Saturday, March 26, 2011

On Silencing the Opposition

Lately, I have been conversing with some Christian brethren who believe that the solution to some of the opposing viewpoints that threaten our peace, security and freedom is to have these viewpoints silenced and their literature banned. While I understand the concern that my brethren have concerning this issue, I have to argue that it is a bad idea to systematically silence the opposition. Here are my two main reasons why:

One: We are all interested in convincing others of our own position's correctness and the others' incorrectness. However, the general public cannot make this decision unless they have access to what the other position has to say. If we are truly convinced that our position is the correct position and all others are false (and in some cases even dangerous to our society), then let us by all means allow both sides to speak and debate these issues. Afterwards let the general public examine what both sides have said and allow them the opportunity to decide for themselves who is correct. Besides, sometimes a viewpoint's own proponents are their own best refutation; you know they're wrong just by listening to them make poor arguments or reasons.

Two: A government that bans any one religous viewpoint, it won't be very long before they find reasons to ban other religious viewpoints, and that includes our own. I am sure that many of us have had to deal with people who have attempted to silence us or prevent our viewpoints from being heard. Unfortunately, if we argue that such should be the case with any other religion, then we are just giving people ammunition to silence us even more.

As a good historical case in point: Back in the 40s or 50s, prominent Canadian Baptist minister Rev. T. T. Shields advocated that Jehovah's Witnesses should be allowed the freedom to propagate their viewpoints, even though Shields (and all of us here who are Evangelical Christians) strongly disagree with them. The reason for this was that Rev. Shields understood that if the state could ban Jehovah's Witnesses from propagating their religious views, it won't be too far off before they start doing the same with thing Evangelical Christians. As it is, we already have enough trouble getting the general public to listen to us, so there is no need for us to make it harder for ourselves.

That's just by two cents. Hope you take them into consideration. Grace and peace.

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