ADVERTISING
 
Saturday, March 25   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 
Flecha
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
Faith at the workplace
Do you agree with the EU Court of Justice that religious and political symbols can be banned at the workplace?




SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Francisco Sánchez
 

A tolerated world

Who wouldn’t want to be tolerant? Raise your hand, please! But what does it mean exactly?

AUTHOR Francisco Sanchez TRANSLATOR Israel Planagumà 15 JUNE 2016 12:51 h GMT+1
Photo: Suhyeon Choi (Unsplash, CC)

The world is ‘tolerated’, who will ‘intolerate’ it?1 ‘Tolerant’ has become one of the best compliments you can receive. On the other hand, ‘he/she is an intolerant person’ hurts our ears.



Different dictionaries offer different meanings for the verb “to tolerate”. I want to focus on two of the senses, but I will present four senses2 to save you from looking for them: 1. To refrain from interfering with or prohibiting (something undesirable or outside one's own practice or beliefs); allow or permit. 2. To recognize and respect (the rights, beliefs, or practices of others). 3. To accept or be patient regarding (something unpleasant or undesirable); endure. 4. Medicine To have tolerance for (a substance or pathogen).



Who wouldn’t want to be tolerant? Raise your hand, please! What does it mean exactly, when we say someone is tolerant? It can mean that someone is patient, but it also defines somebody who ‘approves’ of something illicit -illegal, forbidden by law; it is also used to talk about the tolerance of certain foods, e.g. ‘she is lactose-intolerant’; finally, we also use it to describe the level or respect a person shows for conflicting ideas other people promote.



I don’t know if you’ll agree with me, but the first sense is the one that worries me the most: to refrain from interfering with or prohibiting (something undesirable or outside one’s own practice or beliefs), especially when it’s done by omission, passively. It worries me because, when limits are not clear, the lack of restraint follows. Where is the boundary between good and evil? Does it even exist? Is it set by each person according to their perceptions?



Tolerance is everybody’s business. The way it is expressed nowadays, it is within the framework of interpersonal relationships. That is, it can’t be exclusively based on a unique, personal perception, but on the sum of what the many see, think and feel. This is great when the majority is moving within the right parameters, but disastrous when it’s not. Is the majority always right?



One of the enemies we face when it comes to tolerance is apathy. Let’s use the following analogy: I can tolerate dairy products because I’m not lactose-intolerant. That is, it doesn’t affect me. Many times I see that it’s easy to tolerate something -opinions, actions, social injustice…- simply because it doesn’t affect us directly. Mora than tolerant, this should be called being apathetic, shouldn’t it? Those who suffer from allergies take care of paying attention to the ingredients on the back of food containers.



Cristina Yanes Cabrera explains the concept of tolerance in this way: ‘today, being tolerant doesn’t mean giving up one’s convictions, defending and spreading them, but doing it without the resource to violent imposition.  Tolerance entails respecting and being considerate  towards others’ opinions and actions, as well as recognizing immunity for those who profess customs, traditions and beliefs different to those officially accepted. Tolerance must entail, necessarily, the lack of any violence, physical or of any other kind, towards the opinions considered different or wrong, and must express the willingness to accept, without being upset, that others might profess ideas and opinions differing from ours.’ 3



Even though I agree with most of what I have quoted, there is something that deserves more attention. What does it mean ‘Tolerance entails [...] immunity for those who profess customs, traditions and beliefs different to those officially recognized’? I wonder what is “officially accepted”, in our society. Human rights? What happens, then, with those countries which don’t uphold human rights? For example, female genital mutilation violates the human rights of, at least, 140 million women. Why is it tolerated? Is it because the countries where this practice takes place have some kind of international immunity? What weighs more on the scale of injustice, the evil of the wicked or the indifference of the righteous?



We must not only know the human rights, but respect them, and that implies raising one’s hand to have the floor and denouncing any violations. The same applies to civil law. They set the legal limits of our action. Big corporations know a lot about this.  What should be say about the natural laws governing the universe? When somebody looks out onto the balcony from a high floor, we worry because we know the law of gravity. Everything is OK, so far. But my question is whether there are other laws that go beyond human rights, civil codes and natural law.



Is there a universal moral Law? Philosophy has been debating this for centuries. Is there a universal code of behavior for human beings? Christian think there is one, and they call it the Bible.



Our secularized society doesn’t take it into account, thinks of it as useless in today’s world. However, in it we find the model of a person who established a value superior to that of tolerance. Jesus said that the whole law could be summarized in two points: one of these is to love others as we love ourselves. He didn’t ask us to simply consent to other people’s attitudes, opinions or actions, but to go one step further to get involved and help people in their quest for truth. Jesus presented himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life. What laws revolve around these three concepts? Do we know them? Do they affect us? If so, we will be something beyond tolerant. Apathy won’t be a part of our code of behavior.



Francisco Sánchez, Secondary School teacher in Spain. 



 



Notes:



1. In the original, this is a play on words on a popular tongue twister in Spanish.



2. The original article uses the definitions found in the Diccionario de la Lengua Española de la Real Academia. The definitions provided here are found in The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Retrieved June 13, 2016, from https://ahdictionary.com/. Click here to see these definitions on the publisher’s website. These senses roughly match the definitions in Spanish.



3. Antecedentes de una educación para la tolerancia en la Historia de la Educación española a través de algunos de los educadores más representativos, Revista Iberoamericana de Educación (ISSN: 1681-5653).


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - A tolerated world
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Israel, the UN resolution and the long conflict Israel, the UN resolution and the long conflict

Shira Sorko-Ram, pastor and journalist in Israel, shares her views and a historical and biblical context on the latest events.

 
Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe

Is the arrival of thousands of Muslims to Europe a threat to Christianity? What is the growth of evangelical churches in Eastern and Southern Europe? An interview with theologian and Lausanne Movement representative Lindsay Brown.

 
Giovanni Traettino: “Pope Francis is my brother in Christ” Giovanni Traettino: “Pope Francis is my brother in Christ”

Evangelical Focus asked the well-known Pentecostal pastor about his “open” approach to Roman Catholicism. Traettino defended his position about ecumenism during the Italian Evangelical Alliance 2016 assembly (8-9 April, Rome).

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Thomas Bucher: Vision of the EEA Thomas Bucher: Vision of the EEA

Influence in society, evangelical identity and projects in Europe. An interview with Thomas Bucher, secretary general of the European Evangelical Alliance.

 
Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission

“We want to see the youth not just being equipped, but also being multipliers”, Evi Rodemann director of Mission-Net. The European Congress took place in Germany from December 28 to January 2.

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch

Author and international speaker Dr Pablo Martínez discusses the main challenges in Europe nowadays and hopes Evangelical Focus will be a useful tool to help build bridges between churches and society.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country ‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country

Bilbao hosted the Spanish Evangelical Alliance's annual meeting (assembly). Politicians, professors and evangelical representatives shared views on social reconciliation. The theme was also analysed from a theological perspective and in workshops. 

 
WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues

A selection of pictures of World Press Photo 2017.

 
‘Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible’ ‘Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible’

Indian author Vishal Mangalwadi spoke about how the biblical worldview shaped the West. 300 professionals attended annual GBG meeting on faith and work in Cullera (Spain). Photos: J.P. Serrano, S. Vera.

 
Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016 Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016

Around 1,000 young Christian leaders from 150 countries are participating in the 2016 Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering, to reflect on global mission.

 
“Spain, we pray for you” “Spain, we pray for you”

Hundreds of evangelical Christians from many denominations marched in Madrid (Spain) to pray for their city, the authorities and asking God to bring hope to its society. Many gathered in other cities on June, 11.

 
VIDEO Video
 
How does erotic love feature in the Bible? How does erotic love feature in the Bible?

Richard Winter, Psychotherapist and Professor Emeritus of Covenant Theological Seminary, answers the question.

 
Proverbs 31 Proverbs 31

A powerful video recites Proverbs 31:10-31, from the Bible. Produced by World Relief. 

 
‘You are a… Christian?’ ‘You are a… Christian?’

A clip by Tracey Ullman's Show (BBC, in the UK) gives a humorous approach to how Christians are perceived in the labour market.

 
What historical obstacles do European missionaries need to overcome? What historical obstacles do European missionaries need to overcome?

Teaching Director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka Ajith Fernando answers the question.

 
You-To live-How? You-To live-How?

The Roldan Camacho are a Spanish couple with deafness. They tell us how the whole family experiences everyday life through sign language. A video report by Gabriela Pérez.

 
“Who can help me? I want to become a Christian” “Who can help me? I want to become a Christian”

Nikos Stefanidis of ‘Helping Hands’ in Athens (Greece) shares the story of an Afghan lady who decided to follow Jesus.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.