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March 17, 2008


Alex Marshall

Don't know that I can specifically explain TG's perspective, but it seems to me that "bigotry" comes to be a label for Christians in two ways that need to be differentiated.

First, from a postmodernist perspective, any view that claims exclusive access to some form of truth is bigotry. So Christianity's claim that salvation comes from Christ alone earns us this label from the postmodernist camp. This can and should be addressed on a philosophical and apologetic level and doesn't necessarily communicate any real flaw in Christianity, instead it is an underlying philosophical difference in the two belief systems.

A second way Christianity earns the title "bigot" comes about when Christians are indeed bigots. It has been my unfortunate experience that many Christians (but certainly not all, don't hear me saying that) have taken their differences of opinion to extreme levels that lead them to treat others with a disdain reminiscent of racism. These individuals then paint a stereotype that must be overcome by all Christians if we want to be effective in ministry.


I wonder where Jesus would land on TG's bigot scale?


That's a good question. I'm going to ask.


As long as we're defining terms, let's look at Webster's 9th Collegiate Dictionary definition of "intolerant: unable or unwilling to endure; unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression esp in religious matters; unwilling to grant or share social, political, or professional rights." Is that truly what is going on here? If so, how?


Great point MS. As one university professor was quoted "We are intolerant of any view that isn't tolerant." That’s what is really going on.


I appreciate the want to define terms, but who of us are going to witness going "What you mean by bigot or intolerant isn't what the terms mean."? Bottom line is that it's THEIR terms. It doesn't matter if they're wrong...they're still going to use it in the same vein. So the real question, I think, is how do we get around that to meet them where they are?


Actually, that is one way to meet them on their own terms - by asking them to define their own terms. How else would they define bigotry or intolerance? Where in the world does that happen? What does it look like?
A Reformed Jewish friend said that, to her, Christians are more of a threat than Muslims, because we want to change the laws to be more conservative. I asked if she is fearful when she visits her son in Colorado Springs, a known hotbed of Christianity. Of course she is not, yet she would not even be allowed into a Muslim country.


OK, I guess I was misunderstanding it because I got the impression that by trying to define the term ourselves, we were demanding that others agree to our term which is kind of what gets us into the mess in the first place. I think we're on the same page, just were talking about two different paragraphs.

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