The right to believe anything

Recently I read this:

“The right to believe anything does not mean that anything anyone believes is right. The former is freedom of conscience and must always be respected unconditionally; the latter idea is nonsense and must often be opposed . . .”

Os Guinness – Unspeakable – Facing Up to the Challenge of Evil

I’d like to make a a two points in response.

First, we Christians should acknowledge that the church has often gotten it wrong concerning the proper application of tolerance. At times we have deserved the criticism that we are intolerant because of the way we have behaved toward those with whom we disagree.

We have proved to be quick to apply labels and put people into categories that diminish the respect that they are due as image-bearers of the God we claim to worship. We have lumped people into a faceless enemy rather than seeing them as ones whom God loves and wants to be in relationship with.

But, on the other hand, we do need to oppose ideas when they are untrue. The law of non-contradiction requires us to acknowledge that two mutually exclusive things cannot both be true.

So while we should always be loving toward those who disagree with what we believe, we also need to be clear about the distinction between what is true and what is false. We should also do our best to be able to explain why we make the distinction.

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