Over the last few days I’ve had several experiences with people regarding the idea of Christian intolerance and -phobia. In case you didn’t know, the in-thing is to take whatever Christians are against and add -phobe or -phobia to the word, thus creating a new word that labels the Christian as a hater.
Do you disapprove of homosexual behavior?
You’re a homophobe.
Do you disagree with Muslim faith?
You’re an Islamophobe.
Apparently anything you stand against is now something you’re afraid of. Except the definition of phobia is now being broadened to include “dislike of a specified thing or group.”
That makes me:
– a greenbeanophobe (never liked ’em – never will)
– a V8ophobe (c’mon, drinking tomato juice?!?)
– a wasabiphobe (I thought it was something else when I put a whole spoonful in my mouth…)
and a whole host of other things I dislike. It’s misleading to attach -phobe to designate dislike of something. It is attempt to attach a negative and derogatory label without understanding anything about anyone’s position.
In terms of faith it often comes down to Christians being labeled “intolerant” and/or “bigot.”
But I’m not intolerant.
I have a willingness to allow the existence of other opinions and behavior I don’t agree with. I have never forced anyone to change to my way of thinking. So I guess I’m tolerant. Yay, me!
As for bigot, the all-knowing Wikipedia defines it as “someone who, as a result of their prejudices, treats or views other people with fear, distrust or hatred.”
But prejudice is “prejudgment, or forming an opinion before becoming aware of the relevant facts of a case.”
I have not pre-judged other faith groups or formed an opinion before becoming aware of relevant facts. As a Christian, I will go with Jesus when he says:
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
Or Peter when he preached about Jesus:
There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
So I’m not prejudiced. My views about other faith groups are based on my understanding that Christianity is the only way to God. And if I’m not prejudiced then I’m not bigoted, for bigotry requires prejudice.
So here I am: a tolerant, unprejudiced, non-bigoted Christian.
But I’ll still tell you that Jesus is the only way and that, as much as we can, we need to conform our lives to the character of God and the kind of lives he calls us to lead as revealed in the Bible.
And that message won’t change, no matter what the Christianphobes say about it.Follow @chrislinzey