Who won the presidential election is not the most important thing. Instead, what is important is that the glue, the shared principles, have dissolved, leaving us with antagonism and alienation. Even the common ideas of truth and justice are now up-for-grabs. If it was merely a matter of deciding what is truth and right, we might be able to talk about it. However, our differences are even more fundamental. For instance, we cannot even agree if there even is such a thing as moral truth and justice. For instance, one Facebook respondent insisted:
· “People having unswerving anything is often a very dangerous thing. It is do or die when viewed like that. It can lead to the generations long feuds that are now meaningless, but people carry them on just because their family did. Progress only happens if someone finally says 'enough!' Why is justice so important? There are almost always two sides to a story.”
· “Unswerving anything is often a very dangerous thing.” Indeed, and we often use our ideals as a cloak for self-righteousness and one-upsmanship, as you have suggested. However, there is a way to be unswerving in a good and necessary way. For example, I am unswerving in my dedication to my wife. I will not cheat on her or my children. Even if she gets Alzheimer’s, I am there for the long run. She understands this. Therefore, we enjoy trust. We do not have to worry that our spouse will go elsewhere to greener pastures. We are there for the long-run.
· Yes, there are usually two sides to every story. However, this doesn’t make the two sides equal. As a probation officer, I had found that just about everyone proclaimed his own innocence. Yes, the system is broken. Almost everything is the result of a plea-bargain. How do we correct it? First we need an ideal to which to aspire. However, if justice can offer no ideal, then there can be no positive change, just decay.
· To abandon ideals like love and justice is to also abandon our common language and the glue that is supposed to hold us together. It is also to abandon our home to termites and rot. It is also a refusal to defend what is worth defending. Why? Because it is all relative to the individual!
I have had many such discouraging discussions. It is as if people, especially the youth, have been taken capture by an alien, a deadly parasite.
For many of us, it's hard to believe that there are malevolent spirits out there who can afflict us and even take us captive. We're often mocked for our credulity in this matter. However, the Science Times (Sept. 6, F3) reported on the illuminating example of the parasitic hairworm. When the larva enters a grasshopper, it consumes the grasshopper into a skeleton, eating everything nonessential to its host's life, as it matures into a worm.
The next stage is even more horrific. The worm must return to the water for its survival; so it secretes two proteins into the grasshopper's brain, thereby taking mental possession of it. The deranged host then commits suicide by jumping into the water at the behest of the worm, at which point the worm eats through the corpse to its watery freedom. Ugh!
What then is the answer? Loving dialogue is an answer but not a sufficient one. As our mental captivity is the result of spiritual influence, the answer must also be spiritual:
· And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26)