I was minding my own business yesterday when my roommate’s mom knocks on my door to say hi and then proceeded to insult my social values and told me I have to be more tolerant. I spend most of my time in my room with the door shut. I have Catholic stickers on my door and a letter from my bishop taped to the door explaining the grave evils of the health care mandate, so that’s probably what set her off as I know she is vehemently opposed to Catholicism. It’s not that I haven’t heard all the garbage about tolerance before. Being on a college campus I am on the front lines of the cultural wars.
But what really upset me was how she tried to use the Bible to change my mind. I didn’t really know what to tell her in response. I can argue these topics fairly well with Catholics because I know Catholic social teaching and Church doctrine, but I have no idea what to say to mainstream non-religious Christians (if that even makes sense). So virtually in every circumstance I leave them alone. But this time she asserted herself in my face, so I really couldn’t just ignore it the way I normally do.
So my question is, what does the Bible say about tolerance? What does the Church teach about tolerance? I was under the impression that we are not to tolerate any evil, and not to cooperate with any evil. I know some passages by St. Paul that are to my liking, but not much else.
I try not to insult people who I don’t like. I don’t willingly hurt anyone. I don’t kill those with whom I disagree. If people need help I’d gladly help them. I am even friends with a muslim and I work with her all the time in my physiology class. I was under the impression that if the Church called for any sort of tolerance, THAT would be the right kind of tolerance. I refuse to turn a blind eye to sin, and I refuse to accept any evil as acceptable. If somebody wrongs me, I will tell them, and then I will lovingly forgive them if they are sorry.
I absolutely loathe the cultural interpretation of tolerance, in which we are to render everything innocuous and pretend that there is no evil on this earth (except for those who are intolerant apparently, as this kid’s mom told me I had evil in my eyes). For this reason, as soon as anyone mentions the word “tolerance,” I associate it with this cultural garbage. I don’t believe that people use the word “tolerance” nowadays to describe the genuine forgiveness and love that the word should actually mean.