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RISKY FAITH: RISING INTOLERANCE FOR CHRISTIANITY

By June 3, 2015 17 Comments

RISKY FAITHA 65-year old man “became” a woman and everyone from the President of the United States to ESPN applauded this as “courageous.” Freedom of speech has its obvious liabilities but until recently, to say the least, free speech was tolerated.

Anyone who expressed contrary opinions about this story were instantly demonized and dehumanized. If the commentator had any association with Christianity they were not only dismissed as deluded but derided as oppressively intolerant.

Increasingly, Christianity is not tolerated because of the need for greater tolerance.

Law-SocietyIntolerance for Tolerance

The word ‘tolerant’ as it is used today, seldom, if ever, includes opposing arguments or competing worldviews.

Being tolerant used to mean, “I may disagree with you completely, but I will treat you with respect.”

Today, tolerant means “you must approve of everything I do and if you do not agree with me you must hate me.”

“Tolerance, ” according to Professor Matthew Staver, “has become decidedly intolerant.”

This is no more apparent than for all things Christian.

Trending in Europe

In January 2015, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe – politicians representing 800 million citizens – acknowledged that Christians are facing increasing intolerance and discrimination.

* 74 percent of those surveyed in the United Kingdom affirm that there is more discrimination directed at Christians than persons of other faiths.culture grafitti

* 84 percent of vandalism in France was committed against Christian places of worship.

* 95 percent of the anti-religious violence in Scotland is directed against Christians.

In February 2015, The Council of Europe, which represents 47 European countries, stressed that Christians in particular need to be protected so that they are not penalized for their beliefs. Read more here.

A Different Drummer

Christians in Canada have always marched to the beat of a different drummer. There is a growing awareness that the drums of Christians are becoming unwelcome in the parade of opinions.

Professor David Seljak, believes that “Canada is not a secular society but a secularizing society and, more precisely, a de-Christianizing society.”

Michael Coren calls anti-Christian behaviour the “last acceptable prejudice.”

This is a significant shift in our culture.

Having the freedom to search for answers to questions of meaning and value and to live publicly and privately in accordance with the answers of faith is an essential part of human fulfillment and happiness.

Christians should not be treated as a tolerated and divisive minority whose rights must always yield to the secular agenda.

3 Responses to Intolerance

1. Ed Stetzer points out, “as Canadian culture shifts to intolerance, Christians will be seen as increasingly unlike the world around them. Be aware of the shifts and be ready for a new reality.angusreid

2. See the new reality as an opportunity not to “curse the darkness, but to light a candle.” “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Jesus Christ

3. Christians can alienate or illuminate what pollster Angus Reid recently identified as the “mushy middle” in Canadian society.  These are Canadians who “do not see themselves as particularly devout; but they also have not abandoned religion.”

Christian authenticity is a needed light for a culture shifting towards intolerance.

* Matthew Staver, Dean and Professor of Law at Liberty University School of Law.
* David Seljak, Department of Religious Studies, St. Jerome’s University in the University of Waterloo

APPLICATION: Have you observed an intolerance for Christian values and faith? Have you felt it in the school system? In the workplace? Please leave a comment below. Thank you.


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Bob Jones

Author Bob Jones

Pastor at North Pointe Community Church for 27 years. Happily married to Jocelyn for 38 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vinnie; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three gorgeous daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love being a pastor and inspiring faith in Jesus through communicating, blogging, counseling and coaching. I enjoy running, reading, writing and ball hockey. Fan of the Esks and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers

More posts by Bob Jones

Join the discussion 17 Comments

  • ronpowell47 says:

    This is more important than people realize. Society is changing around the church. I am not saying that we go along with the changes, though. More and more Christians who believe that the Bible is the standard for truth and moral behaviour will be in the minority. The danger is that we will capitulate to social norms, blend in, affirm everything, and lose our reason for being.

  • carlos says:

    From what is known, Jesus was more tolerant to the diversity in his day, than most Christians of today, including the author of this post, in my opinion….

  • Yarko Matkewski says:

    I am not denying that there is increased disagreement with some christian beliefs, but you must distinguish between disagreement and persecution. Charles McVety is always beating the persecution drum in Canada, but he uses misinformation to demonstrate it. He keeps claiming that he was kicked off the air because of his christian views on homosexuality. However, this is not true. He was kicked off the air because he refused to abide by the broadcaster’s code of conduct, which he had previously agreed to. In short, he refused to stop lying to support his views.

  • Wendy Connors says:

    As a Mom it is very apparent in our school system. What was once acceptable (Christmas, Easter, prayer, using the word “God”) is no longer “tolerated”. I know of a school that has cancelled their annual Christmas concert because it is disrespectful toward other religions. It’s interesting in that if you understand who Jesus Christ was he taught about love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and that we are to serve others and not ourselves. This concept is not the norm in our society today, it threatens many. However, don’t forget, light exposes the darkness so the threat actually does make sense. Stay strong believers, no matter how Christians are persecuted, always be an example of who Jesus was. He suffered a horrific death for you and me. If Jesus thought I was worth dying for, than I will live a life the demonstrates He is worth living for.

  • Matthaeus Kohls says:

    Says to leave a cmment if I’ve observed an intolerance of Christianity in the workplace. I would say I observed it in my most recent workplace, but I definitely experienced it in the workplace where I was told not to talk a certain way. I was told not to be talking about God in theworkplace, or even talking with another bbeliever for long. I definitely felt tossed around. I’ve also felt it elsewhere in churches at times.

  • Emmanuel Fonte says:

    Aren’t there some issues that shouldn’t be tollorated?

  • bob jones says:

    Certainly. Like Hawks losing to Kings. Lots of issues recently in NA with historic outcomes and a little bit of hysteria and some spelling errors.

  • bob jones says:

    Hi Carlos. Jesus keep his ministry on message for Jews – “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:15(NIV) – and included Samaritans and Gentiles in that grace.

  • bob jones says:

    Agreed.

  • bob jones says:

    Thanks Wendy. “…always be an example of Jesus was.” The love of God wins.

  • bob jones says:

    Thank you Matthaeus.

  • bob jones says:

    Hello Yarko. This may be what you are referring to. http://news.nationalpost.com/news/religion/station-reprimanded-over-ministers-disparaging-remarks-on-homosexuals Sometimes two opposite sounding statements can both be true.

  • Emmanuel Fonte says:

    Oh, we need to call the grammar police ;). Love you brother!

  • bob jones says:

    Back at you.

  • Debbie Philips says:

    Have you felt it in the school system? Yes, in my elementary school years I went to a public school and every morning we prayed the Lord’s Prayer. Everyone received a Gideon’s Bible which I still have in among my collection of many types. During the Pierre Trudreau’s days as Prime Minister, in the sixties, the Lord’s Prayer was removed from the Public School System. In my opinion this may be a starting point that caused the shift or pendulum to swing towards the other way more and more as time progressed.

    In the workplace? My workplace may be unusual, let me paint a picture. I work with a young lady in her 30’s. I heard a co-worker ask her if she went to church. Her reply was, what day is church on, is it Fridays? Our family never went to church, she exclaimed. This is not unusual I believe for today for it is a mix for I know of young ladies from past work places who in their 30’s do attend church. In the same workplace, I heard recently from a colleague, the saying seems to be a common or the buzz, “I am not religious, I am spiritual”. In the same workplace, a visitor a few weeks back came by and was being toured by the owners, the people I work for. He is a man who works with his wife at a Christian retreat center, the owners are a Christian couple and upon introducing me to the visitor that day, we all were quit open and shared a bit on and of faith. My workplace is a small staff of nine and seven are from four differing Christian denominational groups. At our workplace our actions speak louder than our words as we do not verbalize our faith. On that day we all revealed ourselves because of this visitor and it always is our similarity not our differences that is strongest in focus.

    Have you observed an intolerance for Christian values and faith? Yes I have and for me In the most unexpected place, within churches among other Christians. I truly believe Christians can be crueler to each other than to any other through intolerance of another’s beliefs of another whose core belief is the same! This to me is a slippery slope for Jesus is and will be the judge of all. I believe it is not each other that should judge each other by our differences in beliefs which ultimately every person comes to their own faith or theology through personal relationship and in growth. There is wheat among weeds and Jesus says do not pull out the weeds among the wheat. Do not slay each other or cut with hurtful words. Cruelness and unkindness is when Christians put other Christians down by hearsay or doctrinal knowledge. To be lead is good but to not learn and grown yourself may result with words in the end, I do not know from Jesus if the leader is astray. Doctrines can separate, faith and belief in the one who saves known through relationship, is the judge and the one who draws people to himself to follow wherever they are. We should tolerate and let the wheat and weeds be together for, are you God and know all? God is God and we are not. To tolerate gentiles and the Samaritans is what Jesus did and are we are to be like him. Do not poison with words but show love. A minister I heard once said, you catch more flies with honey.

    In everyday life what comes to mind in regards to intolerance is a change in lifestyle values comparable to years back to my childhood days. On Sundays, the family was held with high value. Businesses were closed, workers were at home with their families. A Sunday family meal was like a banquet feast. The streets were barren of cars. Families went out on outings and or visitors came in. There has been a big shift in culture starting in the sixties to today.

  • Debbie Philips says:

    I worked in a day program years back as a Recreational Therapy Assistant, in a day program for mentally challenged adults in a Christian Nursing home. I lost my job because I allowed a woman whose father was a minister, she was disconnected with her faith and had separated paths from her father and mother to ride with a motorcycle gang. It was my cross that I wore one day around my neck which she noticed during a meal at lunchtime that initiated her to speak of Jesus at the table, others were joining in. I sat, watched and listened every day that week. Another man got quit excited and his eyes were smiling, every morning when he came in. He was so happy to be part of the conversation. It was a bit odd that everyday during the week over a speaker the Center would have the Lord’s Prayer come over the intercom. It was custom too to say a food blessing at mealtime for the people in the day program, yet, the administrators of the Centre would not tolerate having the mentally challenged adults talk freely among themselves a the table with each other about their faith. I have not forgotten Penny’s eyes, they lite up and when she had entered the program her eyes were lifeless. Charlie eyes sparkled everyday for rest of that week and I never seen a man so bubbly. I seen no harm in allowing them to speak during their free time during mealtime about Jesus with each other. In the afternoons they were happy and participated in the afternoon program keeping their minds on their activities we had planned for them. At the end of that week, I was called down and dismissed for allowing them to speak freely about faith and about Jesus. I know Penny and Charlie most likely were told after not to share about Jesus for it was the person I worked, my supervisor that reported me. The Centre was opened to all religions as the reason why and to speak of Jesus is not in the rules to do so. I am hoping Penny has been rekindled in her faith, strong as she once was as a Pastor’s daughter. As for Charlie, may he be bubbling over with joy everyday and for the rest of his days of his life. Both were starting then into their senior years of life.

  • Lau Infante says:

    Being a Human Resources Professional for the past 10 years I can tell you that Christians are becoming one of the most discriminated groups in our society. People are able to put writers’ quotes on their signatures but of course nothing from the bible (the greatest book of all) , they can’t say God Bless you, they can’t say Merry Christmas and of course, me as an HR, doesn’t matter how much I see people coming to me with “work related” problems that I know are spiritual problems, that they are really hurting and that I can help, I could lose my job if I openly talk about God at work (I still get around it tho 😉 ) I don’t think Christians have to portrait themselves as a superior culture or as perfect people but I do think we must take a strong stand for our faith because every other culture, religion and opposition group are able to be vocal about what they believe and that is how we have slowly lost ground in our schools, in our political system, at work and most importantly with our children, we MUST become heart strong first in order to raise a new generation of strong Christians!!! 🙂 God Bless you pastor Bob!!

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