After nearly twenty years in the faith, the term "tolerance" is not new to me, by any means. It's one of the very first precepts of Christianity that is taught. In part, it’s an acceptance of who, or what, a person, or thing is, based on it’s own merit. I have tolerance for someone because we are all created equal, and all have the right to life liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, providing that pursuit causes me no harm or threat. I’m tolerant of something, because it, in and of itself, presents me no harm or threat.
Judgment is another word we learn about in Christianity 101. The dispensation of it, and that rightly so, belongs only to the Creator. The reason being this, when I consider that it is impossible for me to see into the heart of a man, and to know why he does what he does, I understand why judgment isn't mine to dish out.
I've used a parable on many occasions to illustrate my point. Two boys, both dressed in scout uniforms, who might be observed crossing the street in the assistance to an elderly lady. An observer, watching from a distance, might observe, because of their actions, how much they both look like "fine young men", and might assume they were representative of a common history.
But in actuality, it might very well be that one of the young men, having been born and bred of means, and having therefore the benefit of all proper teaching, would consider that what he was doing was actually a bit of a bore to him. A chore, if you will, simply for the benefit of the badge he might win for doing "his duty". His motive ulterior in nature.
It could also be considered of the other young man that he came from a lower standing in life. Maybe, from a dysfunctional family where he was abused, or never taught to respect his elders. So he never had. Consider for this young man, that helping this elderly lady across the street was a challenge, as well as a milepost in his change from selfishness to charity. His intention was benevolent.
Though the action itself might rightly be judged as equal in both instances, the intent is a whole different issue. Thus, why we have neither the right, nor authority to judge. We can't see the heart of a man to know "why" he does what he does. All we can see is the moment.
My faith also teaches that because I am not in a position to accurately judge someone, I must be tolerant of their actions. And, in so much as those actions don't cause me too much grief, that isn't a hard position to take. But tolerance sometimes turns into a sacrifice. And sacrifice is one of those two edged swords that cuts both ways.
Consider this. Scripture says that I should "love my brother, as I love myself". To the world, that sounds pretty difficult to comprehend. But to the Christian, it shouldn't be all that hard to determine the depth of the meaning. This is described in the Greek as, “phileo love”. Brotherly love, based on respect and regard. It's not the tender, emotional love I have for my wife, which is “eros”. Nor is it the unconditional love my God has for me, being “agape”.
Phileo love says we are equals in the sight of God. Reciprocity being key. It says in my heart, and mind, I love him, I respect him, I have regard, or concern for his well being, and because of this, he deserves all I can offer.
This kind of mutual consideration is what builds up our capacity to tolerate one another's differences. Be that opinion, religion or ritual. A difference in the color of skin, direction of faith, of determination of goals, all comes as no great hurdle. If we have the common trust of reciprocity.
It does not, however, say that he has the right to “take” my life, or even cause me harm because I am commanded to be “tolerant”.
And that’s where we are with this whole Jihad business. I’ve studied a good bit of scripture, but I’m no theologian. I have however, spent my fair share of time at the knee of some really well versed individuals who are. One of those men being an apostatized Muslim. I learned a great deal about the Islamic faith from him, and why he chose to convert to Christianity. I can tell you his decision was all about love, or the lack thereof.
You see, the Islamic faith is based on the precept of obedience, rather than love, or grace. If one follows Islam to its obedient end, the only reward is superficial. It has tangible meaning in this life, but has none of the eternal elements that we enjoy. If you are obedient, you get the girl, or several, and the knowledge that Allah really digs you. If you aren’t obedient, it’s off with the head, arm, foot, tongue, whatever. To get to this great place, you have to step on other people in pursuit of this “obedience”. You consider that anybody unlike yourself is an enemy. And not just an enemy to glower at over the fence, but one to conquer.
Christianity, on the other hand, offers an eternal salvation through the Sacrifice of a Loving God. And it is a gift. It’s not something that can be earned, or achieved. It is freely given because God loves us enough to give it. And we love Him because of Who He is, and not the giving of the gift. It says that if people are unlike us, we are to be tolerant of them. We are invoked by scripture to attempt to bring them this “good news”. And we can try as many times as is prudent.
But it is also very well stated, as in Mark 6:11, that “whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them.” Which means, if they ain’t picking up what you are throwing down, knock the dust off your boots, and boogie. Take no remnant of what they have, or own, just leave.
So here’s the deal. After considerable study, of both my “religion”, and that of the Islamic people, I can see no reasonable expectation of any of this reciprocity that I’ve been speaking of.
I’m not interested in watering down what I believe to be true so that it fits well on the palate of someone who is bent on my ultimate destruction. People can say what they want. The media can downplay the differences between Christianity and Islam all they want. But just like arguing whether a mean dog will bite or not, sticking your hand out to test it is stupid. For that matter, that hand has been stuck out, and bitten, on too many occasions. So many so that I’m left to consider the statement, ”true stupidity is defined by following the same path, on multiple occasions, and expecting it to get you some place different each time.”
Islam is not about religion. It’s about control. It’s about controlling everybody. That’s what jihad is….for the sake of revenge, attacking the caravan and taking everything it owns, and putting everybody on it into subjugation. Period. And just because people want to believe it’s just another form of religion, just doesn’t make it so.
I haven’t figured out why the hell our “liberal leaders” are bent on going to bed with this faction of human society, yet, but I can tell you this, it ain’t gonna be no sleep over. These people want to steal All the covers. And they can do it too……if we let them.
As for me and my house, we will “continue to” serve the Lord…..not Allah, Mohammad, or anybody else who chooses to cow toe to the drivel they dribble…… Barry, you hear me?!