It struck me in thinking about yesterday’s post that we should not be surprised by the shameful behavior of so-called “tolerateurs.” These folk claim to plant mighty trees of peace, but one finds a key question to ask in apprising the tree: where are its roots? Herein lies the reason behind the hateful behavior of those who claim peace above all else.
In the secularist vision of the world, there is no foundation for dignity. What do I mean by this? Well, secularists, like most of us, say that they want to treat all people the same, with respect and love and all that. But when you examine their beliefs, and ask them why they (and we, for that matter) should do so, they really have no answer at all. They will offer something like “it’s just right” and “that’s the way to live” and “all the great leaders of the world have pushed us to this end.” The last response begins to hint at a philosophical basis for dignity, but it is so loose as to give way at first probing. There really is no foundation for dignity in the secularist worldview. In fact, there is no foundation for anything, save nihilism, because there is nothing behind anything to guide humans. There is no revelation, no supreme deity, no Living Word to speak the decree to value all men as dignified beings. Where one searches for speech, one finds only silence.
Contrast this with the Christian view of humanity. We have a definite reason to treat others with dignity: our Lord has instructed to do so, having Himself made us in His precious and holy image. Now there’s a reason for dignity. Almighty God did and said so. Revelation lights the way. Informed with this truth, we Christians understand that we ought not to slander and defame and generally hate other beings, for they are created by God and invested with dignity. Thus, when someone makes a mistake, even someone with whom we have a world of philosophical and theological disagreement, we treat them with dignity, because they are beings made in the image of God, however flawed.
The world lacks this understanding. That is why it speaks tolerance out of one side of its mouth and spews venom out of the other. There are no roots to the tolerance tree; and so it is doomed to perish, or give way, when the earth rebels or the tide rises. Not so the Christian worldview. Ours is steadfast, rooted in a sure foundation, grounded on the unshakeable rock of revelation. There is a means to hope. There is a foundation for dignity.