In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Endgame revolves around a villain with good intent named Thanos. He wants to end suffering by snapping his fingers with infinity stones and just make half the people he deems as unnecessary or a hinderance to world survival disappear.
I just recently had a conversation with a graduate philosophy major. I really like the guy and consider him a friendly acquaintance. I had not spoken with him since he started graduate school. But my impression was that he could not understand how people could see the world differently than he did without being suppressed, misled, racists, bigots, or ignorant. He admitted having a zero-tolerance policy for having zero tolerance. But he could not seem to grasp that what he perceived as zero tolerance in others could be freedom of choice to not agree. I voiced my concern and he listened when I expressed my concerns that such thinking leads to execution or reeducation camps. (I do want to commend him for at least taking the time to listen though we disagreed.)
My takeaway was that he thought his pure philosophical truth had never really been applied yet and if only they would try it his way . . . but you get the picture. He can not conceive that the end results of the past were made with the same intent and had been tried. There is a basic definition of insanity is to try the same thing over and over again and expect a different result each time. The unspoken theology was if only people were enlightened as I am. There is no room for seeing things in context, only agreement or non-agreement. Any failure to see things his way cannot be tolerated. It is segregation by thought instead of race. But this new ugly segregation results in the same ugly behavior that we have striven so hard to over come in the United States.
I am sad to admit that at his age I thought the same way theologically. Jesus encountered this with the woman at the well and those that wanted to stone her. So here was his response:
- John 8:6-9 NASB – 6 They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. 7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him [be the] first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 When they heard it, they [began] to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center [of the court.]
Jesus also took this stance with his own disciples:
- Luke 9:54-56 NASB – 54 When His disciples James and John saw [this,] they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But He turned and rebuked them, [and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; 56 for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”] And they went on to another village.
The problem is not that youth is wasted on the young, but that wisdom is not always acquired as we age. Hopefully, once removed from the sheltered world of academia, he can learn to love people for who they are, not what they are not.
Unfortunately, once again the reality of disagreeing with those who have it all figured out is to eliminate those that are different has happened yet again:
No one likes to look at the Christian as being persecuted in our day and age but here we are still being rounded up and shot. Yes, I am aware of the many times the church has failed in much the same way. I am concerned that right now we are still in the verbal cancel culture, and that without vigilance, it will turn physical here as well.
I pray for that young man to acquire wisdom to go along with his learning. Not wisdom for making wise decisions or being right, but wisdom for loving others:
- James 3:17-18 NASB – 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
If only we would adopt that as our philosophy, that would indeed be a great endgame.
As always, love much my friends . . . and pray for those who persecute us as well as for the grieving families.