Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: intolerance

Newspeak at work

There is an article in Montréal la Presse today about the horrified reaction of some women to the Dico des filles 2014 (2014 Girls dictionary). This is a book, published in France, written to help girls aged 12 and older face questions of conduct and morality. What is it that some women find so inappropriate? Here is a free translation of a few quotes from the book:

On the subject of abortion: “Although this is permitted by law, that does not make it just and moral. Abortion is a serious act which brings into question the value of human life.  . . .  An abortion always causes a wound that takes a long time to heal.” And: “Moral authorities and the major religious families all have something to say [on the subject of abortion] because it is their role to set out the priniples for guiding human activities. . . . . It is true that abortion is a serious act. But it is possible to condemn the act without condemning the person who had an abortion.”

On the subject of homosexuality: “It is true that some stable homosexual couples do exist. But the relationships are often ephemeral and unstable.” And: “Life is not simple for homosexuals and the road to happiness is full of pitfalls.”

Such words as these, which seem so mild and tolerant to me, are judged as being hideously intolerant by certain women’s groups.  They want the books removed from public libraries and anywhere that girls might have access to such retrograde ideas of right and wrong.

George Orwell coined the word “newspeak” in his dystopian novel 1984.  He foresaw a world where the thought police would take a word and make it mean the the direct opposite of what it originally meant. Are we there yet? It seems that we are getting close when some people  label as intolerant any hint of a view that is different than their own and try to prevent it from being heard, then say that they are the tolerant ones.

Nevertheless, the Dico pour filles appears to be selling well, bookstores are sold out of the 2014 edition and awaiting the arrival of the 2015 edition in a few weeks.

What has happened to tolerance?

George Orwell’s dystopian vision, expounded in his novel Nineteen Eighty-four, appears to be slowly and inexorably taking shape around us.  The thought leaders of our society have constituted themselves into an unofficial Ministry of Truth, changing the meaning of words and inventing new words.  The result — and make no mistake about it, this is the intended result — is that we are gradually losing our ability to think clearly.

Some of the same women who deplore the supposed subjugation of women to men in marriage will proclaim that the degradation of women by prostitution is evidence of the liberation of women, because a woman’s body is her own and she has a right to use it as she pleases.  Orwell labelled this kind of thinking as doublethink: the ability to believe two opposing ideas at the same time and to believe that each one is entirely true.

In like manner, it appears to be possible to be an advocate for women’s “liberation” and at the same time be a supporter of the application of Sharia law in western society.

When it comes to homosexuality, the only acceptable point of view in our society today is unqualified approval and admiration.  This is called tolerance, and no other point of view is tolerated.  This sounds remarkable like the old definition of intolerance.  Those of us who do not endorse the homosexual lifestyle but who harbour no hostility or ill will towards individuals caught up in that lifestyle are labelled intolerant.  The meanings of tolerant and intolerant have been completely reversed.

Christians are labelled as intolerant if we actually believe and live as the Bible tells us.  Any hint of disapproval of things approved by society is called intolerance.  How can I be tolerant of things that I know to be wrong?  I believe that it is right and good to be tolerant to the extent of not using force to prevent others from engaging in immoral conduct.  That is not the same as approving such conduct.  “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11).

On a slightly different aspect of tolerance, is it enough for a Christian to be tolerant when it comes to cultural differences that are neither right nor wrong?  The apostle Paul wrote: “there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:11).

If Christ is all, and in all members of the church, then cultural differences (not sin but ordinary differences in outlook and practice that distinguish cultures) should not be seen hindrances to Christian fellowship, but as evidence of the grace of God to all mankind.  They are significant in allowing us a broader vision of how saving faith in Jesus Christ is, and always has been, accessible to all people, anywhere, in every era

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