I don't really want to re-hash the last debate, but it is my blog so I get the last word :) Something that really bothered me about the whole thing and about controversial topics in general is that if someone stands up for what they believe and it happens to not be "in vogue" at the time, they are automatically labeled "ignorant" and "intolerant". These two words are grossly misused and overused. The arguments made that were accusing me of being intolerant lack good logic. Example:
Person A: My view is that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Person B: My view is that marriage is between two people who love each other.
Here's the common problem. Person B accuses Person A of being intolerant. But their accusation of intolerance is in itself, intolerance! If Person B truly embraced tolerance, then they would welcome another view that is different from theirs, like Person A's views. But this doesn't happen. Instead, they are only tolerant of those who agree with them.
Tolerance is not acceptance, it is tolerating. Only in recent years has it taken on a whole new meaning. In our society tolerance now means rejecting all moral absolutes. It means that no one can say that there is right and wrong because it is up to each individual to decide that for him or herself. 'Who are we to judge?' is the common refrain. This logic is problematic when carried out to its neccesary conclusions. Can we say with certainty that murder is wrong? Can we say with certainty that stealing is wrong? If the answer is yes, and I believe it is, we are in essence "judging" the person who did those things, and with good reason. What if I said, "Well, in the name of tolerance, I must accept that for this individual, murdering is ok between him and his god." No way. This whole tolerance issue is a slippery slope.
I believe there are moral absolutes in the world that both Christians and non-Christians can agree on. I just find it so ironic that the people who are the most vocal advocates of "tolerance" are also the ones that show no tolerance for those who disagree with their views. Don't get me wrong, this goes both ways! Person A in my example can be equally as intolerant of other views, like the people who terrorize and harrass gay couples who get married. I don't agree with gay marriage and I will vocalize that opinion, but I don't go around harrassing people who do. I tolerate them and understand that we live in the same community and may share things in common. But I am allowed to think that gay marriage is wrong and STILL be tolerant of those who think it is not. Just like someone can believe gay marriage is great and STILL be tolerant of those who think it is not.
Ignorance is a separate argument, but the same logic applies. If you disagree with the mainstream in our society, you are labeled "ignorant". Ignorant means lacking knowledge, learning or information. If you put four people in a room and present to them the same facts, you can still end up with four different interpretations or opinions. People are different, praise God! I'm glad we are not all the same. My point is that just because someone disagrees with you does not mean that they lack knowledge, learning or information. Calling someone ignorant implies that if they had the knowledge you had, they would agree with you. That is simply not how things work. People genuinly disagree over the same information and to call someone ignorant who simply disagrees is arrogant and not an appropriate use of the word. I know some very intelligent, learned people who believe different things than I do. I would never call them ignorant because they aren't, they just have arrived at a different conclusion than I have. That is alright.
People are allowed to have opinions and differences. We do not have to denounce our deepest beliefs and convictions in the name of tolerance. But, we do need to treat all people with dignity and respect.