The Religion Of Tolerance

One of the main religions sweeping America today and the world at large is not Christianity, nor is it Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Mormonism or any other –ism that comes to mind (except secular humanism).  Rather, it is the religion of “tolerance.”  The cry of tolerance echoes throughout the land.  It is used as a benchmark when assessing the attributes of possible leaders and its opposite is used to castigate those who threaten the idea of acceptance.  The tolerance spoken of today does not pertain to unlawful discrimination based upon race, gender, national origin, creed or religion but rather it is a tolerance of lifestyle. 

Numerous other words are used to convey this idea of tolerance including broad-mindedness, open-mindedness, patience and lenience.  These seem to be descriptive terms that would imply that a person is a good person, loving and accepting of others.  On the other hand, no one wants to be described as close-minded, narrow-minded, impatient, bigoted or unforgiving.  The idea of being classified as another “Archie Bunker” doesn’t generally appeal to many people

Tolerance has become a very powerful word in the common vernacular and the idea it conveys is that society will grant each individual the opportunity to experience life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without the burdens imposed by bias, discrimination or societal condemnation.  It is believed, or at least propagated, that the lifting of these barriers to personal development will result in the advancement of mankind not just on a personal level but also on a societal level.  Without the artificial guidelines imposed by intolerance, people will be healthier and happier.  At least that is what we are told is the truth.


On its face the concept of tolerance appears to be very positive.  “Can’t we all just get along?” has been voiced over and over again.  Nobody wants to be divisive and no one wants to deal with confrontation.  Surely, at a minimum, we should be able to tolerate each other so that we can all live happy and productive lives. 

The problem with the religion of tolerance is that, by definition, the boundaries of society become blurred.  Rules once applicable to everyone now apply to no one.  Topics once thought taboo are open for exploration in the name of tolerance.

We now see tolerance evident in virtually every aspect of life.  The gay lifestyle, once condemned, is now commonly accepted and even protected by law; in fact, we see movement to legalize and legitimize gay marriage in other nations and certain states.    Language that would once get your mouth washed out with soap is now common in open society and over the airwaves.  Television portrays sexual acts and innuendo that before would be considered criminal.  Fornication is no longer called illicit sex; it is love without guilt and co-habitation. Expression of opinion based upon moral standards and religious belief is now classified as “hate speech” subjecting one to possible criminal prosecution despite the existence of the First Amendment.   

Tolerance is alive and well unless you profess the Christian faith.  If you are a Christian, you may not voice your opinions unless you are willing to accept the consequences, including arrest (in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) or loss of job.  

Jesus Christ of the New Testament is usually portrayed as a loving, accepting Savior of mankind.  Even those who do not profess Him as the Son of God will say that He was a prophet or a good man.  After all, didn’t He say:

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matt 11:28-30 (KJV)

Surely, a person such as this understands and would be tolerant of others.  Wasn’t His a message of love, i.e. loving your neighbor as yourself?  Surely, there can be no condemnation here.

Make no mistake about it - Jesus Christ of the New Testament is the embodiment of love, mercy and grace.  His sacrifice on the cross at Calvary paid the price, once and for all, for all of the sins of mankind for those who believe in Him.  He loved the sinner.  However, in our quest to rationalize our behavior, we sometimes neglect to consider the last verse of this passage.

10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Matt 9:10-13 (KJV)

Jesus was very concerned about the unrighteous or the sinner and desired each to come to the saving grace offered through Him.  However, if that gift of grace is not accepted, there is a price to be paid and God, on the day of judgment, will be anything but tolerant.

2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. 4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: 2 Peter 2:2-9 (KJV)


Paul, in his letter to Corinth, was explicit about the eternal consequences of an immoral lifestyle.  He was a very direct person who understood the status of those who would stand before the Judgment Seat of God without the precious blood of Christ covering their sins.  After all, he had persecuted the Christians of his time, had looked approvingly upon the stoning of Stephen and considered himself to be the worst among sinners.

9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor 6:9-11 (KJV)

The people of whom he spoke were unrepentant sinners.  He specifically mentions that some of those in Corinth were guilty of these sins in this passage but now were considered clean (washed, sanctified or justified) through the blood of Jesus Christ.

James, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote:

4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. James 4:4 (KJV)

So many of us today want to be friends of the world; after all, there are numerous benefits to be realized by being of the world.  We can attain pleasure, wealth, power and glory if we are just willing to play the game.  But make no mistake about it, being of the world makes you the enemy of God.  Additionally, there is no middle ground here; failure to make a decision for God is making a decision against God.  It is healthy to keep in mind the treatment accorded those who have stood in opposition to God throughout history.

Jesus Himself, talked about the final judgment and the end of the age.  With the end of the age, there would be the onset of eternity.  Eternity would bring either life eternal or everlasting punishment.

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. * * *  41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Matt 25:31-33, 41-46 (KJV)

Finally, a very dramatic picture is painted at the end of the Book of Revelation.  This illustration portrays what is commonly referred to as the “Great White Throne Judgment.” 

11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Rev 20:11-15


There are a great number of people who love to believe that entrance into heaven is based on works, i.e. whether they are “good” or not.  The good in their minds is a good based upon the perception of good acts outweighing bad acts.  There are also a number of people who adhere to the idea of tolerance and the belief that tolerance is a universal concept with applicability not just in the here and now but also in the hereafter. 

It will be a horrible realization in that day:  God is not tolerant when it comes to the final judgment.  God has in many instances been patient and long-suffering with mankind desiring that none be lost but rather that all be saved through grace and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  God demonstrated love, mercy and grace throughout the Biblical account.  However, when God’s patience has been exhausted and His plan has been fulfilled, there will be a judgment.  That judgment will be final and not subject to appeal.  And despite what one may want or wish or hope for, tolerance will not be a factor.  The reason – God is loving, kind and merciful; God is also holy, righteous and just.  Sin, absent the salvation provided through the blood of Christ, will not be a subject a tolerance before Him but instead will be a matter of judgment.

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