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Monday, July 13, 2009

Evil Prevails

They say, "Evil prevails when good men fail to act." What they ought to say is, "Evil prevails."
~Lord of War (there is language on the quotes page)

I strive to be a good man, but I rarely act.

In fact, just this weekend I chatted with my best friend about a political hot topic: Abortion. Since I read blogs of all persuasions, I was giving him some of the reasons that I've read recently that come from "the other side."

After a while he looked at me and said, "Where are you coming from with all this? You state these opposing views but you never say where you stand. What are you getting at?"

I said, "The current arguments are getting us nowhere. It's the same with homosexuality and a bunch of other issues: People just aren't discussing this because they're calling each other names. I want to find a way where we can keep talking."

"That's the difference," he replied. "The other side is coming from such a different worldview/perspective that we can't talk. And that's not going to stop me from trying to get involved at a legislative level to get our nation going in the right direction."

That was sobering to me. And the point is well taken. But...

But these are my friends, people I care for, fellow bloggers who are really smart, good people... they merely look at the world from a completely different perspective. And while I firmly believe their perspective is flawed/wrong, they're not going to see it my way, especially if I keep using phrases that point out the "evils" of their way of thinking.

And even if I did speak up, does it help?

I read a post earlier today that demonized a popular Christian figure. I left a comment that I thought was well reasoned, backed with Scripture, and gave another view. I'm not sure how it will be received, and I doubt the comment will be published. And, ever since posting my response, I've wondered: Should I have just kept my mouth shut? Am I helping anyone (especially Sonlight) by challenging people to think through their ideas?

I write such responses because I want to be active on the blogosphere, but does it help people think through things better? Is it helpful?

Presuppositions. Pet ideas. Hidden agendas. Assumptions. All of these allow bad ideas to prevail, which then, in turn, allows evil to prevail.

Even if you can come up with rock-solid logic that cuts to the heart of the issue, the heart of the issue doesn't matter. Evil still prevails.

Much like religious discrimination in our nation.

May your family continue to strive to be good, have the wisdom to know when and how to act, and may we all rest in the grace given to us while evil continues to prevail. Because, yes, evil prevails, but it doesn't win.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father


Unknown said...

I understand this. I have many close friends and family members with whom I strongly disagree. It is indeed difficult to determine what is the most loving, God-honoring way to communicate with them about any number of topics. Much of the confusion stems from the reality that "loving" and "God-honored" varies greatly case by case. At times, it is appropriate to voice differing opinions. At other times, it is vital to be silent. Jesus did both throughout His ministry, maybe because it was always about the person and not the topic? Thank goodness the Holy Spirit is present case by case. :)

Meg_L said...

Personally, I think an ongoing discussion is best for everyone. We are a country built on the premise that we need to work together and compromise to be productive - just consider our legislatures.

Whenever one party gets full control, everything gets pulled too far to one extreme or the other. Neither position is really for the best.

And yes, we can come at an issue from two totally different view points (don't forget the death penalty) and I truly doubt that we'll ever find a midpoint that will satisfy us all, but as long as we continue to discuss it we can learn from each other. Some of these issues are hard questions and shouldn't have an easy answer.

Do you want to cut the child in half?

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Your dad's post was... amazing. Lawyer meets snarky dude. It woulda been so much easier for him to just go, "Yep. We're a Christian publishing company. Please find enclosed pamphlet entitled, 'How to Escape Hell in Three Easy Steps,' because you sooo obviously need it."

(Ok, that's just what *I* woulda done. But I guess I wouldn't sell too many books to the public school charter people that way. Bummer.)

Bryan said...

I am right there with Becky on this issue. There are so many "hot topics" around these days that require the Spirit's leading. Sometimes it is best to speak up... Others times it is best to simply hear them out quietly...

The hardest part for me is that many of these discussions don't directly involve anyone involved in the conversations. 6 straight dudes talking about homosexuality is entirely different than just one of them being and/or dealing with homosexuality in some way.

Same with abortion... Two - over 30 year old - couples talking about this issue is entirely different than staring the fourteen year old pregnant girl in the eyes as she begs you for advice and guidance.

As Christians, we often try to find these tidy answers to all the world's problems, but leave out the individuals that are actually dealing with these issues. So, as the conversations come up in isolation we can only pray for the Spirit's leading and words.

Besides... You never know who is listening close by to our words, arguments, and rhetorical answers to very real and personal problems.

chapman55k said...

Hey Luke, I like this post a lot. I have been talking to our kids about ways to participate in the marketplace of ideas and in the public discourse. It is very hard to do that when language means different things to the different parties taking part. I do not know how to have a conversation with someone who has a worldview that appears to be inherently evil or who believes that same thing about my worldview. That appeared to happen here in a discussion on your blog recently. I think that might be why a testimony lived is so much more powerful than a testimony spoken.

Shauna said...

I like this post, Luke, and I can relate to much of what you've shared. I wonder myself sometimes whether it's worth speaking up. In my experience people tend to believe what they want to believe and don't like to have their assumptions and their positions challenged. Regardless of which side of an issue you're on, the most common MO for dealing with opposing viewpoints seems to be assuming that the only possible explanation for people to have a different view than you do about [insert controversial issue of choice here] is that they're evil and/or stupid. It's easier to call opponents names and hold to bigoted generalizations about them than it is to listen to and engage in real communication with them. If we (Christians) value truth as much as we say we do, we need to stop taking this tack.

John Umland said...

Jesus asserted that the gates of hell will not prevail against his church. So there's no reason to hide our lights under a bushel. We know a God who created pregnancies and marriages and values them. It's nice to show we understand but we still need to assert truth.
God is good

Luke Holzmann said...

Becky, amen! We absolutely need wisdom from God and His Spirit to lead us. Great point.

Meg, I did forget to mention the death penalty; definitely another hot issue, and also closely tied to murder. And I'm also for on-going discussion. On the other hand, the story you alluded to came to a specific conclusion... so while, yes, there will always be disagreement, we should side with truth when we recognize it. But, you're totally right: Hard questions don't have easy answers.

Mrs. C, yeah, I really like reading stuff from my dad that totally kicks butt and takes names <smile>. Unfortunately, even after writing such a solid response, we still can't sell to public charter schools.

Bryan, totally! Absolutely! Yes. You said that so well, and I think that's one of the things I should have mentioned and didn't think about. Thank you for bringing that up.

"...a testimony lived is so much more powerful than a testimony spoken." Amen, Ken. Yes.

Shauna, so true. It's really hard to get down to the root of the issue--the fundamental disagreement--and even harder to work up from there through all the personal entanglements and emotions.

John, my best friend is right there with you--and so am I... in a way. I definitely don't want to hide my light under a bushel, but what's the best way to shine? That's what I'm wrestling with. Because, yes, shining is absolutely what we should do, but lighting people on fire to burn brighter isn't the answer. I making sense?


John Umland said...

I don't know how to soft pedal murder. It's shocking. I always think that if I lived in Hitler's Germany, I would try to oppose the Holocaust. I am living in one now and polls show that people are starting to care, just not the politicians. Doug Kmiec is one who got close to Obama and tried to smooth talk him. Nothing has changed. I love my pro-choice friends, so I write in my blog a alot about abortion. I write to my D.C. senators and reps, who, from Connecticut, are not interested in my perspective. I also support my local Carenet. I have not stood in front of a clinic, but I feel I should to pray for the women and their children and the medical staff. But that's about all I can do. Prayer is not so bad though.
btw, we are FB friends now.
God is good

Luke Holzmann said...

John, point well taken: We need to speak against evil. We need to stand against it.

But may we have the wisdom we need when speaking with those we love and hope to win over to our way of thinking so they can hear us.


Heather the Mama Duk said...

I look at it this way. If we are arguing for the sake of arguing, just being contentious, we need to keep our mouths shut. If we are coming at it with love and true caring and want to help someone see our point of view (which is what it sounds like you did in your response), we should absolutely discuss things with other people.

Nothing happens if one side is yelling that the other side wants to murder babies and the other side is yelling that the other side wants to control their bodies. Change happens when the two sides sit down and explain why they feel the way they do and how they come to their conclusions. Discussion is then open on how to deal with these vast differences of opinion.

And then, sometimes, it just feels good to let your voice be (nicely) heard even if nothing comes of it. My 9 year old daughter, on her own accord, after learning about abortion, sat down and wrote a letter to President Obama. She was very polite and very to the point. Does it or will it change anything? No. I seriously doubt he even read the letter. Was it good for her to feel so passionate about something that she wanted to get involved and have her voice be heard? Absolutely.

Luke Holzmann said...

That is fantastic, Heather! May Ani continue to choose her battles wisely and act in love and strength.


Unknown said...

Luke, Have you seen this site?

It has several videos, like the one I linked to above, that are great conversation starters for those seeking truth. (discussion starters...not debate)

I've been asking the question for several years: Is what I have been taught to believe TRUTH, or just an American Culture that is often called 'christianity'.

I love Jesus. I want to live and love like Him, and serve Him with all I have. And, it is that love for Him that has spurred me on to revaluate everything I've been taught about Him...

Anyway, I thought you might find these short videos interesting...

Luke Holzmann said...

Angela, thanks for sharing. And I agree: We too often mistake western church culture for "true" Christianity. That looks to be very interesting and I'll need to poke around more <smile>.

I would quibble with one point in the video by responding with a quote I heard and love:

"Not all paths lead to God, but God can be found walking along all paths."



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