Q: Why do Christians think that their beliefs are right and everyone else is wrong? Isn’t that intolerant?
Answer: Our western mindset is very much focused on the rights and freedoms of every individual. Most of our values reflect this mindset. Truth is relative, everyone’s beliefs are true for that person, and everyone’s values and morals are equally valid. In this culture, Christians are seen as arrogant and intolerant for our insistence that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation and the Bible is the authoritative word of God.
An atheist cyber-friend of mine challenges me with this question frequently. He sees the Christian worldview as narrow-minded, and our proselytizing as rude and insensitive. He and other atheists in a forum we used to frequent were of the opinion that everyone needs to make up their own set of values, beliefs, morals, and ethics.
It is difficult to convince people in our culture that the spiritual world is like the physical world with constants and fundamentals. We accept the facts of math and science as factual. No one challenges the belief that 2+2=4 and objects made of wood burn. But it is perfectly logical that God exists for me but not for you. In my religion, there is an afterlife, in yours there is not. The only way that you and I could both be right is if there are divergent realities in the spiritual world.
For a Christian, tolerance in the sense of validating all belief systems is irreconcilable with the spiritual realities contained in the scriptures. My whole worldview is not black and white, but there are far fewer than fifty shades of gray.