WALSH: Christians In America Aren't Closed-Minded Or Intolerant — But They Should Be

Christians in this country are often accused of being closed-minded. The really tragic thing about this insult is that it isn't true. I wish very much that we could wear that label, but our critics give us too much credit. Indeed it is probably more accurate to say, sadly, that the contemporary American Christian is the most open-minded person to have ever existed.

A typical Christian in our culture is so open-minded that you can hardly tell he is a Christian, or that he has a mind. He is open to pretty much any suggestion the world makes. He is open to the idea that marriage need not be between a man and a woman. He is open to the idea that perhaps a man need not actually be a man at all. He is probably open, at least partially, to the idea that babies aren't people. He has for a long time been open to the idea that marriage isn't permanent and sex isn't meant exclusively for marriage. He is basically open to whatever notions are popular and widely accepted. And wherever he finds disagreement with the world, he will not communicate the disagreement in any way that may cause offense or discomfort. He is open, and where he is not open, he is silent.

He is open in other ways, too. He is open to pop culture. He is open to mass entertainment. He watches whatever everyone else watches, listens to what they listen to, wears what they wear, does what they do. He sends his kids to the same schools, very open-mindedly. He has, open-mindedly, stopped going to church. Or if he goes, he goes to a church which has, in the most open-minded way, adopted secular music, secular vocabulary, and a secular aesthetic. His church is so open-minded that it is not a church. His Christianity is so open-minded that it is not Christianity.

You find this open-mindedness manifest itself especially at so-called Christian schools. Far from lashing out angrily at foreign ideas, as secular schools often do, many Christian institutions bend over backward to provide a welcoming and non-judgmental forum. Consider the allegedly Catholic school, Georgetown, where the CEO of Planned Parenthood recently came to speak. The school touted its commitment to viewpoint diversity, and was very proud that no raucous protests broke out in response to her invitation. There was a similarly shameful and heretical open-mindedness on display when Wendy Davis spoke at Notre Dame.

The secular Left, on the other hand, has a famously low tolerance for opposing ideas. The Right likes to criticize this characteristic of the Left, especially among college students and millennials, but I think they're criticizing the wrong thing. Hostility to opposing beliefs isn't necessarily a vice. A lack of open-mindedness isn't always a sign of ignorance or arrogance. The problem with snowflake college students isn't they're intolerant of differing views, it's that they're intolerant of the right views.

The whole disaster with our schools—- and many of the students who attend them — is that they hold false ideas as true, and hate true ideas as if they're false. Students are learning to embrace what is sick and evil and reject what is healthy and good. It's not the rejection that's the problem, it's what is being rejected. If the students at Georgetown had reacted to the mass-murdering Cecile Richards the same way the students at Berkeley reacted to Ben Shapiro (minus the vandalism), I would have been overjoyed. She warrants such a reaction. Ben does not.

The Right's constant preaching about the virtue of open-mindedness and the value of intellectual diversity misses the point. We are not asking to be listened to merely because we have "different ideas." We are asking to be listened to because we have the right ideas. Or some of us do. Those of us who defend life, marriage, family, and objective morality have the right ideas. We are correct in what we're saying, and that's why it's wrong to protest us or shout us down.

The real crisis begins when Christians, confused on this point, think they need to set a good example by being open-minded and tolerant toward falsehoold just because they want their opponents to be open-minded and tolerant toward truth. They forget that right and wrong should be treated differently, and to treat wrong as if it may be right is extremely disordered.

Stupid, shallow, deranged, irredeemable, and indefensible opinions — that killing babies is OK, or that men can be women, for instance — should be received as such. They should be met with firm and even hostile opposition. Christians should reject falsehood categorically, with anger and prejudice. We should react to harmful and evil ideas like the people who promote those ideas react to our ideas. We would be right in doing so, even where they're wrong in doing so, because we're right and they're wrong.

GK Chesterton said that the point of opening the mind is to close it again on something solid. The trouble with Christians in today's culture is that they won't close it again on the solid thing. The trouble with the Left is that they've closed it on the wrong thing. What Christianity needs, then, is a little more closed-mindedness. It needs something of the Left's rigidity, just without its mental insanity.

There is a cultural and spiritual war going on around us. The Left realizes this and acts accordingly. Many Christians are still sitting politely at the table, though, hoping the other side will come and have a civilized chat over a cup of tea. And even if they never come, the genteel folks at the table figure that at least they'll have done the right thing and lead by example. But your example is terrible, and nobody is paying attention to it anyway. You're only massaging your ego while you sit alone whispering to yourself about what a good boy you've been. "Look at me! I'm so civil!" The Devil appreciates your cooperation, you coward.

The truth is eternal, not elastic. It is what it is. Once we come to know it, our minds should be absolutely and permanently closed around it. We should be intolerant of Satan's lies and unwilling to "hear him out" or consider his point of view. We should show respect to the people who have been duped by him, and we should love them, but we ought to have no respect or love for their ideas, which are wicked and delusional. We are already accused of being closed-minded. It's time we earn the label.

Jesus says that the gate to eternal life is narrow. Perhaps, in that sense, our minds should be too.

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