Truth and peace, error and discord

On a couple of blogs recently, people have made the argument that Christians ought not fight among themselves. The religion is not appealing to others when Christians themselves can’t agree.

I replied that when Christians preach error, they need correcting. The alternative is to abandon the field to error. But in that case, those new to the faith will get an erroneous idea of what it’s about. Thus, truth must be defended.

The conclusion, then, is that the blame for discord among Christians goes not to Christians generally, but to Christians who are in error.

Recently I read the book Eifelheim by Michael Flynn (New York:Tor, 1996) (it’s about an encounter between aliens and medieval Germans in the 14th century — highly recommended). In it, one of the characters says, “Much as I would tend my manor in peace, peace needs the consent of all, while one alone may raise a war.” (p. 173.)

Concord needs all to agree. Discord needs only a few to disagree, loudly and vocally. When there is discord then, who is to blame?

In a liberal democracy, those in discord will always fault those seeking to squelch it, accusing them of lacking tolerance of diversity. In essence, they argue that we have discord due to our failure to tolerate discord. Rather than letting everyone believe what he likes, we condemn views which we perceive to be in error, resulting in discord, visible and scandalous. The answer, then, is to tolerate all points of view. This way, we have peace and harmony and make the faith more appealing to outsiders.

What nonsense. We have discord due to having discord, and the way to rid ourselves of discord is to rid ourselves of discord. (Mt. 18:9, 17.)

2 thoughts on “Truth and peace, error and discord

  1. I disagree. 🙂

    Actually I do disagree, to a point. It’s a cost benefit analysis, when the harm of letting error go uncorrected outweighs the harm of offputting the seekers. Or, put in Christian terms, its a question of judgment, when the scandal of dispute is greater than the scandal of heresy.


    • You’re right. I didn’t mean to say that all discord must be squelched. And there could be times when squelching discord results in even worse discord, or schism, which I think was the concern of our last two or three popes. I’m not sure they were right; I think a bit more squelching was in order; but I do understand the reasons for not always ruling with an iron fist.


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