There are dozens of ways to deal with evil and several ways to conquer it. All of them are facets of the truth that the only ultimate way to conquer evil is to let it be smothered within a willing, living human being.

Gale D. Webbe, The Night and Nothing

When Jesus had received the wine, he said,”It is finished.”  Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Jn 19:30

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This week the radical Islamic Boko Haram spent five or more days killing people in the Nigerian town of Baga.  No house was left standing and bodies of children, adults and the elderly were everywhere in the streets and countryside.

Today the French people will assemble to remember the deaths of members of the anti-religious Left-wing magazine Charlie Hebdo.

What Gale Webbe says, and many others have also said is this: love of others is the only remedy for evil.

What are we to assume by this proposition?  One, you cannot let evil convert you to evil.  Two, love does not preclude self-defense; often it is manifest in acts of selfless courage and sacrifice.  But perhaps the most important thing it says is precisely what Charlie Hebdo did not value and it is this: faith alone humanizes and strengthens love.

Violence like that in Baga and Paris shows us the absence of faith.

It seems a central lesson in human history is this: as to the Christian experience, God absorbs the evil that human’s possess and does so in the presence and sacrifice of His Son.

Christ and Christianity, it seems, are essential.

There is a need to sustain faith and retain for it an essential place in culture for love to be advanced among people.

We live in times that pose very fundamental questions for each human being. Does faith matter?  Is my faith the one essential thing we need to sustain civilization?  To build community?  To have peace?  To be human?

When you sit today in the quiet of your home, or the shelter of your church – ask yourself: Do I let my faith and the role of faith be compromised too easily?  Do I mourn properly?  Honor the things that advance faith?  Avoid letting evil govern me? Stand tall and firm in favor of faith in public forums?  The workplace?  My neighborhood?

Baga.  Charlie Hebdo.  How do I respond to religious bigotry and hatred?  Am I alert and wise in these matters?  Do I understand and value of the faith I have and its necessity?  Do I protect it?

Shalom.

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