||[Aug. 1st, 2004|03:55 pm]
the Bible clearly and repeatedly states that the only way to be saved is through accepting Jesus Christ as your savior. So, when it comes to tolerance of “other teachings” that reveal other ways of getting to heaven, Christianity is not tolerant (and should not be).
That does not (and should not) mean that Christians look down on or hate people who have other beliefs (or who are members of various races and cultures). The apostle Paul made this clear in the opening verses of Romans chapter 9, where he said (our paraphrase) that he would be willing to go to hell if his sacrifice would save his Jewish brothers (who are following a false religion and are therefore doomed).
Knowing the truth (especially if they can prove it) makes many Christians want to inform others who are following the wrong spiritual path. When replying to people who are obviously not Christians, we (at Clarifying Christianity) often use the phrase “I am not trying to convert you” in our response. We still tell people the truth, which is not compatible with cults, other religions, atheism, or agnosticism. They are then free to make their own decision. We believe this can be classified as tolerant.
When it comes to tolerating individuality within the Christian community, Christianity is very tolerant. (1 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 12 through the end of chapter 13 is a good guideline here. Some groups do not follow the Bible very well and bicker with each other—to their shame.) As a very simple example, if the only Christian law was “do not murder,” would that leave Christians free to do almost anything they wanted? Obviously, it would. There is more than one law in the Bible, but reading through the New Testament will reveal that most of them are “built in” values anyway. So, while people follow Christian laws (one of which is following civil laws), they still can pursue the hobbies they like, wear the clothes they wish, eat the food they prefer, and so on. This is also tolerant.