Vol. 8, No. 5
~ Page 14 ~
In the minds of many Americans, there are two concepts which always go together. Those concepts constitute the title of our article today. The idea is that if someone is doing something that others consider to be wrong and those who consider that activity to be wrong say so, they are being both judgmental and intolerant. For example, if I were to say that it is an evil thing for adults to have sexual relationships with minor children, there are many people who would say that I am being both judgmental and intolerant. (Incidentally, there are many Americans who would say that and many books have been written extolling the so-called virtues of adults and children having sexual relationships. But that is a subject for later articles.) I would fully grant that if I made the judgment that it is an evil thing for adults to exploit children for sexual purposes that I would be "judgmental." All of us are judgmental about something even if it is only being judgmental about others being judgmental. Where did we ever get the silly idea that it is wrong to be judgmental? Not from good thinking, we can be assured of that. While I would be being judgmental in the above case, would I be being intolerant? We often sling words around without ever even stopping to try and define what we are talking about!
Popular thinking, or lack of it, likes to assert that if a person condemns a thing as being wrong, he is being intolerant. Such is not the case! To be tolerant is to endure things that we do not like and that we believe to be wrong. This writer believes drunkenness to be a sin, and if he could have his way he would dry this country up so dry that you would have to prime a man before he could spit. Does he tolerate the sale and use of alcohol, even to excess? Yes, indeed! He has bombed no bars, beaten, battered, bruised or in any way harmed those who use the drug alcohol. Does he tolerate its use? Indeed! Does he like it? No! By what means will he fight it? Only by those means that are legal and protected by the laws of man and of God! Will he keep on telling people it is wrong? Oh, yes! Will he plead with people to give it up? Absolutely! Is he being intolerant when he exercises the rights mentioned above? Absolutely not!
Now, let us apply this same kind of thinking to other areas of life. Can the same be said for adultery, lying, stealing and other things that people do in their day to day activity? Yes, it can. When one says that it is wrong to steal, is he being judgmental? Yes! Is he being intolerant? Not unless he takes the "law into his own hands" and goes about punishing those whom he believes to be thieves. Let us look at the matter of sexual relationships outside marriage. If one says that is wrong, is he being judgmental? Yes. Upon what is his judgment based? The same thing as all the other matters we have discussed--the Bible. Is he being intolerant? Not unless he goes about taking some personal and violent action against those indulging in this behavior. If he tells people that what they are doing is wrong, is he being intolerant? Not by the wildest stretch of the imagination! As a matter of fact, he may be doing those persons the greatest favor that can ever be done for them by helping them to bring their lives in closer harmony with the will of God.
Do these same principles apply to matters of religion? Indeed they do, dear friends. For one to tell an idolater that he is wrong and should be worshiping the only true and living God of the universe may be judgmental, but allowing him to persist in what he is doing is a great act of tolerance. To have arguments and discussions with people about religious matters, and to attempt to persuade them to bring their thoughts and lives in harmony with the teachings of God as they are found in the Bible, may involve what some call judgmentalism, but it does not involve intolerance unless one makes a concerted effort to destroy their freedom to be wrong. Burning people at the stake who disagree with the Word of God would be intolerant, but pleading with them to change their minds is an act of kindness. Yes, I am judgmental, but I am not intolerant. If I were things would be radically different. [Such is the case owing to the fact that King Jesus reigns over a spiritual kingdom rather than a physical kingdom (John 18:36). Islam in action today demonstrates the fruit of religious intolerance associated with the concept of a physical, religious kingdom. Premillennialism contains within it the seeds for a similar harvest owing to its fundamental misconception that our Lord's kingdom is physical rather than spiritual. ~ Editor.]