I would have to agree that Christians can seem intolerant and judgmental for one simple reason -some are. Unfortunately, the sad truth of the matter is that everyone is. While some are better at managing it than others, human nature regretfully tends to produce distain for differences. Our history is saturated with intolerance and judgment, as is our daily lives. Humanity is known for the traits that you seem to be attributing strictly to Christianity. Since the beginning of time we have seen examples of segregation, racism, sexism, and prejudices of all different types. We still see these traits predominantly in our culture today. Racism is still a very real issue within our culture as well as sexism. These forms of intolerance and judgment flood our social media platforms currently and yet, have nothing to do with religion of any kind. After considering the various ways humanity has chosen to “judge” and “tolerate” different people over time, Christianity doesn’t seem exclusive. While it is true that some Christians take it too far, the majority of Christians tend to focus on trying to let God do the judging, and try to be intolerant, only of sin and evil. All things considered, intolerance of evil seems a lot more justified than say, intolerance of skin color. People are killed over race every day, women are subjected to men all over the world, the disabled are viewed as inferior, and the class that you reside in determines your worth according to most. After considering this, would you not agree that there is much more judgment and intolerance coming from sources outside Christianity than within Christianity itself? If so, why is that you are so quick to deem Christians solely intolerant or judgmental? Have you not judged or perhaps been intolerant before yourself? Does not every culture reflect some sort of these traits throughout history? After concluding that intolerance and judgment can be found outside of Christianity as well as in it, can you start to see the inconsistency within your viewpoint? It is not that Christians are intolerant or judgmental but rather, that people are. In fact, the Bible says that, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) however, Jesus himself says, “those without sin cast the first stone“1(John 8:7) Jesus was addressing a crowd of people eager to stone a woman to death for adultery when he said that. To parallel your concerns, these were religious men, quick to judge and condemn -attempting to carry out their sentence in the name of justice. However, Jesus neither condemned nor judged, he defended the woman and instead criticized the accusers, whom were at the time, the intolerant. Jesus showed mercy and love rather than intolerance and judgment. Timothy Keller addresses this when he states, “(the Bible) first says, “I am more sinful and flawed than I ever dared believe,” but then quickly follows with, “I am more accepted and loved than I ever dared hope.” in his book, Center Church.2 True Christians try their best (however never perfectly) to reflect the character of Christ. While it may appear that some Christians seem intolerant or judgmental, it must be understood that you cannot classify the entirety of the religion off that assumption alone, but rather recognize the reality of human error -which just so happens to be something consistent with scripture. Chatraw & Allen put it this way in their book, Apologetics at the Cross, when they state, “The abuse of power is not simply a Christian issue; it is a human issue.”3Christianity actually attempts to rectify and shed light to the mutual concern that we both share regarding humanities intolerance.
Secondly, your concern regarding Christian’s sexual ethic and the implications it has on desires and freedoms is very understandable. Naturally, the concept of not living a free, fulfilled life is something that is scary to everyone. No one likes to be restrained and confined to a set of rules (sexual or otherwise) that ultimately have no implications on life itself -however this is not the case with Christianity. While there has been a lot of ways to restrict freedom and manage lives throughout history, (Governments, Class, Doctrines, Etc.) Christianity has always sought to deliver humanity true freedom rather than to suppress it. The fact of the matter is that human desire is fallible, and sometimes natural impulse leads to undesirable conclusions. For example, Hitler’s idea of a desirable life was far from what you or I would deem acceptable. Though he was a smart man, with a governing set of coherent rules, his basic human desire was greatly flawed. This concludes that a full and fulfilled life is only a matter of perspective and that it remains subjective to the one perceiving it. Not all laws should be followed, just as not all laws should be broken. Those who disagree with the laws will always feel as if they are “missing out” unjustly. This does not automatically make the law any more or less just. Do you not agree that Hitler’s human desires needed to be suppressed? I think the real question is, why is the law in place and why do you feel unjustly about it? How do we conclude the truth? Lesslie Newbigin points out in her book, Proper Confidence: Faith, Doubt, and Certainty in Christian Discipleship that, “We do not reach truth unless we allow ourselves to be exposed to and drawn by a truth which is beyond our present understanding.”4 Christians believe that God gave us a set of rules and truths not to restrict our freedoms and human desires but rather to preserve them. Since the fall of man human desire has focused majorly on things of this world. Things like greed, pride and lust consume man’s morality, reminding us that governing ourselves often fails. The Bible says that these things destroy the soul and can never bring true peace. Christians believe that God set in place rules and guidelines (including sexual ethics) to follow so that we may actually receive true fulfillment -which cannot be derived from sin. Christianity’s view on sexual ethics does not restrict nor suppress but rather points to the solution for some of man’s more unnatural, unhealthy, and unfulfilling desires. “People, therefore, change not by merely changing their thinking but by changing what they love most.” ― Timothy Keller, Preaching: Communicating Faith in an Age of Skepticism5 5. By adapting the ethics and morality found in Christianity one has the opportunity to find true freedom and fulfillment, not by suppressing human desire but by redirecting it into something worthy.