In every era there are motivating factors or values that seem to emerge and great principles are then placed on this peer pressure of “normality”. These principles naturally give way to dogmatism and an enthusiastic evangelism of “dude, that’s like… so yesterday”. Society verifies it, culture lives it and usually humanity suffers from it. Well for the church, it also has acquiesced to the new normality sustained by a contemporary and postmodern tolerance of everything equal.
……. As I think over my following comments, I find myself faced with a dilemma. I sincerely want the modern-day evangelical church leaders and attendees to hear me out; however my words stand the chance of being nothing more than ink on paper because the modern-day church, as a subscriber to contemporary tolerance, see’s my challenging of opinion as being intolerant. I ask for your indulgence and that you hear me out.
I think now more than ever the church is more culturally isolated than it has ever been. One of the frustrations our think tank contends with is that the contemporary church believes they are more culturally savvy and socially aware than ever before; unfortunately this belief is merited by the contemporary conception of tolerance.
The modern-day Church is working hard at a new zeitgeist, one that rejects a reputation that suggests confrontation, didactic responsibility, and difference of opinion in social and cultural livelihood. By way of emphasis the modern-day Church is instead focusing on expressing an existential vibrancy through philanthropic efforts, loving your neighbor, serving the poor and, strong community fellowship as a more accurate Christian reputation. These reputational emphases are exactly what are expected when “toleration” most values acceptance. This is why I have sympathies to the modern-day Christian church, it is the subtly of this contemporary tolerance that has snuck in and corrupted their theology. Christianity is a comprehensive worldview acquiescing to a reputation of neutrality.
As a thinker this new effort confuses me. This neutrality seems to take away from its strength, having an intellectually rigors worldview that is able to answer questions of reality, greatly define social structure and significantly contribute in the cultural milieu, only because of its exclusivity rather than its neutrality. This begs the question “can neutrality give this worldview a respectable place for people to place their belief or faith in”?
The question, although given the circumstance is a valid one, is an illogical question. If a worldview is neutral, that is it stands for nothing, what would there be to believe in? If a worldview is neutral, accepting everything, than you don’t “believe in”, it would just be a prior knowledge. One of the serious concerns for the modern-day church is that a position of neutrality, believing in nothing and accepting everything, removes you from the public square. The serious part is that with a zeitgeist that dismisses confrontation, didactic responsibility and difference of opinion in social and cultural livelihood, your worldview then lacks the ability to speak to your existential vibrancy.
Another distress point to this kind of neutral tolerance is a pluralistic worldview that, having a predetermined value of epistemic ignorance, accepts all religious ideas as equal. This pluralistic worldview suggests to be tolerant is to extracting oneself from all confrontational issues creating a social and cultural unity. The distress point is when two opposing views conflict with one another, this reality suggests that one view exceeds the other therefore leaving the “all idea tolerance” unworkable. This presupposes that to be tolerant to society we should engage ideas and not treat them equal.
For those who also are thinkers, we recognize the real adversity of this neutral tolerance the Christian Church has implemented is its default guard – it is “unchristian” to question or confront so to confront or questions tolerance, it also is “unchristian”. Ironically enough the liberating hero of this invalid tolerance is reason itself speaking into the existential vibrancy.