selling out to the cultural hurricane and hedonism by Julie (aka Cookie) considers the cultural decay of our day. looks at the problem. What is the excuse for putting up with awful and foolish behavior? The word is tolerance.
What “tolerance” traditionally involves is allowing others the right to believe and do what they wish so long as they don’t infringe upon the rights of others. To some people, however, what “tolerance” seems to involve is forcing others to affirm and support what they believe and do. Some people do like to manipulate words.
How do we resolve such moral conflicts? Before we can determine a solution, we must understand the problem, and politicians are famous for telling us well they understand various problems. What they struggle with — just like the rest of us — is actually solving problems. Still, we must eventually focus on the solution or we will never discover one and implement it.
What is the solution? Well, over the millennia various things have been tried. Let’s consider the big three.
The Roman Solution
Consider the state of the Roman Empire before the time of Jesus Christ.
- Roman law, given the tenor of the times, was relatively just. Only half the population was enslaved. To control rebels, the Romans terrified potential rebels by crucifying those who did rebel.
- Life had little value. If a baby was unwanted, the father had the right to dispose of it on a dung hill.
- Sexual immorality was rampant. Pedophilia was not a criminal. Prostitution was a form of worship.
How did the Romans justify their tyranny? In practice the Romans believed might makes right. When we enslave people, we can justify ourselves various ways, but we must have the might to make it stick. The slave masters defined the Law, and slave masters do not tolerate the objections of those they enslave.
How does the Roman Empire compare with today? We could look at those Romans of long ago and pat ourselves on the back. After all, we don’t do awful things like that, or do we? Most of our world is ruled by authoritarian regimes that don’t operate much differently from the Roman Empire. How about our democracy? Our government pays for abortions. We glorify sex in commercials and in our entertainment. As our society becomes ever more secularized, more and more of us worship sex, stuff, state, and self. More and more we care about getting the things we want. To get what we want, more and more we emphasize might more than right.
The Old Testament Solution
The Old Testament contains the Mosaic Code. The people of Israel proclaimed this Law came from God, that God had offered the people of Israel a promise. Keep the Law, and God would ensure they prospered in the land He had promised them. Break the Law, and God would drive them from the Promised Land. Fearful of being driven from their promised land by a jealous God, the people of were often quite intolerant. Their laws required ruthless enforcement.
Oddly, however, even though the Law was good — and the people of Israel understood that much — they were unable to keep it. Instead of doing what they believed God wanted, even though they had it written down on paper and sometimes studied it carefully, the people of Israel constantly backslid and started doing what they saw the people of other lands doing. Therefore, in addition to the Mosaic Code, the Old Testament records a tragic story, the inability of the people of Israel to keep the Law and their eventual dispersion from the Promised Land.
Fortunately, the Old Testament also contains prophecies, prophecies with a promise, the promise of a Savior, a savior who would save us from ourselves.
The New Testament Solution
What is the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament? The New Testament provides us a new covenant with God. The New Testament offers all of us, not just the people of Israel, a new covenant. If we put our faith in Jesus, repent of our sins, and accept the grace of Jesus’ forgiveness, He will give us the gift of salvation.
As the Apostle Paul explained, the Law good, but it was not quite enough.
Galatians 3:10-14 New King James Version (NKJV)
10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”
13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Consider the difference between The Ten Commandments and The Sermon on the Mount. The The Ten Commandments gives us a list of things we must not do and promises us death if we disobey those commands. In The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us what we must do to receive the blessings of the Kingdom of Heaven.
What Jesus offered, The Old Testament prophesied in various passages. Here, for example.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 New King James Version (NKJV)
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
What is the nature of this new heart? How is it different from a heart of stone. Consider how Jesus summarized The Ten Commandments?
Luke 10:27 New King James Version (NKJV)
27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”
As He elaborated in the The Sermon on the Mount, changed the emphasis from fear of the Law to the love of God and neighbor. Instead of doing what is right because we fear punishment, we do what is right because we love God and neighbor.
Instead of insisting that we have the right to do whatever we have the might to do, Jesus commanded us to love God and each other. Thus, Jesus made obeying the Law a positive action done in love.
The average Democrat Liberal, if they read this post at all, will do so with an ironic gesture, an eye roll heavenward. Yet that Democrat doesn’t have a clue as to why Western Civilization changed. How did we get from slavery to serfdom? How did we eventually get to the point where everyone has the right to be free? We find the answer in how we define tolerance.
- Question: “What is the New Covenant?” and Question: “Old Testament vs. New Testament – What are the differences?” (gotquestions.org)
- What are the differences between the Old and New Testaments? (compellingtruth.org)
- The Intolerance of Tolerance (str.org/articles/
- Why the New Definition of Tolerance Is Dangerous (str.org/blog/)