Tolerance and intolerance are definitely the buzzwords of today’s culture. But depending upon whom you’re asking, the definition of these words may be dramatically different. This is where Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell’s book The Beauty Of Intolerance can help. Please be sure to check out my book review here, and then check out some of the quotes from this very important book below.
“It’s natural—and if done properly, even healthy—for the people of each new generation to establish a unique identity apart from their parents. Yet what we are experiencing today is far from the typical generation gap. We are seeing a cultural shift that is separating Christian parents from their children perhaps unlike anything seen before.”
“Your narrative about truth is probably based on your understanding of the Bible. Whether they realize it or not, our young people today largely derive their narrative about truth from a culture that says moral truth is found within the individual. These two narratives can be expressed in terms of the biblical narrative about truth and the cultural narrative about truth. When our young people accept the cultural narrative, it becomes the lens by which they interpret relationships and much of the world around them.”
“If each person is a valid, independent source of applied truth, then there can be no basis for external disapproval. There is no overarching standard by which to apply judgment. That means tolerance as the culture defines it is the only appropriate response to each individual’s moral choices. That kind of tolerance—what we will call cultural tolerance—propagates the notion that all moral truth is equal. From that perspective it only seems right to respect, accept, and approve of diverse views and the behavior of others, since doing otherwise would be intolerant and judgmental. … But what many of today’s young people don’t understand is that they have unwittingly bought into cultural tolerance, which is a faulty narrative about moral truth that fundamentally changes the traditional meaning of words like tolerance, acceptance, respect, and the like. They tend to think that they have the right to determine what is right and wrong for themselves.”
“God is not only the standard of what is true—He is truth—but He is also the perfect standard for tolerance. That is, He is the standard for tolerance in the original and traditional meaning of the word—a tolerance that loves us without approving of our sinful condition. Both truth and traditional tolerance reside in the character of God, and they are inseparable.”
“While the Incarnation is the personification of love and acceptance, God’s disdain for sin reflects His holy intolerance. What sin did to humans broke His heart. Separated from God, the human race wallowed in greed, lust, jealousy, hatred, and conflict. Human sin has rippled down from one generation to another with the same tragic results: pain and suffering, heartache and ruin, destruction and death. God’s hatred of evil and injustice—of everything that hurts us—prompted Him to be radically intolerant of sin and its devastating effects on His creation. His amazing love for us prompted Him to do something to save us from it. That something cost Him the death of His only Son, but He considered you and me worth it. God’s intolerance is an amazing and beautiful thing.”
“Moral truth isn’t simply an abstract concept; it originates in a Person who is the original and standard for morality. Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’ (John 14:6). Moral truth ultimately finds its source in a ‘Who,’ not merely in a ‘what.’ In other words, moral claims are true if they correspond to the character of God—Who is the objective source for morality. God is the source of all moral truth.”
“The reason we think there are such concepts as ‘fair’ and ‘unfair’ is because our Maker is a just God and we have been made in His image (Genesis 1:27). The reason love is a virtue and hatred a vice is because the God of relationships who formed us is a God of love. The reason honesty is right and deceit is wrong is because God is true. The reason fidelity in marriage is honorable and infidelity is not is because God is faithful. The reason chastity is moral and promiscuity is immoral is because God is pure. … All truth claims cannot be equal because Jesus didn’t claim to be ‘a’ truth—one among viable others. His claim was exclusive.”
I will be posting more quotes from The Beauty Of Intolerance in the near future. If you would like to be notified when these quotes appear, please enter your email address in the form on the right to subscribe.