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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

One Rock Did It?

Not really. If you ever see an abandoned house with all its windows smashed, you can bet that most of them were smashed by multiple rocks, thrown by vandals who, after the first breakage, were encouraged by the continuing state of disrepair and, they assume, apathy. Amazingly, this truth is unbelievably... ignored. The line goes that if you give them an inch, they'll walk all over you, but people are getting lazy, as the article above says. I once asked a neighbor why he was painting his fence immediately after it was spray-painted by some vandals. His answer was that if he didn't, then they'll think that he doesn't mind.

Sometimes it's hard to square what Christ said on one hand about offering the other cheek if slapped on one, and what he said to the temple guard who struck him: " If I have spoken evil, tell me what evil I have said. But if not, why do you hit me?" (John 18:22-23) But perhaps it isn't all as confusing as that. In the first case, the Lord challenges the natural tendency to render an eye for an eye, i.e., vengeance. In the latter case, the Lord challenges the guard's violence because injustice cannot be tolerated passively. As an aside, check this thread for an interesting discussion about (neo-?) pacifism (or passiveness) and justice, applied to the oppression of Christians and the question of self-defense.

A number of people who disbelieve the gnostic nonsense of Dan Brown's Da Viinci Code are nonetheless against actively engaging the lies in the book or movie. They worry about how any reaction will appear to the world: unsportsmanlike? They worry that it makes a mountain out of a molehill. It is true that not even the very gates of hell will prevail against the Church, but it isn't just for our own welfare that we must speak out: it's for the young, the initiates whose faiths rest on untested foundations. It is also for our very detractors who may not even be aware that they rest their cases on shaky scholarship and false logic. We do not do them any service when we neglect to correct their behavior which will ultimately bring themselves to ruin. They break a window, no reaction. They break another window, no reaction. Hey, this is fun! Let's burn the house down! They will either burn themselves up or will face other consequences of their actions.

Dan Brown and his ilk are breaking the windows of the Church. They are slandering our family and, most of all, our Lord. Christians, wake up! Yesterday, they spat at him and bring false witnesses against him. Today they crown him with thorns. Tomorrow they crucify him. Turn the other cheek? Absolutely: don't sling their mud, don't trade insults with them, don't try to out-lie them. Instead, ask them calmly: "if our Christ is false, where's your evidence? And if not, then why do you lie?"


L P Cruz said...

Brown's book sells because there is a sucker born every minute.


Jeff Tan said...

Yes, but they're our suckers! :-P

They deserve the truth, even if they're not thoughtful enough to seek them carefully.

Mercy Now said...

The book sells cuz it was marketed well. The controversies only give it more publicity and raise people's curiosity. What we can do is have genuine conversations with people on this book and its flaws.

Jeff Tan said...

I agree. People can't engage Brown's fictions competently without education, which is why we have to start with our own: Christians who need to learn their own history.

LYL said...

Good post, Jeff. Very thoughtful.