The other day I went over the way tolerance is defined. Essentially, it boils down to being “permissive” (ie accepting) of another person’s opinion or behavior with which I disagree. I will do no such thing. Therefore, because I refuse to accept that which I disagree with (see oxymoron), I am, by definition, a bigot (a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion). I proudly claim the title, because I think it means nothing!
The best way to explain this ridiculous sense of “tolerance” is with an example. An appropriate example is in the news in WA right now, as the state legislature and government sign a bill legalizing gay marriage. It should come as no shock by now, that this is a position that I do not agree with. There is plenty I might say against gay “marriage”, and every bit as much I might say about the way heterosexuals do “marriage”, but I won’t. Instead, please let me tell you my own view of what real marriage is.
From my theistic worldview, in the beginning, God created mankind in his own image. He made them male and female to be partners, because it was not good for them to be alone. (Gen 1:27, Gen 2:18). That’s really all I need. I could find other things in both biblical and natural revelation to speak in support of heterosexual unions as the ideal, but I look at creation (which I’ve already said I can’t accept as anything but created by a Creator because it doesn’t make sense to me) and acknowledge, as far as life partners go, that men and women were designed to be mates. Even from a purely biological perspective, this just makes sense to me, so I let both the natural and the biblical inform my opinion the matter. I believe it is clear that creating and raising children is also best done by both a mother and a father. There are years of studies that go to this point.
That’s sort of the simple mechanics of what I think marriage ought to be, but what about the philosophical purpose of the partnership? Is it to find one’s “soul mate” and live “happily ever after”, or at least until we can’t stand each other any more? I think not. Actually, I think I recently heard the best description as it was put by a gentleman named Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German who stood up against the Nazi’s for their mistreatment of the Jewish people, and was ultimately hung by his captors. In letters smuggled out of a Nazi prison by sympathetic guards, Bonhoeffer wrote to a young married couple that marriage is, “more than your love for each other”. He said marriage, “has a higher dignity and power, for it is God’s holy ordinance, through which he wills to perpetuate the human race till the end of time…It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.”
This is essentially my view of marriage. It is not a government institution, it is a God ordained institution. It is a union created by God for his purposes, not my merely my own pleasure, and not to be cast aside when our jr high idea of love subsides. Certainly, like a lot of God’s creations there is much about marriage that is pleasing when the rule book is followed. However, most people, including vast numbers of heterosexuals, throw out the rule book on marriage and make their own, which ultimately leads to untold strife for themselves and countless innocent children. What Bonhoeffer understood is that proper marriage doesn’t take “soul mates” and legalize them, it takes two souls committed to fulfilling God’s purpose for the relationship, and ties them together to perpetuate the human race and the family unit as God intended it to be. Marriage creates soul mates. Soul mates are not found. Anything less than a man and a woman committed to each other before God FOR LIFE doesn’t fit my requirement for marriage. As a society, it is obvious that we fail miserably at this all around.
Now that you know my position on how marriage ought to be practiced, what say you? Do you agree with my opinion? If not, I told you I would call you an intolerant bigot. We all disagree on something. I even disagree with my own wife on some things, and we were made soul mates going on 15 years ago. The problem is she’s an intolerant bigot. I give her a break though, because we already found out that I am as well. Luckily, she agreed to stick with me until I kick the bucket. I agreed to do the same. The “D” word isn’t even part of our working vocabulary. I will love her and remain committed to her until the day that I die, knowing that she’s not the one that will ultimately hold me accountable, because the commitment wasn’t only to her. We both said “til death” to our Creator and we meant it. There’s no giving up, so we might as well make the best of it. Since we both answer to a higher authority than the government, they have nothing meaningful to say about it, nor about any other real marriage. Luckily we have a rule book that seems to work really well when applied properly. I can’t imagine going through life with anybody else. Happy Valentine’s Day, Babe!
“Tolerance” is a myth. Nobody can be expected to accept the opinions or behaviors that they disagree with. Nor should they. I’m intolerant. You’re intolerant. We’re all intolerant! I would never expect you to agree with me on or support me in something you don’t agree with. That’s just stupid. It’s an oxymoron. Ideas will always be in opposition. Applying labels to people who don’t agree with you is just name calling. It isn’t productive. It has just become a way for people to attack other people, rather than their ideas. If you ask me, the word “tolerance” should be thrown out of the dictionary and political arena because it has been hijacked by ne’er-do-wells. Further, the word “bigot” should be reserved for real cases of bigotry that need labeling. What are the real cases? I think that’s for part 3, when I throw out “tolerance” for opinions and behaviors and replace it with “love and respect” for people. I guess I still also need to get back and replace my daughter’s tolerance award with something more suitable, like a tolerate award.