Silence in the Face of Evil


“Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.” This is a quote by the famous Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer. If you do not know who Mr. Bonhoeffer is, then take to the internet and do a little research. I believe you will find the man fascinating. To begin, I want to talk about what this quote means to me. I have heard it used a few times in several sermons I have been listening to. For me, this quote is one of the most excellent defenses of our US First Amendment to Freedom of Speech. While it can be said that the freedom to say whatever one wants is a God-given right and, therefore, should never be subject to man’s law (this is what I believe), it is even more critical in this context. As a society, if we are silent in the face of evil things happening, then we are doing evil. Therefore, keeping quiet in the face of evil in the world should not be acceptable to humanity and is never pleasing to God.

Many people do not believe in God, but this quote can work for them too. By not standing up to evil or waiting for someone else to stand up to it, you become a part of the evil by compliance. That may seem harsh, but that seems to be the only logical conclusion to that statement. For example, if you witness someone steal something and say nothing, you have effectively aided in that theft. If you know someone has murdered someone else and say nothing, again, you have aided in that murderer going unpunished. This can be applied to anything evil. In today’s culture, I would argue that many new mainstream ideas are evil. This is based on my worldview as a Christian. I can make a list, but the list is irrelevant to this discussion. If you see something wrong and do or say nothing, you are part of the problem.

There is a clear difference between speaking one’s mind logically and thoughtfully to get across a valid point and just shooting off at the mouth and saying things that insight violence or drive people away from civil discourse. Civil discourse is certainly lacking today. We need less barking and bitching and more considerate and genuine conversation. We need to stand in the face of the evil we see, speak up about it, debate it, argue against it, and do all we can to stand against it. Now, we may disagree on what is evil, which will have to be a whole other post. Consider this a “priming of the pump” as I look to start to talk about things that are on my mind that are bothering me about the word today. My worldview may, in fact, be radically different from yours. However, that should not stop us from talking.

No one should be canceled, ousted, cut off, or run out for stating an opinion without first exploring it with them and seeing if it is their genuine opinion, just a reaction, or something taken out of context. Since when did we get so mentally frail as a society that we must “cancel” people we disagree with instead of trying to talk to them and figure out why they believe what they believe? I know it sounds like I am ranting, and maybe I am, but all of us need to be able to speak freely so that when real evil comes, we do not stand silent but move with powerful voices.