Thursday, June 25, 2009

Is Everything Your Enemies Do Evil?

Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds reminded me this week of C.S. Lewis' words about Seeing Everything Your Enemies Do as Bad

Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out.

Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible?

If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything — God and our friends and ourselves included — as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.

- Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis. page 118

The principle applies whether it is liberals demonizing President Bush or conservatives demonizing President Obama. It applies to Calvinists talking down Arminians or vice versa. It applies to emergents talking down traditionalists, or vice versa.

Love "does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."