Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Fear Factor

Fear is the greatest enemy for all those who seek to follow Christ.  It can lead good people to really bad decisions, discourage people from taking the leap of faith required to follow Christ, and stop us from reaching out to people in need.  Here are three of the top issues of today, how fear drives them, and why they are wrong:

1. Overpopulation

How many people do you know who firmly believe that overpopulation is a serious problem? What they're really saying is that they have let fear take hold of them.  They are afraid that there won't be enough left for them if more people come along.  This fear has been a driving factor behind abortion, birth control, euthanasia, and eugenics for more than a century.  It's a fear that if "too many" people come along, there won't be enough food for everyone, enough land to live on, enough water to drink, enough room for the animals to live.

The remarkably sad thing is that this fear of not having enough comes out of the mouths of people who claim to believe in an all-powerful, all-knowing, and loving God.  That same God that created the Heavens and the Earth and all of its creation.  It would be funny to think that a God who can multiply 5 loaves and 2 fish to feed 5000 families and can create and populate an entire universe in 6 days can't turn around and add a few square miles of land, or a few more gallons of water, or food to feed a few more mouths.

2. Guns

I'm not going to make myself popular by saying this, but gun ownership is driven largely by fear. Fear of other people, fear of our government, and fear of the inability to protect ourselves.  I have myself been unsure about this particular issue.  The Catholic Church has pushed stricter gun control laws for a long time and I had trouble with that because I couldn't understand why.  Yet Holy Mother Church is always right, in the end. She's right on this issue, too.  She understands that guns ARE NOT NECESSARY to protect ourselves. The founding fathers who wrote the second amendment were afraid of their government and saw gun ownership as the only way to protect the nation from tyranny, but they were wrong and they were wrong for the same reason we are wrong. They were wrong because they were focused on the wrong enemy.

Jesus came to teach us that it isn't the people that are our enemy.  Sin is our enemy.  Eliminate sin, and you stop needing to worry about guns because nobody needs them anymore. You can't fight sin with a gun. You can only fight it with right living, love of neighbor, and help from God. That's it. Until our nation learns this lesson, we'll continue marching down the road of every other dissolved nation before us into utter destruction. We're fighting the wrong enemy using the wrong weapons because we're allowing fear to guide us.

3. Torture

Torture is never, ever necessary, but fear tells us it is. Fear tells us it's the only way to get the information we need.  However, if we look at Matthew 25:31-46, we will find that there really is no room for it where Christians are concerned.  "Whatsoever you did for the least of my brethren, you did unto me," means that everything we do to any prisoner in Abu Ghraib is something we will have to answer for to the Lord God almighty as having done to Him.

I do not want to have to be the one who answers for having water boarded, starved, beat, or tormented Jesus, do you?  I do not want to have to answer for the day that I stood by while these things were done to someone else, or failed to speak out against them.  I do not want to be the one who forbids prisoners from having anyone come to visit them, no matter how heinous the crimes or denies them the right to have their day in court.  God's justice is as perfect as his mercy. When we show mercy to others, we are shown mercy. When we refuse justice to others, we are given exactly what is our due. I don't think America wants that bill. I know I don't.  Our fear leads us to forget the humanity of the people we are dealing with and to excuse ourselves for it on the grounds that we "have" to have the information and there's no other way to get it.  To this I say, "What profit is there for a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?".  Something to think about.

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