What is Intolerance?—
Intolerance is a fear based unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one’s own. Intolerance is a position that holds 1) No other evidence will be viewed. 2) No position but ours is correct. 3) Anything differing is wrong, bad, and evil or dammed. In a church, intolerance leads to spiritual abuse. Intolerance begins with the “in-group over-exclusion effect’, then promotes the maladaptive social psychological behavior of ‘out-group derogation’, which is the seed of terrorism! This carnal behavior is the primitive reaction of the deluded, which believe they are only defending their ‘in-group’ when no one is in fact attacking. All inadvertent error leads to such, because when holding an incorrect view, everything in existence will seem contrary because the error is incorrect. Intolerance fights to maintain its error.
How does this negatively blemish Christianity when the right to religious belief is absolute in many places?— Where religious belief is not well defined, responses appear arbitrary and coercive action replaces authority with various forms of intolerance, or intolerant actions. This is when actions become spiritual abuse.
What are some negative forms of intolerance?— Any behavior which is deliberately intended to disturb, upset or isolate is considered harassment. Continuous behavior of this sort is considered bigotry and prejudice as it results in harm or injury. In a church setting, such actions are spiritually abusive when acting derogatory toward another. Sadly, many organizations today base their entire authority structure on ability to ‘out-group derogate’. The ‘do as we say, or leave’ position is definitely not Christian. It more resembles tyranny and provokes war.
A person is acting intolerant when they are not willing to allow others to have equality, freedom, or other social rights. This is subversive to good order and considered unconscionable within Christianity. Christianity is defined by it’s essentials. These, it does not compromise as it is what defines it’s beliefs as Christianity. But as there are many areas and topics considered important but not-essential, intolerance on such only causes schism. If the right to religious belief is to rise above intolerance, any claims of non-essentials as an essential part of their belief, requires clarification or caveat. If not, any unwillingness to accept others views on non-essentials is a blemish of intolerance if it extends into coercive action, which is spiritual abuse.
Non-essentials are debatable, and debate is necessary for growth! Disagreement on a non-essential differs from intolerance in its willingness to openly debate. Disagreement in a debate can become argument, but even argument is not intolerance until it becomes coercive, leading to out-group derogation. The true intent of debate is to establish the authoritative. Debates bring growth, even through the turmoil of argument. On a debate it cannot win, intolerance will try to veil itself as disagreement, by false claims of an argumentative or hostile opponent (behavior deliberately intended to disturb, upset or isolate), when the intolerant is actually suppressing or oppressing. This is intolerance and “accusation of the brethren” that has nothing to do with Christianity. If an organization holds a specific point on a non-essential, then it is their responsibility to publicize such if respect of religious belief is expected. Likewise, to argue with an organization with a publicized position is also intolerance and visible attack on religious belief. But where no publication of position on a non-essential resides, it is considered open to debate for the sake of growth, according to what is considered healthy interaction of Christian fellowship. Intolerance distorts and prevents growth as it shrinks back to destruction. Intolerance according to 2 Corinthians 3:9 becomes a “ministry of condemnation“.
A great public example of such is the British response to the Boston Tea Party. After such the British flatly condemned the action with intolerant claims in their “coercive acts”. To which Samuel Adams rightly replied in a letter to James Warren (May 14, 1774) “This Town has received the Copy of an Act of the British Parliament, wherein it appears that we have been tried and condemned, and are to be punished, by the shutting up of the harbor and other marks of revenge, until we shall disgrace ourselves by servilely yielding up, in effect, the just and righteous claims of America….The people receive this cruel edict with abhorrence and indignation. They consider themselves as suffering the stroke ministerial…I hope they will sustain the blow with a becoming fortitude, and that the cursed design of intimidating and subduing the spirits of all America, will, by the joint efforts of all, be frustrated.” This led to a series of acts imposed by the British that the Americans collectively called “Intolerable Acts”. In November 1774, King George replied to all American attempts to reason, “blows must decide whether they are to be subject to this country or independent“. King George (as a King with Kings rights) was intolerant and the war of independence ensued.
“The Proclamation of Toleration” is designed to prevent such within Christianity.
To view the entire “Proclamation of Toleration” in full PDF click the link below. Intolerance and bigotry is NOT Christian, let’s remove its blemish!Proclamation