Tolerance or Patience

God’s Ways are not Our Ways

Looking at the world today, particularly in the American context, one cannot but notice the moral decline. As the secular dominance in the political and cultural sphere continues to expand we must acknowledge that secular humanist dominance is the reason for the decline. The irony is that much of what is problematic today is given approval in the public sphere due to the repeated calls for tolerance.

In admitting that the secular worldview permeates all levels of education and formation today, we must take into account the secular call for tolerance and the impact it has in moral formation. Forgetting the question as to wether or not the secularists actually practice tolerance themselves, the reasoning behind tolerance is to allow attitudes and behaviors to flourish without interference or guilt. As certain behaviors and attitudes spread, they can then be evaluated. But with tolerance as the primary premise, all acts and attitudes must be taken as initially neutral in the moral realm.

The danger we face as Catholics is that many believers now embrace the tolerance model as the starting point. Once indoctrinated into this worldview, the believer projects tolerance onto God. Many today subconsciously believe that God “tolerates” Sin because human beings can do no better. Even more problematic is that the worldview develops a mistaken understanding that God is indifferent toward moral evil. It is what gives rise to the many who reject the coming judgment and conclude that all will be in heaven. In the tolerant model, sin proliferates and all continue to believe that all things are equal before God.

The error is that God is not tolerant but patient. His patience is ordered toward the Salvation of the soul. The time we are given in this life is meant for conversion and the one converted must constantly seek the grace of Christ so as to live in true freedom. God’s patience is offered as our opportunity to become virtuous and overcome Sin. For many today, there is little acknowledgment of the need for spiritual growth and conversion. As Catholics, we need to recapture the language of patience and preach the coming Judgment. By emphasizing God’s patience, we can implicitly recapture the notion that His patience also has limits and will be exhausted when we reach the end of our earthly journey.