In 1984, a Christian poet and dissident from the
Soviet Union wrote a book, “Talking about God is Dangerous.” The wall
has fallen – and our angry culture is building a new one. Freedom for
one is liberty for all…let’s be civil and wise, but never give way to
censorship of ideas. Disagreement is not intolerance and choosing moral
and religious values does not make folks, “phobes.”
Debating our deepest differences with civility is the heart of ordered liberty. My Muslim friends regard Jesus as a prophet…I regard him as God, crucified and risen for my salvation. We disagree. I do not regard Mohammed as a prophet, but I respect my Muslim neighbor’s right to disagree with me. Atheists find my convictions quaint or even dangerous. I disagree with their arguments…and we can be friends. My biblical sexual ethic is at odds with many – and we can make the world a better place together caring for the vulnerable. But please do not castigate my ethics as intolerant.
Will we continue our historical progress toward true toleration or retreat to oppression and castigate anyone not sharing our precise language? I am confident that a free market of ideas produces much better fruit than a world of self-appointed, politically correct marshals waiting to pounce.
Let’s get to work and make our world better, one conversation at a time.
To all who are “triggered” by the free exchange of ideas:
careful what you agitate for…once you go down the road of restricting
liberty of conscience and expression, you will find there is no end to
the paranoia, lust for power, and totalitarianism lurking just below the
surface. We now have the marginal at the center and the center at the
The lessons of the French Revolution, the evils of the USSR’s formation and expansion, Mao’s murderous Cultural Revolution, Pol Pot’s destruction of Cambodia, Iran’s self-immolation…all of these started with words like “freedom” and “the people” and ended with authoritarians killing “counterrevolutionary” people.
Now we have feminist pioneers being eviscerated for not wanting men to compete in women’s sports. Science is thrown out the window and feelings reign supreme. Religious business owners (only Christian, by the way) are targeted for destruction. Arresting thieves becomes a cause for accusations of a “history of racism” with college leaders agitating…and when found out, hiding behind the very First Amendment they hate so much.
Cambridge scholars cannot speak at Oxford. Former Muslims are forced off platforms. Exposure of jihadism becomes a cause for accusation of another “phobe.”
can do better in a free and virtuous society. But we must have the
character and courage to debate without rancor and live peaceably with
our deepest differences.
Pause. Breathe. Pray. Love your neighbor through your good work and acts of kindness. Read history. Stay alert to opportunities to serve. Foster justice. Turn off the media for a day and discover normal blood pressure.
Freedom of conscience is the first freedom.
Yes, I do want all around me to place their faith in Jesus Christ. This is an invitation, not intolerance, a voluntary act welcoming a believer into a new identity and sociology, not a political party or enslaving ideology.
And I affirm the liberty of those of other philosophies and religious to debate, share and digress from me. While we dialogue and evangelize, let’s make our neighborhoods flourish and be friends even with our deep differences.
Breaking free of generational oppression (cultural, economic, racial, social, spiritual) is a work of divine power…most often expressed through healthy relationships. As people of faith, hope and love, we have huge social capital – and when we intentionally make friends, the world changes. Every transformational story includes at least once inspiring relationship. Perhaps we are that person for someone.
2 challenges for today:
Libertarians: will you consider the common good and advocate for ethics and unselfishness as part of true liberty? You cannot unite Ayn Rand and Judeo-Christian values.
Socialists: your compassion must be united with economic sense. Removal of incentives chases creativity and innovation away and a large government class is no substitute for entrepreneurship.
There are better paths than these extremes.