Written from a prison cell while awaiting his execution, this short treatise, “On Stupidity,” rings far too clearly despite the passing years. For those with ears to hear, we need to recognize that the political climate within our country is being manipulate by those that appeal to the basest emotions and fears of the least educated among us.
Yes, we are living in a dangerous time. Yes, decisions are being made daily that seem senseless on the surface and even evil when more closely examined. But arguing with most of those supporting the present agenda isn’t the answer.
As Bonhoeffer concludes, trying to persuade the stupid person with reason and fact is both “senseless and dangerous.”
Vonnegut nails it. There are far too many who call ourselves Christians that still live with Old Testament values. As Christians, we have been set free from the law of retribution. We live in the grace of a crucified and resurrected Christ.
The four Gospels in the New Testament are our fullest accounts of the words and teachings of Jesus. Nowhere in those four Gospels can you find Jesus blessing anger, hatred, malice, revenge or even justice. Instead, He lifts up, both by word and example, the values of love, caring, compassion, forgiveness, nonviolence and living in peace.
It’s far easier to seek revenge, to retaliate and resort to violence in response to wrongs. But, that is not what Jesus taught. It’s not Christian. As Vonnegut says, give me a break!
Vengeance, retribution and the need to return violence for violence are all born out of fear. Perfect love casts out fear. It’s just a shame more of us who claim to follow Jesus cannot live as He taught us. Our world would be a far better place.