Monday, February 10th

We gather again at the Tap House, Monday evening, at 5:30 to talk life. 

Bill Hollander will be guiding the discussion this week, entitled “Political Correctness, Tolerance, Acceptance and Christianity”.

Have at it, Bill! Here’s his post to get things rolling:

Hello Folks. I guess I got myself into this one (thanks Mark) – and I have been all over the place looking for some sort of conversation starter for Monday. What follows are some excerpts/links that I came across that ended up forming (at least in my mind) the topic(s). 

Questions for discussion:

  1. Should Christians be Politically Correct? What is Political Correctness? 
  2. Should Christians be Tolerant? What is Tolerance? Is there a place for Intolerance?
  3. How do the terms “Tolerance” and “Political Correctness” affect our behavior and our faith?
  4. How do the terms “Tolerance” and “Political Correctness” guide or affect our local community of faith (Church)?
  5. Are other faith communities held to the same standard as Christians? Why do you think this?
  6. Should Politicians speak out about their faith?

The Following are intended to spark thought based on the questions above. Some are a little long-winded; read what you want; ignore the rest. Part A, below, and a recent confrontation when I started a prayer with “Heavenly Father” brought me this direction with the questions:

A. “Questions Intellectuals Ask About Christianity” (by Henry F. Schaefer III, http://www.leaderu.com/offices/schaefer/docs/questions.html):

  • Doesn’t the inherent subjectivity of morality prove that God does not exist?
  • People commonly say that “morality is subjective” or that it is “relative.” But when they speak in a moral vein—which is to say, when they pass judgment on human behavior—they do so as moral realists. Most atheists are just as convinced as Christians that Adolf Hitler was an evil person.
  • People resist moral realism because they think it leads to “intolerance.” In doing so they make two fundamental mistakes. First, they fail to realize that tolerance itself is a value and that they are simply making this one value rule over all others. This is itself a form of moral realism. Second, they fail to understand that tolerance and moral realism can coincide.
  • People disagree about how to implement values, but in the abstract they don’t disagree about the truth of any value. 
  • No one ever says that “justice” or “fairness” or “kindness” or “bravery” or “charity” are not sound values—in the abstract.
  • Moral disagreements are always about the implementation of values, about trying to integrate them into our behavior. This involves taking into account issues of knowledge as well as issues of right and wrong.
  • There are no “new values,” or “different values.” People sometimes think there are new values, simply because the language with which we express values changes. For instance, a popular value term now is “diversity.” But while you don’t find this word in the traditional language of morality, such as that used in the language in the New Testament, you will find the concept (e.g. I Corinthians 12:14–31). There Paul talks about the different roles played by different (i.e., diverse) parts of the body of Christ.
  • People are attracted to moral subjectivism or relativism because it exonerates them of guilt. But the very fact that they so strongly desire to perceive themselves righteous betrays a commitment to moral realism.

B. Some quotes on tolerance (www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/tolerance.html):

  • “Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.” Gilbert K. Chesterton
  • “Tolerance is giving to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself.” Robert Green Ingersoll
  • “I have a zero tolerance for sanctimonious morons who try to scare people.” Pat Robertson
  • “Tolerance is a very dull virtue. It is boring. Unlike love, it has always had a bad press. It is negative. It merely means putting up with people, being able to stand things.” E. M. Forster
  • “I have seen great intolerance shown in support of tolerance.” Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • “Where the Mind is biggest, the Heart, the Senses, Magnanimity, Charity, Tolerance, Kindliness, and the rest of them scarcely have room to breathe.” Virginia Woolf

C. Some Quotes on Political Correctness (www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/political_correctness.html):

  • “It’s this upside-down world that we live in where we afford political correctness to the most intolerant group of individuals on the planet.” Vince Flynn
  • “Transcend political correctness and strive for human righteousness.” Anthony J. D’Angelo
  • “We’re led to believe everybody opposes it and disagrees with political correctness, but yet everybody’s scared to death of it. So who is it? Well, it’s the power structure wherever you happen to be.” Rush Limbaugh
  • “I believe that political correctness can be a form of linguistic fascism, and it sends shivers down the spine of my generation who went to war against fascism.” P. D. James
  • “I got a feeling about political correctness. I hate it. It causes us to lie silently instead of saying what we think.” Hal Holbrook

D. “What does the Bible say about political correctness? Should a Christian be politically correct?” (GotQuestions.org, http://www.gotquestions.org/political-correctness.html) 


  • Political correctness (PC) is defined as “a term that describes language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, religious belief, disability, and age-related contexts.”
  • The key word here is “offense.” No individual or group is to be offended in the PC world. Certainly, as Christians, we are not to go out of our way to offend anyone personally, but the truth is that Christianity itself is offensive. 

The apostle Paul references the “offense of the cross” in Galatians 5:11. The cross was an offense to the Jews because their idea of salvation was to “work the works of God” (John 6:28-29), meaning keeping the numerous burdensome Old Testament laws and rules. When Jesus came preaching salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, they were shattered. He made it plain that no “by works of the law, no human being will be justified in his sight” (Romans 3:20), and that all their law-keeping was of no value to them whatsoever. Especially repugnant to them was the idea that without Jesus, they who prided themselves on their meticulous adherence to the letter, if not the spirit, of the law, could do nothing of spiritual value (John 15:5). 

Truly the offense Jesus created was a stumbling block to the Jews, as Paul explained to the Romans. He reminded them of Isaiah’s prophecy that God would lay a Cornerstone (Christ) in Zion over which many would stumble and fall (Isaiah 8:14, 28:16; Psalm 118:22; 1 Peter 2:6). Just as the Jews stumbled over the idea of their works being of no value to God, so do many today hate the idea that Christ will build His church not on human merits, but on His righteousness alone. That message is as offensive today as it was in Jesus’ day. No one likes to be told there is nothing he can do to earn his place in heaven. 

Equally offensive is the necessity of dying to self in order to follow Christ. Of all the religions of the world today, Christianity is the only one where its founder tells you to follow Him and die. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me'” (Matthew 16:24). Those who heard this message knew exactly what Jesus meant; to follow Him was to die to self and give up everything they ever held dear. That’s why everyone ran away when He was arrested; they weren’t prepared to die with Him. 

Correctness in the secular, political realm is not the concern of Christians or the church because “our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control” (Philippians 3:20-21).


  • While he is not the author of every article on GotQuestions.org, for citation purposes, you may reference our CEO, S. Michael Houdmann.

E. Article: “Christianity in decline because of political correctness” (www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/4593918/Christianity-in-decline-because-of-political-correctness.html)

Christianity is in decline in England because politically correct churches are more interested in accommodating other people’s views than putting forward their own, it is claimed. 

 

By Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent 7:08PM GMT 11 Feb 2009

 

A minister from a black majority church in London told members of the Church of England’s governing body, the General Synod, that many Christians appear to see community cohesion as more important that evangelization. She warned that Christians must not “walk on eggshells” at a time when followers of other religions are “unrelentingly” spreading their message to the public, and said that everyone should be seen as a potential convert. 

The Rev Nezlin Sterling, general secretary of the New Testament Assembly who is an ecumenical representative of the Synod, made her passionate comments during a debate on “the uniqueness of Christ in multi-faith Britain”. She said: “We cannot allow ourselves to be marginalised. This process of marginalisation of Christianity seems to be moving at a rapid rate in our country. I am of the belief that we in the church are so anxious to be politically correct that we on occasions forget to reflect on whether our actions are Christ-correct. We have positioned ourselves like the disciples did after Christ died, behind closed doors, paralysed with fear of the world recognising that we are Christians and bearers of the good news of salvation. It would appear that the church is making a choice between community cohesion and evangelisation, and the former seems to be given priority. Why do we complain about the decline or our membership? What meaningful measures are we taking to correct this negative process? Why should we as Christians have to walk on eggshells to preserve community cohesion and accommodate everyone else when the world around us is becoming more aggressive to Christians, and the mere mention of the words Jesus Christ is an offence to so many of those whom we are seeking to working relationship with? Other faiths are unrelentingly spreading their message and gaining ground that we unwittingly have vacated. There is no room for complacency, no room to procrastinate or retreat but like a mighty army of the church we Christians must go forward, spread the Gospel and the good news of salvation. Every person in my mind is a potential convert.”

The Rev Andrew Dow, a rector in Cheltenham, said Christians were terrified of “the dreaded ‘c’ word” – conversion – but went on: “We need to recover our nerve. We need to refute the life that to be evangelistic is to be a bigot or a fundamental fanatic.”

The Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, a vicar in east London, said Christians should concentrate on their own community rather than trying to convert members of other faiths and asked: “How many of your children are still worshipping?”

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, agreed that the majority of people in the country who call themselves Christian but whom “we never see in our churches” should not be ignored.

Paul Eddy, a lay member of Synod who proposed the motion, insisted he did not want to encourage an “aggressive, confrontational mission to convert anyone” and recognised the talk of the Crusades can create “distress”. But he insisted: “I do have a concern that evangelism, along with many other Christian distinctives, is greatly in danger of being lost amongst the overall desire for people of all faiths and of none to work together to build greater community coherence. What we are witnessing on a monthly, if not weekly basis here in the UK is a strategic, highly-politicised marginalisation of Christianity in the public arena. We have examples of Christian students, magistrates, foster parents, registrars and nurses falling foul of such marginalization.” His motion, which called on bishops to report on their understanding of Christ’s uniqueness and report on good examples of sharing the Gospel, was passed overwhelmingly with 283 for, 8 against and 10 abstaining.

 

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