Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fighting with the Truth - Gregoire

I was reading in John 18 this morning and I meditated for a while on the passage where Jesus questions his accusers, saying: "If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?" And at this He was bound and led off.

Jesus was trying to use truth, facts, and logic to argue with them. They were obviously in the wrong, and deep inside they knew it. But rather than dealing with what was right in front of their faces, they started yelling and resorted to violence.

In some ways I think we're facing a similar culture. We don't believe in truth anymore. I've been dismayed by the recent complaint to the federal Human Rights Commission and two provincial counterparts regarding an excerpt from Mark Steyn's book that appeared in Maclean's magazine. While Steyn doesn't write from a Christian point of view, he is very sympathetic to religion, and uses logic to argue that our worldview is all messed up.

The response has not been to argue against his facts. It is to say that he insulted people, and thus violated their human rights. Freedom of speech is at stake in Canada today, and I fear that few realize it. If the Canadian Islamic Council wins this one and Maclean's loses, then magazines will no longer print facts if they may be inconvenient to people. And that will impact us as writers.

We deal in facts that aren't very well liked in our culture. We're looking at the world through a biblical worldview that is not shared, and even reviled. And we have to learn how to make our arguments without emotion, without over-the-top judgmentalism, and just using logic. But even then, we must beware that increasingly our culture will not listen to us. And I think the time will come when we will have to be very careful. When writing itself will become subversive.

Perhaps I'm being melodramatic, but I don't think so. Already Christians have been prosecuted in Canada for publishing Bible verses. This is just the beginning.

Besides writing books I also write a weekly column (you can read some here), and looking back over the last few years, I can see where many of them could be considered "insulting" to certain groups. Will I have to start censoring myself? Or will I have the courage to say, as Jesus did, "If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong", regardless of what it costs.

Any of us who write about modern social issues are going to have to confront that issue, and soon. I wish Mark Steyn and Maclean's the best of luck, and keep them in my prayers. For where they go, so will the rest of us.

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