Toleration

A good friend of mine posted the following quote on his blog from Tertullian refuting the heretic Marcion. In case you’re not up on your heretics, Marcion was a man who presented himself as a Christian in the second century AD. Christianity was, at that point, about a hundred years old, and even then Marcion’s views were investigated, reviewed against scripture, and promptly rejected. What were these views? Well, in part, very similar to what we see in liberal christianity today! He disavowed the doctrine of hell, the idea of a judging God who is angry at sin and sinners, and instead he believed in a god who was simply all about love. He affirmed that this god of his was Jesus Christ, but the Jesus that he spoke of was very different than those whom the Apostles knew and wrote about. That heresy was refuted by many notable Christians at the time, among whom were Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian. The following quote is a from Tertullian’s refutation of Marcion, his teaching, and his followers:

But evidently he does judge evil by refusing consent, and condemns it by forbidding it: yet he forgives it by not avenging, and excuses it by not punishing. There you have as a god a defaulter against the truth, one who annuls his own decision. He is afraid to condemn what he does condemn, afraid to hate what he does not love, allows when done that which he does not allow to be done, and would rather point out what he disapproves of than give proof of it. Here you will find the ghost of goodness, discipline itself a phantasm, casual precepts, offences free from fear.

Listen, you sinners, and any of you not yet so, that you may be able to become so: a better god has been discovered, one who is neither offended nor angry nor inflicts punishment, who has no fire warming up in hell, and no outer darkness wherein there is shuddering and gnashing of teeth: he is merely kind. Of course he forbids you to sin—but only in writing. It lies with you whether you consent to accord him obedience, so as to appear to have given honour to your god: for he will not accept your fear. And in fact the Marcionites make it their boast that they do not at all fear their god: for, they say, a bad god needs to be feared, but a good one loved.

Fool: you call him lord, but deny he is to be feared, though this is a term suggesting authority, and with it fear. Yet how shall you love, unless you fear not to love? Evidently he is not even your father, to whom would be due both love for affection’s sake, and fear for the sake of authority: nor is he your lawful lord, for you to love for human kindness’ sake and fear for the sake of discipline. This is the way kidnappers are loved without being feared. The only domination which can be an object of fear is the lawful and regular one: though even an illicit one can be an object of affection, since it rests not upon respect but upon affectation, on seduction and not on force: and what greater seduction is there than to abstain from punishing wrongdoing?

So then, you who decline to fear your god because he is good, what keeps you from bubbling over into all manner of vice—the superlative enjoyment of life, I suppose, for all who do not fear God? Why absent yourself from those popular pleasures, the excitement of the race-course, the savagery of the wild beast show, the lechery of the stage? Why also during persecution do you not at once offer your incense, and so gain your life by denial? “Oh no”, you answer, “far from it”.

In that case you are already in fear — of doing wrong: and by your fear you have admitted your fear of him who forbids the wrong. It is another matter if, in imitation of your god’s perversity, you pay respect to him whom you do not fear, as he in turn forbids what he does not punish. With much greater inconsequence, to the question, “What will happen on that day to every sinner?” they answer that he will be cast away, as it were out of sight.

Is not this an act of judgement? He is judged worthy to be cast away—evidently by a judgement of condemnation: unless perhaps the sinner is cast away into salvation, so that this too may stand to the credit of a god supremely good. And yet what can being cast away amount to, if not the loss of that which he was on the way to obtain if he were not cast away—salvation, no less? So then he will be cast away to the damage of his salvation: and a sentence like this can only be passed by one offended and indignant, a punisher of wrongdoing—in short, a judge.

HT: Adkinsblog (formatting added for readability)

Oh to have men who speak without fear of being called “intolerant” in these days. Rob Bell produces a new book where he sides with Marcion and the world (and liberal christians) adores him. Christian men and women revolt against his teaching and are dismissed as intolerant. Jesus told us this would happen and while it’s painful to watch, it just points out the facts found in scripture. Good to see old heresies recycled though – that makes them easier to refute…

What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.

~ Ecclesiastes 1:9

Yesterday, I posted about an organization named Teaching Tolerance who states their purpose as follows:

Teaching Tolerance is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation’s children.

~ Teaching Tolerance/”About Us”

They went on to define tolerance as:

Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. Tolerance is harmony in difference.

~ Teaching Tolerance/”About Us”

In actuality, however, we discovered that they preach for the acceptance and appreciation for sexual perversion, even going so far as to engineer classroom discussion and structure to impose beliefs onto children and imply that their preconceived notions information that they have learned from family and church is not only wrong, but it’s unacceptable. Would this same drive carry over to other areas of teaching as well? What about evolution vs creationism? Would there be room for both at the open marketplace for ideas?

A search for “evolution” on their site brings up three articles and one classroom activity for pre-kindergarten/kindergarten children. The activity explains that we have hair like animals and encourages the children to behave like their animal “brothers and sisters” – climbing in a “tree like an orangutan” or “go in circles like a poodle”. The stated purpose of this activity is to help the children learn “biological evolution and the diversity of life” in accordance with the Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) knowledge standard #7 in relation to biological evolution. You know, as I read that standard, I don’t see anything related to other views outside of biological evolutionary methods. In fact, the only thing I can find anywhere related to the subject is a an article from 2007 that simply states that we must continue to press the same message of evolution, not because of scientific evidence alone, but because of “inferences made
by the scientists”. So where the facts are insufficient, we must stand firmly on the ideals. The article then goes onto explain that inferences made on the small scale must be explained such that they are descriptive of large scale proofs. The underlying principle here is uniformitarianism – an idea given by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in 1809 but predicted by God through Peter in 2 Peter 3:1-7. The problem with this principle is that while it’s possible to assume that what we see in nature today is exactly what has happened since the creation of the world, it’s not likely. Before I get on a soap box here, I’m going to sideline this article until a later time.

Back to Teaching Tolerance! In another article on their website, there is an article where a second grade teacher named Mary Cowhey explains how to dissuade belief in the Bible through a groupthink method of leading the 7-8 year old children in a rational experiment. She starts by questioning the class, asking where they think people came from. Then, she responds:

“Wow! We have a lot of different ideas about how we got here. Let’s think about how we could find out. What kind of evidence would we look for as scientists and historians to help us decide which idea we think is most likely?”

~ “Religion and Science” by Mary Cowhey

She takes out a book about evolution and infers the superiority of science over that of the Bible. She talks about Darwin’s “scientific theory of evolution, based on the law of natural selection” and juxtaposes that set of “facts” with the “story” of Adam and Eve. She implies that “One difference is a scientific theory has predictive power, whereas a story more often has explanatory power and is often an effort to teach the values of a culture in a memorable way“.

After this she discusses the problem that Galileo had with the Roman Catholic Church and quotes Psalm 104:5, “He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved”. The implication that she makes is that the church as a whole cannot be trusted to support science and that the Bible is not worthwhile for instruction. She finishes that section by explaining that in 1992 the Roman Catholic Church pardoned Galileo – showing that they were “wrong” about him – establishing more doubt that the religion can be trusted for anything. While I personally agree that the RCC was incorrect about how they treated Galileo and that they should have embraced his exploration and learned more about our amazing God and His handiwork, I cannot agree with her premise.

She then finishes by stating:

My goal as a teacher is to help children develop as critical thinkers. Across disciplines, in science, history and philosophy, I want them to be discerning judges of the quality of evidence as they practice the habit of constantly asking questions. I also want to educate my students as well-rounded human beings who respect and understand different cultures. Part of that education includes learning the stories, legends and epics of many world religions and cultures. They learn stories are different than theories.

~ “Religion and Science” by Mary Cowhey

Her tolerance for an opposing view is such that, in her classroom, when she experiences a view that is outside of her own (that being creationism vs her view of evolution), she undermines it and establishes her view as superior.

Teaching Tolerance is about anything but. Their views are firmly rooted in their own agendas and ideologies and they are teaching schools and organizations to push their agendas, regardless of the opposition. In 2 Timothy 4, Paul instructs Timothy to stand up in the face of strong opposition:

preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

~ 2 Timothy 4:2-4

We need to be ready, as Paul commands, to preach the truth to an immoral and perverse generation that rejects the God of the Bible in pursuit of their own sinful desires. This debate over false tolerance will never end until Christ returns, but until then we can stand firm and fight with honor before the Lord. Never bending or quitting but, through the Holy Spirit, living in true tolerance with our pagan neighbors. May God give us strength to withstand the storm.

Toleration is something that’s often misunderstood. The dictionary definition of toleration is as follows:

tol•er•a•tion

1 a : the act or practice of tolerating something
b : a government policy of permitting forms of religious belief and worship not officially established

A more modern definition reads:

tol•er•a•tion
Agreeing with any cause or stance that affirms your beliefs. It can also apply to others who should agree with, empower, embolden, or protect your ability to do whatever it is you decide to do, feel, think, write, or act like. Anyone who disagrees with your self-perceived right to act or think in any way is to be seen as “intolerant” of you personally and therefore can be ignored, rejected, or belittled.

While the dictionary definition is very simple – the more modern definition is something that is experienced more than anything. In researching this post I came across a promising site named Teaching Tolerance. Their stated purpose is to:

Teaching Tolerance is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation’s children.

~ Teaching Tolerance/”About Us”

In fact, on their “About Us” page, they even provide their own definition of the word “tolerance” as follows:

Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. Tolerance is harmony in difference.

~ Teaching Tolerance/”About Us”

We see again a very different view where tolerance is not something that is merely the process of tolerating (understanding without prejudice) something, but “accepting and appreciating” those differences. This is a theme that they are very dedicated to. There are scores of articles that I’ve found on their site that denounce hatred for all people. This is something that I agree with whole-heartedly. It’s some of the other things that I seem to have an issue with. First is their call for acceptance of homosexuality in the classroom.

In an article entitled Exposing Hidden Homophobia, an 11th grade English teacher is lauded for her approach in exposing and transforming the minds in her care in regards to their view of homosexuality. Her whole project started when she heard the children stating that offensive or irrelevant things were “gay” and she wanted to see if she could stop this practice. While I agree that name-calling of any kind is unwelcome and should be avoided, it’s her second motive that really struck me. She was curious why there were so few openly gay people in her community. What she developed was a 37-day course that introduced the children to heroes and martyrs of the homosexual community and, with careful planning and organization, imposed upon them the belief that any sexual orientation is acceptable and to be appreciated. As part of her course, she introduced them to movies and books that are at the very least pornographic. What do I mean? One of the books that were produced for required reading is described on the author’s site as follows:

Two best friends spend their first summer apart blogging to each other about their separate but equally exciting romantic and sexual adventures. Chuck, the talented one, goes off to summer theatre camp where he proceeds to fall for the sexy female lead of his show. Hal, the less talented one, stays at home in exciting Wheaton, MD learning how to drive and getting busy with a hot French dude he meets at the mall. With a frank and shocking candor, these two 15 year-olds going on 20 debate their differences, consider their similarities, and push their decade long friendship to the breaking point during a summer that neither of them will soon forget.

~ “Tale of Two Summers” by Brian Sloan

I can barely quote that description in good conscience and I would definitely not quote anything from the book. The very description speaks of homosexual pedophilia. To make it worse, the same “tolerant” site has recommended that this course be adopted into other schools and taught in as many places as possible.

I wonder if they would be so tolerant of teaching that homosexuality is a sin and that it was spoken against in the Bible repeatedly. Tomorrow I will dig a little deeper into this site and see where they stand on the marketplace of ideas related to evolution and creationism.

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