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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Worldview: The Most Impolite of Topics

imageThe popular use of "tolerance" means we shouldn't embrace religion which makes exclusive claims. The popular use of “tolerance” means there is no absolute truth. The popular use of “tolerance” cannot accept genuine Christian faith.


Five great questions of life: Life * Love * Learning * Labor * Leadership

Learning: What's My Worldview?

Worldview: The Most Impolite of Topics

By Evan Nehring

We've all seen the symbols of the Coexist bumper sticker:
  • The Islamic moon
  • A peace symbol
  • A gender symbol – male and female
  • A Star of David (Jewish)
  • A pagan symbol
  • A ying-yang (Eastern religion)
  • A Christian cross
Photo Credit: Lynn Friedman on Flickr Creative Commons
The image is anchored on either end and in the middle by the three “Abrahamic faiths”: Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Do bumper stickers and t-shirts so adorned fit in well on the college campus today? Yes, they do.
For the record, how could anyone possibly disagree with the foundational claim of this sticker, which is “Don't kill each other”? My purpose, though, isn't to argue about which of these is the “religion of peace.” I want to talk about the milieu of worldviews introduced and championed on the college campus. More posts to follow. (You can get them in your email inbox by subscribing below.)


The campus call is for tolerance. Again, not killing each other is a good thing. That, however, is not what they mean by “tolerance.” The popular use of tolerance means we shouldn't embrace religion which makes exclusive claims. The popular use of “tolerance” means there is no absolute truth. The popular use of “tolerance” cannot accept genuine Christian faith.
Tolerance says, “If I deem an action acceptable, I will redefine words and traditions to make it fit in. If I deem an action unacceptable, I will redefine words and traditions to make that action seem radical.” Mercy says, “Truth is what it is. Your actions are good or evil according to God’s law. I will love you in your imperfections as I hope to be loved in mine.”
But if Christianity is not absolutely true, then it is evil. The new atheists see this clearly and use it to their advantage. If Jesus is not truly the Son of God, then these two millennia of the Christian church are two thousand years of bondage and deceit. If, on the other hand, Jesus is the Son of God, tolerance means something very different.
What Jesus-followers cannot abide is the intentional muddying of the waters. Instead of pursuing truth, universities often hide the truth to fill tuition accounts and protect tenure. Truth is lost at the peril of men, women, children and free society.
The Apostle Paul talked about the battle for truth:
The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn't fight fair. But we don't live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6, The Message)
What’s at stake? Only the life, happiness, freedom and eternal destiny of humanity. No pressure! But all we have to do is first stand in the truth, then listen for the Father’s direction.


Comments Are Always Welcome...

So, have I shattered my image as a polite, respectful individual? How have your conversations about worldview turned out?

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  1. Good one. As Dylan once said "You Gotta Serve Somebody".

  2. This is so relevant to me. Being in college currently, even a christian college, I find a lot 'tolerance' in the popular sense.

    Though I disagree with harshly criticizing other faiths, I don't think we should let them run amuck and shrug our shoulders saying "who's to say?" I wish our culture could cultivate a better atmosphere for philosophical and worldview debate. If we could respectfully and objectively engage in debate over these worldviews, we'd see a lot of fruit. But similar to what you've said, we live in a society that doesn't want the debate at all. It doesn't want truth. It wants individualism and relativism.

    1. Thanks for the comment Drew. I agree that a rationale conversation about meaningful things is often lacking. It scares me how shallow people can be. I guess the opposite would be bad too: to make everything a life and death situation. Couldn't we embrace the realities of life with honesty and a touch of class? Seems like that's where you're heading. All the best in your studies!