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« Logic & Religion | Main | Links Mentioned on the Show »

September 20, 2012


You might have to ask the tolerance question before you speak to the John 3:16 verse that is on your coffee mug. It is a great conversation starter at break time at work. It is also a great way to confess Christ before men. Get items like these at:

Yes except the only difference is that the people who have no problem with homosexuality aren't the ones who handle public policy. On the other hand, ask any legislator who opposes gay marriage and they will cite the bible as their authority, or that it's "morally wrong" which also harkens back to "the good book." Most people don't have a problem putting up with christians; it's when you all start to force your worldview unto others that there's a problem.

If a Self can force himself onto another, then he can force himself onto another. Tooth and Claw. There is no Ought and Ought-Not. There is only Can and Cannot. The Self who comes out on top, who wins, who survives, who is tougher, stronger, survives and is king.

This is the reality we wake to find ourselves within.

I find nothing at all anywhere in nature which provides us with any other reality. Whim, and whim, and more whim. That which perpetuates the Self, the species, its reproduction.

Like rape.

This is all there is.


Then I guess there's no problem. Because I am not trying to "force" anyone to agree with me.

Do you really mean that my talking about my point of view and voting in accordance with my worldview is the same thing as trying to force my worldview on others? By that definition, everyone who votes or talks about their opinion regarding anything is trying to "force" their worldview on other people unless you say that's only the case when Christians do that which doesn't make any sense.

None of us have a problem with those with whom we disagree until they actually attempt to act on their beliefs. Then they are "forcing" their worldview on us. Only I get to do that, not you.

The abolition of slavery was achieved by killing those who disagreed with another in a bloody war. People just liked having their slaves. I guess Joe would have been against forcing the abolitionists views onto the slave-owners. We were not as fortunate as the UK in which the liberation of slaves came about without war due to the worldview of a Christian who pushed, and pushed, and pushed until he achieved his goal via a purely political process. I guess Joe would have been against that, too.

@scbrownlhrm You are in a dark place. But you do not have to remain there.

Do you want to know One who can save you from the horror of Self and the pit that living by Self's desires will bring you to? Jesus the Christ is that One who can save you. By repenting of Self and its demands and giving your life over to the One who alone loves you and proved it by doing what your Self could never do, namely giving His sinless life for your sinful one. The Just for the unjust. So that you could be free of Self and the consequences of its domineering control over you.

Christ proved His love for you by taking the wrath of God the Father on that cross of shame for your sins so that you, if you would trust in Christ alone, could enjoy freedom from the punishment and power of your sins. In other words, freedom to release you from your current "reality" to one where you will become an adopted child of God. In that reality, He will never leave nor forsake you.

Simply go to Him in humility and tell Him that you are a sinner, just as His word says (Romans 3:23) but that you want the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23). Then express your willingness to turn from Self and its sins to serve Christ as Lord. The One who now has control over your life. Tell Him you trust His promise that He will save you (Acts 2:21) and then in gratitude for His great gift, read His word daily to get to know Christ, pray to Him for your needs and find a Christ-honoring church who believes and obeys the Bible.

I can guarantee that if you come to God on His terms as outlined above, you will be satisfied with His promises of mercy and grace to you.

The problem is that such people are often genuinely ignorant of the fact that what they really mean by "tolerance" is toleration of those who conform to their view. In my experience most such people truly cannot see the contradiction that the preface you suggest casts light upon.

How I'm to be tolerent...

I'm supposed to 'tolerate', for example, your opposition to gay marriage.

And, if you succeed in preventing gay marriage (which ain't likely) I then will need to 'tolerate' your opposition to civil unions.

And, then: if you succeed in preventing (or rolling back) civil unions I then will have to 'tolerate' your re-introduction of sodomy laws.

I guess I'll skip being 'tolerant'.

(I'm not using 'you' to refer to any particular individual; I'm using it to refer to a certain historical lineage of views.)



If a Self can force himself onto another, then he can force himself onto another. Tooth and Claw. There is no Ought and Ought-Not. There is only Can and Cannot. The Self who comes out on top, who wins, who survives, who is tougher, stronger, survives and is king.

This is the reality we wake to find ourselves within.

I find nothing at all anywhere in nature which provides us with any other reality. Whim, and whim, and more whim. That which perpetuates the Self, the species, its reproduction.

Like rape.

This is all there is.

This is your ceiling, RonH.

I must say, RonH is at least willing to stand up for something and push, and push some more. Unlike our friend Joe.

Conversely, RonH, I'm supposed to "tolerate" the support of same-sex marriage, to "tolerate" same-sex civil unions, and to "tolerate" sodomy, (not to mention abortion, pornography, and a host of other detestable things). You want to opt-out of tolerance--how convenient!

I think a key tactical point here is to clear the air of the rhetorical "tolerance" nonsense and return to discussing the reasons for why we hold a particular belief. Labeling one "intolerant" is simply an ad hominem attack and is a non-starter as it relates to understanding the reasons for a particular belief.

Though I disagree that this is really what the thrust of the OP is about, I can agree to do this. The answer to the reason for opposing all of the things mentioned in my post is found in God's Word. Each of those things are counter to His Word and detrimental to living the holy lives we are called to live. I cannot be for what God is against. Now I well realize that society does not, as a whole, always value what I value or feel compelled to answer to God. That does not prevent me from fighting against it as long as I can before that becomes my only option. And then I am left with knowing that there exists a huge chasm between what I know is right and good, and what society celebrates as right and good. I do not accept their understanding, but I tolerate that they are seeing it the way they see it. I understand from RonH that, should the tide turn the other way, he wants to skip being tolerant--a stance called "intolerance"...

William Wilberforce and Jesus and Paul and Martin Luther King Jr., and others, have given (perhaps, perhaps not) a pattern of achieving that seemingly impossible balance of Grace and Truth. Truth is, by definition, intolerant as it insists, and always insists, that the sum of 2 and 2 is 4. It will not tolerate five. In fact, it “cannot” tolerate five, for it is, simply, Truth. Truth cannot Sin, in a sense.

Enter Sin. Ours.
Enter Error. Ours.
Enter Grace. His.

When Truth comes and manifests Himself into Error, something too difficult for me happens. He, somehow, loves, embraces, takes in, and, simultaneously, He remains unmistakably Truthful, unmistakably insistent. Love made Flesh is described as “……full of grace and truth………”

All Grace? No, but yes.
All Truth? No, but yes.

Is an actual fullness of Grace there? Yes. Is an actual fullness of Truth there? Yes.

This Perfect-Tension between Truth and Grace is the benchmark.

I am nowhere close to this pattern in my own life. In my own self I find a kind of release which helps me get a little closer to that pattern and that release is to settle within myself that my hope is in that other Kingdom, that other City, and not so much in any kingdom here. This is not escapism. It is realism. I know all our efforts here will fail to bring us to Utopia. I settle on this. I give it up. C.S. Lewis reminds us that it has been those most concerned with that Other-Kingdom of His Truth/Love who have successfully brought the most change to this kingdom here, who have, by aiming There, brought life and liberty and peace here.

Would I trade a law for a soul? Or is that too much Grace?

Would I trade a soul for a law? Or is that too much Truth?

Can I chase both? It seems both are obtainable, but one is given as a result of aiming for the other.

Truth is aiming at Souls and not the Roman Senate’s methodology: Jesus is the ultimate realist and knows the Roman Senate will be extinct in a short amount of time and thus points Pilate to Himself as the solution.

And, in dying, in death, His enemy is overcome, although not the enemy of the Roman Senate, but another enemy. Paul, John, Peter, Wilberforce, Martin Luther King Jr., and countless others all follow Him into the arena. They do not run and hide in a cave, reading scripture, praying for wrath to come, and singing hymns. In aiming at another World these men changed this world. Life for Other comes by Dying to Self, not by killing Other. God’s Kingdom is the Inverse of the Atheist’s kingdom wherein the toughest survive.

On the surface it would seem that Wilberforce and MLK were aiming at the Senate, but one must study their lives. Their mind and heart were fixed on, motivated by, quite a different Entity.

Into the Madness of our politics, our world, Truth made Flesh steps in, and, there, then, in that culture 2000 years ago we find several instances of bills in the Roman Senate to mandate marriage because “……the men in the upper classes were not getting married. Women and marriage were considered a pain and a problem and men simply went to prostitutes. Women were either a burden or a commodity”. Men owned estates, and men left wills of inheritance. Not woman. Woman and children were a few steps above a slave, as far as "general cultural valuing". If one was the Emperor, or if one was rich, then, simply, that Might translated to Right. The Male had legal standing in so many ways which women did not, and, that "Stronger" arena was used not only by men in relation to woman, but by adults in relation to children and by Emperors in relation to everyone. Cesar's decree stood. “Might was, or made, or translated to, somehow, "the way things will be"”. This goes on and on in many other examples which to us sound odd or simply cold or even cruel. After 2000 years of Christ’s teachings morphing all of that into the mindset of what Gandhi called the Christianized conscience we now think those things could not have been "the norm in people's thinking". But they were.

When Jesus and Peter and Paul speak into that mindset about valuing children and women, it was, then, not merely odd, but practically suicide. We're told, or, they said, injected, into that culture, that we are all to love one another and that there is no line of distinction in God's view: Jew, Greek, Gentile, Male, Female, Slave, Free, Child, Parent. We're told, or they injected into that culture, that Men are to honor and treat their wives the way Jesus loves and treats us: He gives up his very Self, his very Life, for us. Men: give up your whole life for your wife. We're told to treat our children gently, and value them. Slave owners are told to place their Slave above themselves: treat your slaves as you would Christ.

The economic consequences of Philemon could be devastating. Equality is lethal. Paul and Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. paid the price for insisting that the world ought to do things according to that Other Kingdom’s pattern. Their lives were all about Truth, and, yet, all about Grace and full of Grace towards everyone. Even those who killed them.

This too cost lives: Men, your wives are Joint-Heirs with you. The Laws of Inheritance in Love's Kingdom are Inverse to the laws of inheritance in Rome. Woman Inherit in His Kingdom, and, not only that, they inherit "Jointly" with the men. Equally. A little history lesson and we realize this incited fear and then anger as it threatened every man’s notion of safety.

This too cost lives: Men, you are to shift your thinking out of "My might means I’m right" and, instead, “….treat someone who can’t carry as many rocks as you can…” (honor the woman as the weaker vessel) as God treats those who are weaker than Him: He comes as their Servant, and He gives Himself to, for, unto, their benefit. Honor them as the weaker in the way God (the stronger) honors all people (the weaker). Copy Love’s Pattern. Become like Him.

All of that Truth was lethal to those insisting on it: This inverse of Might's status, this inverse of the laws of inheritance, this business about treating slaves as if they are Christ, and this business about Jew, Greek, Gentile, Slave, Free, Male, Female, Child, and Parent being equal were lethal. Men died for insisting on Truth all the while pouring out Grace to those who killed them. "All men are equal" were killing words in first century Palestine, as well as in America in the 1960's when MLK, a follower of Christ and a Pastor spread the dangerous Message which Love's Kingdom is revealing. They aimed High for the sake of the High, not for the sake of the Low, all the while pouring out Grace to those who killed them. Word becomes Flesh and pours out unmistakable Truth all the while spreading His arms wide and pouring out Grace. He Himself writes our error on the chalk board in huge letters for all to see and tells us we are as dark as night and He Himself then proceeds to erase it and tells us we are whiter than snow. “Love your enemies” is suicide in this world of the toughest survive. But that world, this world of the toughest survive, is their world and not ours. We are Citizens of another City.

R. Zacharias is helpful here: “"[Jesus] was the meekest and lowliest of all the sons of men," wrote Scottish nobleman James Stewart, "yet he spoke of coming on the clouds of heaven with the glory of God... No one was half so kind or compassionate to sinners yet no one ever spoke such red-hot scorching words about sin... His whole life was love. Yet on one occasion he demanded of the Pharisees how they ever expected to escape the damnation of hell... He saved others but at the last, Himself He did not save. There is nothing in history like the union of contrasts which confront us in the Gospels."”


Suppose you refrained from trying to legally prevent gay marriage.

How does that make you less Christian?


RonH, I believe the answer to your question is that people of principle stand up for what is right and fight against what is wrong. As a Christian, I see the devastation that sin causes and how far it pulls us from a relationship with God. Christians are called by Christ to share the good news of salvation, to proclaim what is right and good in God's economy, and to shine His light in the darkness. If I take the easy road and close my eyes to the evil and do nothing to stop it, I am complicit in it. And that makes me part of the problem and not part of the solution. That's a recipe for how to be an ineffective and impotent Christian. I am called to more; I can do no less.


"Suppose you refrained from trying to legally prevent gay marriage."

You can neither refrain or engage in preventing something that does not exist.


Thanks for your reply.

It's a bit frustrating, though, in that it talks around my question without quite answering it.

Do you try to legally prevent, say, adultery or lying?

I'm guessing the answer is No.

Yet your response applies here too. Doesn't it?


Sorry Louis, I'm just not going there.

Last I checked, Ron H, there was no legislation on the books to try to change our acceptance of adultery or lying through the legal process. "Gay marriage" (an oxymoron) intends to alter the definition of marriage, to make it something it isn't, and to require the populace to go along with it from a legal perspective. I never went through any back-door approach to answer your question or to talk around it. It stands as I wrote it and believe it. Indeed, I find your response somewhat puzzling...

> I guess I'll skip being 'tolerant'.

Which is why the tactic won't work. I've run into a growing number of leftists who, when confronted with their own intolerance, simply say they have no intention of being tolerant of bigots.

Their attitude has one goal: to shut the other side up. I'm not complying with the "doctrine of shut up" anymore. I'll say it with love, I'll say it gently...but I will say it.

I should add: there are no longer any simple disagreements for leftists. Every disagreement has its basis in hate or bigotry. it's nearly impossible to have a discussion, but to capitulate to the wish to silence those who disagree with them is simply not the answer.


Those marks I put around the word tolerant are there for a reason: they mean I reject meaning the OP suggests for the word.

Oscar Wilde and Alan Turing died of such 'tolerance'.


Oh, I understand. I work in a very liberal place.

> Is it safe to give my opinion, or are you going to judge me for my point of view? Do you respect diverse ideas, or do you condemn others for convictions that differ from yours?



Is it safe to give my opinion, or are you going to judge me for my point of view? Do you respect diverse ideas, or do you condemn others for convictions that differ from yours?

Let's look into this part of the OP's gambit. The alternatives offered smell a bit off.

Is it safe to give my opinion,

Safe? Yes, I will limit my response to words.

OR are you going to judge me for my point of view?

Judging you (by most common meanings) is not a mutually exclusive alternative to promising your safety.

Do you respect diverse ideas,

Yes! And I have changed my mind about things.

OR do you condemn others for convictions that differ from yours?

Condemning some convictions is not a mutually exclusive alternative to respecting diverse ideas. Even condemning (what does it mean) some others for some convictions is not a mutually exclusive alternative to respecting diverse ideas.


> Even condemning (what does it mean) some others for some convictions is not a mutually exclusive alternative to respecting diverse ideas.

That has not been my experience in the liberal circles I move in.


Either two things are mutually exclusive alternatives or they are not.

In this case, they are not.

And that doesn't depend you your experience regardless of the circles you move in.

Is it safe to give my opinion, or are you going to judge me for my point of view? Do you respect diverse ideas, or do you condemn others for convictions that differ from yours?

Is that one false dilemma or two?


Why the excessive splitting hairs over words like "tolerant", "safe", and "condemn", RonH? Before you jump to saying that Greg himself points out the necessity to clearly define our terms, I'm asking here because we ALL get the gist of this particular conversation. We are discussing what happens when the Believer wants to discuss controversial opinions with someone who, in all likelihood, does not share those opinions. The OP is pointing out a method of heading the likely intolerant listener off at the pass, setting up the dialogue in such a way that the speaker doesn't immediately get ambushed with the current cliches of the day--bigot, hater, etc. This gets the discussion nowhere and continues to marginalize those with diverse opinions (the game plan, of course). The OP is simulaneously pointing out that this is the mountain we have to climb before we can even HAVE a discussion of diverse ideas in todays culture. Shutting down the opposition by hurling the tiresome, overused epithets
of "racist", "bigot", and "hater" are obvious ploys to put an abrupt stop to the unpopular ideas about to be discussed. Such devices are childish, disengenuous, and sophomoric. You are an intelligent man, RonH, and your "what does it mean" comments appear feigned and insincere. In the context of the discussion here, we all know what's being referred to.


Maybe my critique of the OP has been too - I don't know -subtle.

OK, you have given me some ideas.

If you are offered something like this...

Is it safe to give my opinion, or are you going to judge me for my point of view? Do you respect diverse ideas, or do you condemn others for convictions that differ from yours?
... you are being set up for a childish, disingenuous, sophomoric, and insincere ambush. They have assumed in advance that your view is due to your fallen nature. And, they will cry that you have oppressed them if you refuse to be bound by their religious dogma. Shake the dust from your shoes and find someone else to talk with.


You're entitled to see it any way you want, RonH.


I'm glad someone is speaking some sense here, I'm with you all the way.

These catch phrases of intolerence/bigots/whatever else someone may wish to label another does not provide any kind of reasoned response to their position. In my mind any kind of name calling signals that the person in question has lost the argument and is using inflammatory words to cover themselves.

It seems the primary thrust of the OP is to bring everyone’s attention to the fact that everyone is intolerant of some act/prescription at some point: “…….the fact that there’s no morally neutral ground. Everybody has a point of view they think is right and everybody judges at some point or another. The Christian gets pigeon-holed as the judgmental one, but everyone else is judging, too. It’s an inescapable consequence of believing in any kind of morality…..”

No one is “Amoral”.

Some hold that we live in an amoral universe.
Others hold that we live in a moral universe.

Some have a Ceiling which is so low as to make of certain things simple illusion.

Now, those who hold that the universe is a moral universe by definition and by default have logic and reason beneath various lines in the sand. Well, something beyond illusion, at least.

It seems those who hold we live in an amoral universe are somewhat fond of thinking that they are never, ever, intolerant of anything. They seem to think that they never judge anything as wrong/right, ever. But the point of the OP is that we all do, and we all do quite often.

The Christian concedes this, and has reason to.
The Amoral crowd seems to resist being labeled judgmental, and does not concede that they too make calls on what is right/wrong all the time.

How odd. All this fuss over stating the obvious: we all make calls on what is right/wrong all the time.

“We all make calls on what is right/wrong all the time.” That seems to be too much for some to concede.

And the Amoral crowd? What of their logic? First, they refuse to concede the obvious: they make calls on what is right/wrong all the time (we all do). Secondly, they have an illogical approach to what is at bottom an illusion on their part.

If you hold to an Amoral Universe and have ever called anything right or wrong:

It seems you have forgotten, or, willfully refuse to acknowledge, your own Ceiling. What of any line in the sand whatsoever? Tooth and Claw. Whim. The phallus and the fist. You are there. Yours is a world and an argument of illusion, and, given your Ceiling, it turns out there actually are things that cannot exist given such a Ceiling. Your words are too lofty for the world you live in, given its Ceiling. Your premises all lack the necessary Subtext to support the weight of your Context, given your Ceiling. Whim. More whim. And more whim.

I have heard you argue 'Good' based on that which perpetuates the species. Well then: Enter Rape. Will you amend your definition? To what then? Utility? Well then: given finite resources and mathematics: Enter Slavery. Will you yet further amend your definition then? To what? Whim? Well then: Enter the phallus and the fist. You must, it seems, be reminded that you are making arguments, or trying to, which the height of your Ceiling will not permit. There are things which can and cannot exist, given various realities. What is "Real"? What "exists”?

Don't forget your Ceiling: the cloud up there in the sky that looks like the hand of Jesus waving at us……it’s all just aimless particles void of will, void of sight, void of intent, void of choice. Compressing such systems into our skull changes nothing. All is a downhill cascade. That hand of Jesus up in the cloud in the sky appears intentional. But we all know, and you know, and we know that you know, that falling dominos are void of intent. They are slaves. It's all a temporary illusion in which blind psychic phosphorescence rises no higher than those momentary and accidental patterns produced by blind forces constraining aimless reverberations of photons arising from a deterministic dance to blind, indifferent genes.

What "exists" in such an amoral universe, exactly?

We must in this little room beneath this shallow Ceiling speak of Love, as the Highest Ethic is, as it turns out, Love. What is Love, exactly? An irrationally conditioned, and, at bottom, blind, reflex?

A step further: What is I-You? Another step further: Is there such a thing as a Singular-We? What, exactly, is that? What "exists"? What is real and what is illusion? What in the world are you even arguing about here? I'm not sure I see the point about any of the words you are speaking, given your Ceiling. Given your Ceiling, some things just can't exist.

Fortunately, though your Ceiling cannot permit Love, and makes of Love an illusion, it turns out that the real illusion is not Love, but your Ceiling. God is Love, thus, what of this: Do we hate the intentional rape of a child? Is Hate ever tolerable? Does Love hate those things which bring real harm to real Persons? Is there anything, anywhere, which brings real harm to real Persons? Is the intentional rape of a person *worthy* of *hate*? Do we *hate* the rape while loving the *person*? What is “Person” given your Ceiling? Fortunately, though your Ceiling cannot permit Person, and makes of Person an illusion, it turns out that the real illusion is not Person, but your Ceiling, just as, though your Ceiling cannot permit Love, and makes of Love an illusion, it turns out that the real illusion is not Love, but your Ceiling.


You said:
"I'm supposed to 'tolerate', for example, your opposition to gay marriage."

Yes - if you claim to be tolerant. Supporters of sodomite unions tend to profess as such.

I don't profess any such thing - so I am free to be intolerant of evil. Why should I tolerate something that is so clearly wrong? Liberals on the other hand end up looking like hypocrites for the most part.

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