeasing others and being rejected by them, if that is how they respond to your truths. Show me how to love others, in spite of their sins, showing respect and love to them even in their unbelief, just as you do. Thank you, Jesus!