As we hunker down into the political season, I’m reminded about the arrogance of “being right.” Whenever we feel that we hold the correct view on a subject, it’s amazing how we hold everyone else in contempt. We have the truth and they don’t, so “they” must be idiots. It’s certainly not new with this election, and this malady appears across all subjects from politics to sports, religion, business, and more. Between 1918 and 1925, when William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow fought about evolution, there was little conciliatory or intellectual discussion. It was wild accusations and jokes about having monkeys as relatives.
Today, if you read the tirades from people like Richard Dawkins: (“When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion.”) Or Sam Harris: (“Theology is ignorance with wings,”) it does little to persuade, but it does get attention.
Judgements like this aren’t a reasoned discourse, they’re a soundbite designed to provoke controversy and sell books. Whether you’re a atheist arrogantly belittling Christian faith, a Christian boycotting an abortion clinic, or a political candidate running for office, be care of the arrogance of being right.
Jesus said in John 12:47: “If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” Jesus wasn’t arrogant or dismissive of those who chose not to believe. That wasn’t his business. His business was to share a message of hope with those who would. Keep that in mind that next time you have the opportunity to slam the gay community, Hollywood, Republicans, Democrats, Christians, or anybody else.
If we spent less time on judging those who don’t agree with us, and more time holding ourselves to a higher standard, we might actually make an impact out there.