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"I did not have sexual relations with that woman."
President Bill Clinton struck a serious pose, pounded the podium, and delivered this declaration with the air of a powerful man who is being detained from serving the American people to deal with trivial details.
The trouble was, he was lying. Not only had he had repeated sexual relations with intern Monica Lewinsky, he lied about it under oath, denied it multiple times on camera, and reportedly encouraged others to lie about it under oath.
What was America's reaction? Lots of people I talked to thought it was great that the President of the United States knew how to have a good time. The poor man worked hard and probably deserved a little action on the side, right?
Under intense pressure and facing impeachment hearings, Clinton finally admitted his lie: "Indeed, I did have a relationship with Ms. Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong.
Okay, he said it was wrong. Yet he never seemed all that sorry. Now here's the worst part of it for me: So many young people I know don't think he had anything to be sorry for.
Everything's Relative-Or Is It?
Moral relativism. Know what that is? Moral relativism is a way of looking at the world that says what is right or wrong for you depends on what you think is morally right or wrong. In other words, everything is relative.
You've heard something like this before, haven't you? "Dude, I know you think that getting high is wrong. Hey, that's cool. Whatever works for you. But I happen to think there's nothing wrong with it, you know? Hang with us if you want. Up to you."
That's the problem with moral relativism-everything's up to you.
Bill Clinton is the poster child for moral relativism. He's charming and smart, and he always lands on his feet. He has enlightened opinions on feminism, the environment, war, and social programs. He's accepting and tolerant, and he won't look down on you if you want to break a few rules. Who cares if he lies to the American people and cheats on his wife?
Our former president is a great example of how moral relativism works in our country: If you have politically correct opinions, you can get away with just about anything.
A Tumor on the American Soul
I'm going to play oncologist now and give America an MRI exam. You're going to see that a malignant mass has spread all across our culture.
Where did this disease come from? I'll explain it in one long, run-on sentence: In the beginning everything was great, but then Christianity came and introduced everybody to guilt, and then came the Enlightenment (early eighteenth century), which told us that science and technology could solve everything, but that was even worse because it led to wars and the exploitation of people and the environment, so a few postmodern philosophers decided we are all free to make our own truth and should quit trying to force everyone to believe what we believe and act like we act.
And so moral relativism was born.
What does this disease-this philosophy called moral relativism-look like? Like a TUMOR. Let me spell it out for you.
In our culture, tolerance is king. We don't want anybody to feel bad about themselves. Everybody gets to do whatever they want, and we're cool with it, so long as it doesn't hurt anybody else. And we get to do whatever we want, too, and it's nobody's business but our own.
What I'm really talking about here are alternative lifestyles. Our generation loves alternative voices, alternative music, alternative medicine-anything, in fact, that flies in the face of "the way things have always been."
It's not just about offending Mom and Dad, though that's a big part of it. I think it's the young person's attempt to show that he (or she) is not just a clone of his parents, but is a unique person who can think for himself. He's throwing out all the old ways because somebody said it was cool and would make him feel powerful.
Our culture loves a victim. If you can show that you've been picked on, pushed around, inconvenienced, or even slightly embarrassed in gym one day, postmodern wisdom says that you have been pushed to the margins of society. You are a good person deserving of a break (especially if the perpetrator was caught on videotape).
Juvenile delinquents are portrayed as victims of a poor upbringing. The misdeeds of celebrities, athletes, and politicians are quickly forgotten because, after all, they were driven to their sordid behavior by the unreasonable demands of fame and fortune. Look again at Bill Clinton-even after the truth about the Lewinsky affair came out, his supporters never wavered, claiming he was the victim of a right-wing conspiracy.
Hey, I love the great outdoors, but what we're talking about here is radical environmentalism. Many of the same people who defend a woman's right to kill her unborn child would hurl themselves in front of a bulldozer to rescue a nest of spotted owl eggs.
This kind of relativistic thinking says that people are the problem. Radical environmentalists believe that humans are to leave the smallest possible footprint on Mother Earth. "Leave the world alone!" they say. "If you can't live in harmony with nature, then you shouldn't live here at all."
Reprobate means "marked by immorality; deviating from what is considered right or proper or good." Our culture has adopted an "anything goes" morality, a kind of moral whatever-ness. Anytime you run into a rule or a traditional moral standard that would keep you from having your fun, you can just say, "I don't believe in a fixed right or wrong. I have the right to explore this path for myself. I believe it's true for me. Try to stop me and I'll scream that my rights are being violated!"
What a deal! Not only are you allowed to do whatever feels right, the culture will now come to your aid if someone tries to stand in your way. If you break into someone's house and slip on their floor, you can sue them for thousands of dollars. Get paid for burglary-what a country!
Time for Your MRI Exam
Now you know what I mean by a TUMOR. But we're not done with our MRI machine just yet. Let's point this baby a little closer to home. How are you doing against the onslaught of moral relativism? Are you holding your ground? Or is the same disease taking hold in your life, too? And what about the people you hang with after class or at church?
Again, let's start with the issue of tolerance. Do you ever find yourself in uncomfortable situations-parties with drinking or drugs, say-where you keep quiet because you don't want to offend anyone? Do your friends, even the ones in your church youth group, walk around saying or wearing things that seem to contradict biblical morality? Is your youth pastor considered a cool guy because he's tolerant and accepting of this kind of stuff?
What about untraditionalism? Are you and your crowd so set on being different or independent that you reject anything that conforms to traditional authority? How about your church? There are all kinds of worship styles, but if the window is thrown open to every type of "Christian" faith-to the point where the Bible becomes irrelevant or Jesus is no longer seen as the only way to God-you may get sucked right out that window into a tornado.
Now, our MRI should reveal a passion for the marginalized. Jesus Himself has a heart for the outcast and the oppressed. Our God is "father to the fatherless, a defender of widows" (Psalm 68:5, NIV). But when you or your church concentrates only on social programs and food for the hungry, refusing to pass on the good news of the gospel, then your priorities are out of whack. The YMCA is a good example. The ITLITL in its acronym stands for Christian-but I doubt if the people who participate in its programs know it.
Then there is the great outdoors. Maybe you and your friends celebrate "Earth Day." Or maybe you've heard a cry in your church to become more "earth friendly." Remember the "What Would Jesus Drive?" campaign? Don't get me wrong: I think nature is fantastic. I'm out there every chance I get. But I also believe that God placed mankind over nature and told us to subdue it (see the first chapter of the first book of the Bible, verse 28). When we as Christians act like we're not the stewards of nature but rather its servants, I start to get upset.
Do you see any sign of your Christian friends being reprobate-that is, living by the world's anything-goes standards? How about yourself? I'm not asking if you make mistakes. Of course you do. But I turn on the TV and see Catholic priests being arrested on charges of pedophilia. I switch channels and see a televangelist living in luxury but crying for more money for his ministry. Then I see some minister get up and defend homosexuality from the pulpit. We're not just talking about mistakes here. We're talking about a deliberate and very unbiblical lifestyle.
The TUMOR Has to Come Out
If an MRI clearly showed a massive growth in your chest sending out cancer cells to every corner of your body, you'd want the thing to come out, right? But just like smokers who won't quit the habit even when they get lung cancer, our patient doesn't want to deal with the problem.
I'm talking about America here. About today's church. And yes, about you and the guys and girls you hang out with. Like cancer, moral relativism is a life-threatening problem that won't go away by itself. The TUMOR has to come out.
I didn't write this book to fix America. I didn't even write it to change the church. I wrote this book to show you that moral relativism and Christianity don't mesh. Have you noticed seeds of this worldly philosophy creeping into your heart? If so, I'm here to help you decide if you want to go the way of the world or the way of Jesus Christ.
It's time to get off the fence, and you've got to come down on one side or the other.
Excerpted from BE INTOLERANT by RYAN DOBSON JEFFERSON SCOTT Copyright © 2003 by James Dobson, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted June 6, 2008
Those that 'don't understand' this book obviously haven't read the book or even the synopsis. Sometimes being loving is to say to your child 'no, you can't have that'. They may not understand, but the truth is that if you gave them everything they ever thought they wanted they'd be dead before they turned 5 years old. Sometimes you have to be intolerant of wrong things to have a good life. What's so hard to understand about that? Also, the rant about homosexuality and what the bible says about killing them and stoning adulterers...if you read the whole bible including the New Testament (all that was taken from the Old Testament) it says that we are under a new covenant or testament and we are under grace not law. We don't stone and kill people for their sins, but that doesn't mean that certain things aren't still wrong. If I want to build up my body, my muscles, I have to be intolerant of junk food and being a couch potato to be able to have time and energy to lift weights, etc. It's really so simple! It's a life lesson that we should really learn early in life.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 13, 2007
Let's see....being a good Christian means to be forgiving. Being a good Christian means to be loving. Being a good Christian means to be gracious. Being a good Christian means to be merciful. So, being a good Christian means to be INTOLERANT?????? I don't get it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 16, 2006
The fact remains, this book is about being intolerant, being judgmental, which is what being intolerant is all about! How else can one define being intolerant???? How else can you define the title???? As to Gays and the Bible, yes, the Bible says some clear things about same sex behavior, and what it says is clear....it is wrong. And, it also goes on to say that men who engage in same sex behavior are to be put to death, (Lev. 20:13). Dobson and others like him claim the Bible is absolute and correct in condemning same sex behavior, but then they call for these men to change and become straight, and therefore tolerable and acceptable to the rest of us. Yet the same Bible they quote from unequivocally condemns these men and clearly calls for their deaths! That is being hypocritical: you cannot have it both ways, saying same-sex behavior is wrong because the Bible says it is, then turn around and love those who do same sex behaviors, in order only to get them to change and be normal and acceptable (tolerable). If you are going to believe every word that Bible says, then the Bible says it is wrong and then, they are to be put to death!!!! If the Bible is absolute and correct, then those men must be put to death! (And, the Bible is also very, very clear on many other topics: all divorced people who remarry while their ex-spouses are alive are to be stoned to death, gluttony or overeating is a serious and grave sin listed far more times that drunkenness and same-sex behaviors, women cannot teach anything, anywhere, including Sunday School and public schools....nor be in any position of authority, slavery of some people is acceptable and defendable in the Bible, the world has four corners and therefore flat, and the list goes on....yet Dobson and his kind only pick & choose verses that suit them to use AGAINST other people, and then go on to calling it Christian to be intolerant, and therefore judgmental of them!) How any one can read this book (or even just the title) and think it's not about being judgmental is beyond me! The very title calls for people to be intolerant of other people and their lifestyles. Dobson calls Jesus the most intolerant person of all!!!! In essence, he is saying Jesus was not only intolerant, but judgmental of others. Yet the only people I can see that Jesus had little time for and laid into were the self-appointed, self-righteous 'hypocrites' (his own word) of his day, the super religious moral majority of his own day, who were totally intolerant of those who did not live up to their standards, the Pharisees. Dobson and those who claim to have all the answers, by their own words and actions, appear to be no different than those Pharisees. The fact remains: this book is an instruction book to be intolerant, judgmental and prejudicial, none of which have anything to do with being a true Christian. The book is all about intolerance, not Christ-like behaviors. We are to love all people, even our enemies, especially our enemies, with no exceptions, no small print, no conditions, with no if's, but's or other conditional clauses, (like loving the sinner and hating the sin, which is NOT in the Bible, but rather an idea that St. Augustine came up with some centuries ago). As Christians, we are called to love without boundaries, forgive the unforgivable, and no longer be intolerant and judgmental of others. After all, it was Jesus who said, ¿Father, forgive them, they know not what they do¿.¿ He was not intolerant of them but was loving and forgiving even to those who rejected him and killed him. We are call to nothing less, and with all certainty, we are not called as Christians to be intolerant!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 7, 2006
This book isnt about judging people. Infact thats the farthest thing from what its talking about. This book is talking about how we have to realise that there is an 'absolute truth' out there weither you want to believe it or not. Its talking about how some people today believe that there is no 'right' or 'wrong' and with compromise everything can just be 'right' for everyone. But ryan explains how that is completely unture. There is a right, and there is a wrong, and with out there being right and wrongs our society, our life, nothing would function. I encourage you to read it. I was sceptical at first too, like many of you, but i saw him speak, and you honestly couldnt find a more unjudgemental and loving guy with an awesome passion for the Lord. read it. i challenge you. It will change your life.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 19, 2006
It does seem like Ryan Dobson is only coming down on EVERYONE, but he's not judging them. Judging requires someone saying that they're better than them. Not once does he say that. Dobson explains clearly that our society is too tolerant. For example, all the Gay and Lesbian rights: most of the people voting for them are Christians! Why? Because our mind set has become one of touchy-feely mush. Paul would be ashamed of us. God clearly states that homosexuality is wrong, and so we must abide by that. We are not hating them, just their sin. As a teenager, I fully appreciated this book and its boldfacedness. Thanks Ryan Dobson!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 29, 2005
This book is a sorry excuse for being a mean-spirited and judgmental person. I was appalled when the author referred to Jesus Christ being the most intolerant person of all! Wow! All this trashy book does is allow and encourage prejudiced people to be more so! Whatever happened to Matthew 7:1, 'Judge not that you may not be judged...'???? Obviously, the author has erased it from his Bible. I work at a state prison, and I work hard at trying to teach offenders and staff alike that judging people is not our job, but our Christian duty is to be TOLERANT and LOVING towards ALL People. Like a bumper sticker I saw recently, 'God Bless Everyone, NO EXCEPTIONS!' The author here has MANY exceptions, and uses (that is, ABUSES) Christianity to rationalize his own prejudices, bigotries and intolerances. Nothing Christian in that!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 25, 2005
This book is an excellent read that addresses the hard truths about the ruining of our children and society's corruption of them. What a shame that others will still be too blind and refuse to see the truth, which is, if you believe in everything, you believe in nothing. People who spout tolerance of today's relativism are actually some of the most intolerant people out there. Excellent book if you are ready to examine things for yourself.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 26, 2004
The great intellectual tragedy of this epoch is intolerance. As the Germans showed us all too well--and after all, it was German culture which brought us Goethe, Kant, and Beethoven--one can argue persuasively for just about anything, including well constructed gas ovens. Christians who find themselves agreeing with such absolutist nonsense should give themselves a good shake and get back to work. ''Drive,'He said. For Christ's sake, look out where you're going.'Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 5, 2004
The author does a really good job at exposing the issues that are making today's Christians be tolerant and silent. He approaches each of those issues on a biblical basis to help us understand why we cannot tolerate them and what we can do to be intolerant.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.