The World Against Us

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The world, we become aware of the world as we start to understand our individuality. The world is cruel and heartless. It is an apathetic and monstrous conglomeration of evil. And as we learn about ourselves and struggle to express ourselves, we treat the world in various ways.

Villain. A villain would plot the defeat of the world. Usually by destruction or subjugation, but enthrallment has been a popular choice as well. Defeat is what a villain seeks to impose, and often receives instead (at least in stories). Villains are inherently selfish, self-centered, to that end they have no or little qualms to bend rules or outright break them. The rebellious teenager is a villain.

Coward. A coward sees the world and runs from it. After the first fight we have with the world, and we lose, there is the thought that since we can never win it is better to run. This is also selfish, for a coward (like a villain) is after self-preservation. The end of a villain may be death, but a coward can never find a safe-haven, can never find an end. Cowards always run from problems because they never want to get hurt, and they never want to hurt others. Dreamers are cowards.

Traitor. A traitor sees the world as his master. They are traitorous because they sacrifice themselves and others in this act, but it is a selfish sacrifice. They seek a place to be, but they are too tired to fight for it or search for it. They may try to influence the world to their own ends, but in the act of service to the world they become corrupted by it. In the act of placing their hand in the flame, they become burned. As such all efforts, no matter how noble the goal, are tainted by the evil of the world. Corrupt politicians are traitors.

IMG_0044Christ. Christ offered another way. Turn the other cheek. Like the villain, a christian stands against the world, unlike the villain, a christian does not seek to destroy it, but to save it. Like the coward, a christian recognizes he cannot win against the world, unlike a coward, the christian does not run away for he knows God is with him. Like the traitor, a christian is called to serve and to self-sacrifice, but unlike the traitor, the master being served is pure and free of corruption who never asks us to sacrifice our purity or to sacrifice others. Only Christ can make a stand against the world heroic. Only Christ can make the coward’s fear into courageous witness. Only Christ can turn the traitor’s service into something good and pure. Christ showed us all three on the cross. He stood against the world, let the world torture and kill Him, and sacrificed himself in order to save all humankind.

 

 

Joshua Fahey is a Chestertonian who found Christ through cowardice and is working on that Courage thing.

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9 thoughts on “The World Against Us

  1. If the world is evil, should not the one who seeks its defeat (i.e., the villain) be lauded, not condemned? The world may indeed contain great and terrible evil, but that is not all it contains.

    • Excellent point. I suppose the main problem with the villain is that he uses the same methods as the world and seeks the same things as the world. That is, power and force. As to the second, that there are good things in the world, yes there are good things in the world which is why it is worth saving instead of destroying.

      A better way for me to have put it would be to reference mankind’s fallen nature. That it is man that created the world, therefore man cannot stand against the world and win even if the entirety of the human race were to stand together. What makes the Christian path even possible is the fact that Jesus is both God and man. It is necessary for Him to be man for it is our struggle, and it is necessary for Him to be God because we need Divine power to win against our own corruption.

      BTW I did not intend for each of these to be totally separate, in fact I believe that most of us non-saintly people have a little of villain, coward, traitor in each one of us.

  2. The world is not evil, not monstrous, not heartless. Believing such is what leads to fear- then cowardice, villainy, or corruption. It’s ironic that you preach such an outlook and then judge those who are not strong enough to handle it.

    • I do apologize if it seems I am condemning people. I completely understand all the outlooks, even have been a couple for a time (though in all honesty I deeply dislike traitors). I openly admit to cowardice, so I can hardly judge others for their imperfect journey to follow Christ. Once again, I apologize.

      However, all it takes is a cursory look at the world to see its heartlessness and cruelty. We grow more than enough food to feed everyone living, yet people still starve in the richest of countries. We have wars, murders, rapes, porn, slavery, and lies. If people were uncorrupted, that is completely innocent, then such things could not exist in the world. That the world is evil is my jumping point, if you can invalidate my assumption (using reason rather than irrationality please) then please do so, and I will retract my opinion.

      • You don’t have to be condescending. I apologize if you felt I was attacking you, I just strongly disagree with your worldview. By all means keep your opinions, I mostly made the comment because it seemed like a lot of condemning, so I appreciate that you somewhat understand the outlooks.
        I understand where you’re coming from, thinking that the world is evil, but I see it as and sad and unfortunate. Nothing is born evil; everything and everyone has been brought into a world that revolves around survival. The idea of there being one-dimensional people like traitors and villains just seems wrong to me, it seems false.
        Don’t take me as naive though, I realize the awful and horrific things people do, but I also know that it’s not an evil force that causes it, and those people do not completely lack compassion. Even Hitler was human. For example; he had a soft spot for dogs. People like Hitler were, and are misguided, ignorant, and of course dysfunctional (that’s an understatement with Hitler). Add fear, hate, and ambition to that kind of personality and you get horrific results. What I’m trying to say is that I believe there’s no such thing as pure evil. Combine fear/hate to a bad upbringing and poor choices and it’s easy to see how people become corrupted. It’s the few corrupted people that do awful things to the many. Those few manipulate people that are not so strong of willpower, to gain support for their agenda. Those people can also influence other ignorant, misguided people and create more corrupt individuals.
        Understanding how someone could do cruel things helps me not to hate or fear them, though I’d be blatantly lying if I said I didn’t dislike all of them, but that’s part of being human and managing emotions like anger and frustration. I know God hates no one, and that helps me understand the world more than anything.

        • Condescending is a bit strong. I do have a somewhat harsh and stilted style but I come at a topic believing that I am right, not that I am superior. If I am wrong, I fervently hope that I am inferior so that I may be corrected and accept that correction.
          However it seems that you are misunderstanding, that would be my fault since I did not define all of my terms. I condemn the world, I do not condemn people. People through their disobedience to God (starting with the incident at Eden) created the world, which created the situation in which we who are part of the world cannot escape its curse. The archetypes of villainy etc. just show that the power of the world simply grew no matter how we approached it, until Christ. Only after Christ could we step outside the world, no longer be a part of the world, in order to fight back against that societal entropy. It’s a hard concept for me to communicate, so I’m not surprised I didn’t do it well, but I don’t think we actually disagree on any major point. Certainly I lack the talent to put across my tone in the written word.

          • Good points all, I appreciate the responses. I believe I still disagree on some small points, but not nearly as much as I originally thought. Written word can be interpreted in so many different ways, so it’s as much the readers misinterpretation as the writers style that causes poor communication.
            Either way, anything written that provokes deeper thinking and sparks open discussion is always a step in the right direction. Thanks again for discussing 🙂 and sorry if I overreacted or was hot headed, I get overly enthusiastic when talking about subjects as morally complicated as these.

          • Also, your essay wasn’t condescending, it was part of your first comment – “using reason rather than irrationality please” that I interpreted as condescending. However, that was more understandable when I took into consideration all the comments you probably get that are irrational and full of hate. Although telling an angry/irrational commenter not to be irrational is probably fruitless, because nobody realizes they’re being irrational except in retrospect. Sorry, going on a tangent, just wanted to say that was the only thing I was basing my judgement (of condescension) on, which was incorrect.

            • Thank you, for that about the comment I made. In retrospect it was insulting, and I’m sorry. Maybe I should use another tactic like asking for the use of syllogisms because I’m stupid (because of the self-deprecation not because of the concrete advice, that never works ;-))? Anyway I’m very grateful for your comments and patience, especially so because it has ended amicably (I enjoy annoying people, it’s a bad habit).
              God bless.

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