Spiral of Silence – part 2
2 Corinthians 4:13 “It is written: ‘I believed; therefore I have spoken.’ With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak.”
I was watching the debates of the presidential candidates. If we mean that each side can come and present their views then that is a debate. But often what happens with Christians who do not ‘toe the political correctness line’ that they are not listened to as far as their views are concerned, but actually maligned because of their Christian stand.
Therefore, many of these debates are not real debates at all. The reason for this maligning of Christians is to silence them. We must learn to speak the truth with boldness, not in an argumentative way, but speaking like Paul in the synagogues where Paul reasoned, explained – proving and persuading. Or like Apollos who “vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.” Acts 18:28
There are two things that come to mind regarding the “spiral of silence.” First, we have the need for acceptance, and secondly, what we believe is a conviction or only a preference. I think it is important for us to re-examine our belief. Acceptance and rejection keep people locked in their ‘little kingdoms.’ A human need is to be accepted and not rejected. We need to come to the realization in a far greater way that this need of acceptance has already been met through Christ. He has accepted us. Unless we come to the place where we recognize that we have been accepted in Christ I doubt that we will be able to stand and speak the truth.
But another reason why we do not speak out is that we do not really believe in what we say we believe in. Is it a conviction within us or is it something we prefer now? There is a big difference. Paul said: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” What Paul seems to be saying is that what he believes in is real and because of that – he speaks out with conviction. If what we say we believe in is a preference – will we speak out?
I use the example of the three men thrown into the fiery furnace in the book of Daniel. These men boldly spoke out and in so doing show us what conviction really is. First, we see that what they believed was unchangeable. They were given the chance to change their minds, but it was useless. If what we say we believe in can be changed through pressure or whatever, then it is not a conviction.
Secondly, they were willing to stand alone. There must have been hundreds of other Jews living in the capital at the time. What were they doing? They must have been bowing down, because the only Jewish people brought to the king were these three men. No one wants to stand alone, but even if we must, we know that what we believe is right and true.
Thirdly, what they believed in was non-negotiable. Nebuchadnezzar was willing to give them a second chance to change their mind, to reconsider, to sit down and negotiate – trying to get them to think of the consequences, etc. What was their response? “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.’” Daniel 3:16-18
Fourthly, they did not need the assurance of success before they took a stand. This is what we have with the spiral of silence. If we know that we might be successful, then we will stand, or if we know that others are standing with us we will stand, but all this shows that our faith is only a preference and not a conviction.
There is a need for us to be convinced that the biblical worldview is the only worldview that answers the questions that plague mankind today such as where did we get this universe and why is man different from the rest of creation; why is the world in such a mess and what is the solution? The only worldview that answers these questions and makes sense is the biblical worldview.
I am concerned just like the late Chuck Colson was concerned, who said: “By rejecting Christianity and its moral framework, western liberal democracies are in grave peril of collapsing upon themselves. They will no longer be able to preserve human rights and liberties. What comes next is tyranny.”
We cannot allow the ‘spiral of silence’ to keep us silent any longer. Might we do what Paul admonished Timothy to do: “Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15