Passive Acceptance

Posted: August 13, 2013 in Blog

I’m amazed at what I and others passively accept. And in the same breath I’m amazed at what is deemed unthinkably unacceptable. Look to ancient Rome, the day of gladiators, the Parthenon, slaves, and prisoners of war; all thrown to destruction for the sake entertainment and the building of a warrior society. The modern mind might think, ‘how could that be entertaining, or justifiable as an ideal? Those deeds were unthinkably unacceptable.’ Indeed, how can loss of life at the hands of a gladiator, a seasoned killer, or against a wild beast be entertainment or anything else?


Maybe the ancient mind can be understood if we think from the seat of the ancient spectator. The reasoning of some may have proceeded like this: Slaves are used in these barbaric arenas. Slaves are regarded less than human or at least not worth as much as they are sold and traded like livestock. So, seeing them die is of no consequence. Remember that was the mind of the spectator or event coordinator and not my own. Now consider the prisoner of war, they too were placed in the gladiators arena. The prisoner once threatened safety and the life of the Roman, along with the Roman dream, therefore they were deemed enemies and worthy of death, not to mention useful toward the end of building a warrior culture. Seeing them perish at the hands of a famed gladiator was a delight as it presented the promise of victory, safety, and power.

Don’t misunderstand, there were plenty of people who found these practices offensive. My point however is that people, including myself, possess amazing blindness to self and culture; coupled with uncanny powers of self-justification. I have found in others, myself included, the tendency to justify our culture and its deeds, all the while criticizing others for their ill deeds. And when we do criticize our culture it is a part of the culture that we seemingly feel detached from.

Not convinced? Well, think about things in our culture. As children of our culture it is common to end up supporting things of culture that are base, immoral, and against God. Think of a love story. In numerous movies the audience ends up rooting for the adulterous relationship to workout because it represented true love. notebook Yet, while it is evil in the eyes of God, most people have the feeling that true love is more important than marital fidelity. Or at least that it is better to sin and seek forgiveness than end up unhappy. Pursuing the notion of true love–the illusive once in a life-time thing–brings an audience to permit all sorts of treachery, as long as it works for the character to whom we’ve been endeared.


Still not convinced? Consider the action movie. This genre of movie allows the viewer to satisfy blood lust while abstaining from actual violence. The story is written in such a way to justify revenge and violence, as if there were no other way. The hero doesn’t really want to, but…the back-story justifies the deeds; therefore the audience roots for the ‘hero’. Some acts of justice and heroism might be legit in movies—I mean Sharknado must be full of heroism and justice—but mostly action movies glory in one-ups-man-ship, revenge, and twisted notions of justice; while the deeply engaged viewer is sympathetic to the ‘hero’s’ atrocious behavior.

Still not convinced? Think about abortion. Abortion is something that the masses have accepted as perfectly fine. How? By redefining personhood. If we regard a person to be such only at later stages in life, rather than at conception, then abortion is justifiable. If a person can be deemed not a person then what does it matter? The same is true with euthanasia, if we regard personhood to be terminated because of certain inabilities, problems, or infirmities then putting someone down because they became less than human makes sense.

I’m not wanting to debate euthanasia, abortion, movies, or ancient Rome. What I do want to point out is how desensitized we are to the horrors of our age. We mustn’t criticizing others for their blindness to injustice, while we blindly justifying our culture and ourselves. Rather than criticizing others maybe each person should withhold judgment, look to his or her own self, and accept their share of guilt. A little self-awareness reveals the hardness of the heart against God and all that he has commanded. Maybe a time of self-reflection along with prayer and reading the Word of God will help reveal the hardness of your heart? I know it has mine.

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