Friday, October 26, 2012

On Tolerance (Possibly also known as "Why I Vote the Way I Do")

Inspired in part by this.  (Seriously, please go read it. She's only 18 and has such clear, concise wisdom.)
Partly in response to this.

Terms you need to know:

(All definitions taken from because I don't have a dictionary in my house.  Anyone want to get me one for Christmas?)

Believe - 1a - to have a firm religious faith.  1b - to accept something as true, genuine, or real.

Tolerance - 2a - sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own. b - the act of allowing something

Tolerate - 2a - to allow to be or to be done without prohibition, hindrance, or contradiction.  2b - to put up with.

Guys, I believe the Bible.
I believe every word of it.  It's been a long journey getting to this point and I've struggled through many a trial to get here, but I'm here now.  I'm here, where I believe every word in a Book written over the course of several centuries by several different people, with all sorts of implausible (wrote "plausible" there first . . . hmmm) circumstances surrounding it.
I don't believe it simply because my parents taught me to, or because I was raised in church or for any other reason except that the Holy Spirit within me has taught me when I felt like I didn't know anything and has reassured me when doubts started creeping in.
I may not be able to give you any logical reasons for believing it.  Who knows?  There may not be many logical reasons for believing it.  (If you're looking for logical reasons, though, I'd highly recommend any of C.S. Lewis or Francis Schaeffer's writings to you.)
I may not be able to convince you to believe it or even to respect the fact that I believe it, but I believe it, every word of it.

Without getting too deep into a discussion of absolute truth here, let me just reiterate the fact that, since I believe the Bible, I believe that it is the truth.  I believe everything in it is true.
Sorry.  Not trying to beat you guys over the head or anything.  Just making sure you're hearing what I'm trying to say.

Being in a creative discipline in college exposed me to a lot of the sentiment expressed here.  I completely understand where people are coming from who say these sort of things.  Okay, maybe not completely, but, to a certain extent, I understand wanting everyone to be happy and to be able to do whatever they want.  It seems like a good idea on the surface, and maybe, as the above link suggests, two men marrying each other somewhere will not have any effects on my marriage in the future, or, in fact on my present life.

But, the fact is, I don't make all my decisions based on how they affect me.  I love other people.  I care about how people's choices affect their lives.

Now back to my original point.  I believe the Bible.  In the bible, I'm told that certain things, homosexuality for one (but only one among many others), are sins.  In the Bible, God tells us that people who sin and don't repent go to hell when they die.

That means they die forever.

Guys, this is a hard thing to believe.  It's a hard thing to believe when it condemns people you know and love and have spent a great deal of time with. When it condemns even people in your family.

But I believe it because it is the truth, and the truth isn't something I can shape to fit what I, or anyone else, may wish it to be.

I realize that people believe things other than what I believe, and probably believe them with equal conviction.  I won't, can't, ignore that, and it pains me to see it.  People make choices, though.  They believe what they want to believe and there's nothing I can do to change that.

So let's talk about Tolerance.  What does tolerance mean after all?  I'm not sure any of us understands what we're saying when we toss this term back and forth.  Sure, you can go to the dictionary and define it like I just did (and you can look up "tolerate" too while you're at it, if you want), but I'm not sure that tidy definition is what we mean when we ask for "tolerance" from everyone or for everyone.

I think what we're looking for is something along the lines of "Love one another."
That's in the Bible.

Or "Do not judge one another."
That's in the Bible too.

I have many friends whom I love dearly and who have very different beliefs from me, and I would hope that they can all attest to the fact that I have loved them and that I haven't judged them, but one thing I cannot do is be tolerant of their beliefs according to the dictionary definition above.
This does not mean I'm going to go around hollering at people that they're going to hell.
I don't think that's very nice.
It does mean that, if you ask me, I will tell you the truth without apology, even though it will be hard for you to hear.
Because I love you.
It also means that I will not be voting for anyone who supports sin in any way.

"The wages of sin is death" is also in the Bible, and I believe it is true.
If I believe something might condemn you to death, I'm not about to vote for it.

Because the one thing I can't tolerate is your death.

Please note that I believe very strongly in free speech, so comment away, but if you comment anonymously, please sign your name at the bottom of your comment.
Also note that I believe strongly in private property and the rights to control it, and, until I am told otherwise, my blog is my private property, so I will be deleting any comments that are hurtful to others.


  1. I love you so much girl. Josh and I have been talking a lot about tolerance this election year, and I feel like you've articulated some of the issues around it so well. Living with graciousness and conviction isn't an easy dance but it's worth working through. And it's lovely seeing such a compassionate lovely lady as yourself write honestly about it.
    Peter says hi to his adoptive Auntie and his mommy needs a good phone talk some time!

    1. Oh my gosh, hi Peter! I can't believe he's talking already . . . quite the precocious little fella he is :-P
      I miss you so much. We should definitely talk very soon!

  2. Beautifully worded. I love the honesty of it.


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