The Fifth Column
|Wickedness has a Fifth Column inside of Christianity that is those
Christians who will allow
the superior feelings they may get from fighting immoral people take
over blindly so good people frequently turn into unfeeling monsters of moral ugliness in a fight.
Of course if they felt superior about
fighting some evil ones, that shows immediately they lacked a Christian
outlook to begin with. They were trying to put down bad people which is no attitude to further goodness
with. No matter what immorality a
person does, he or she remains a child of God and must be thought of and
treated in that way.
One such sickening moral example in American history was the lunatic abolitionist, John Brown. He used the fact a man owned slaves as an excuse to slaughter the master. Thereby he fought the sin of slavery with the sin of murder. Naturally slavery, whether illegal or legal, was a sin, but murder was a far graver sin. When the literal and violent use sin to fight sin, the moral process is a mockery. Anyone who is a Christian and cannot see this probably is not a Christian, but only using a name they do not understand.
When a zeal for morality of any kind turns a person into a blind rage lashing out at a moral or creedal problem in an amoral manner, then the obvious higher spiritual morality is not here. An attitude like that is not acceptable in Christian teachings.
In my own view sick moralist prigs and patronizing people who look down are at the bottom rung of the sin ladder far beneath those openly immoral. But the presence of these sour, bitter and patronizing put on moralists explains a problem nearly all realize but rarely verbalize: why is it many Christians are meaner than non-Christians?
I suggest it is because the mean Christians are not really spiritually led Christians. They do not have any experiences of Christ as a living spirit. And we must remember the large majority of Christians in America seem to be members of social clubs in a secular culture that have little or nothing to do with God except the name on the door. To be reared in a home affiliated with these secular congregations of practicing Deists means little religious training, no knowledge of the Bible, or experience of sincere Christianity. Content Christianity is not known.
To fight evil truly means the use of reason in judging morals, care, concern, acceptance, patience, and trying to make progress little by little, inch by inch. But it has been my misfortune to see misguided Christians at times turn into frenzied, violent, literal, bigots when trying to deal with moral issues and creedal differences. I have seen this in nearly all denominations and faiths, including non-Christian, and history is full of it from the Spanish Inquisition to the Religious Wars.
So let us remember that to try to minimize the influence of evil in the community without maximizing the evil within us over the effort is the challenge. The aim of Christianity should be to fight the Devil on the outside without bringing out the Devil inside of us.
We must consider what evils we try to minimize. Original sin being what it is, we are not going (very likely ) to get completely rid of the evils we fight, but we can struggle to reduce their influence on our lives and the community. (Original sin is a theologian’s term for the human condition and the selfishness of mankind.)
Remember to keep your spiritual sanity in fighting evil or opposing immorality. Do not fall into that common situation where “you may become a devil when you fight the devil like the devil” As the Apostle said, “Fight the good fight.” But fighting the good fight is a spiritual fight. That means keeping your spiritual sanity, maintaining a Biblical perspective, and keeping the Christian sense of humor that you will need when you get so intense you find you are forgetting that you also love those you are opposing whose values are different, but they are still the children of God.
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.