I have noticed a trend on my facebook newsfeed that makes me want to shake the people on the other side of the internet. Then I realized that this trend is not limited to facebook.
Tell me if any of these "declarations" sound familiar to you:
"You are so brave."
"What a courageous statement."
"This is an important moment for <insert alleged downtrodden group here>"
"Thank you for your strength in speaking about this."
Cue the mutual admiration society! Our culture has lost the ability to discern worth. These types of sentiments aren't wrong if they are used in response to a truly brave, courageous, important or strong statement. Unfortunately, whenever I see these used lately, they are in response to some sort of abstract, self-serving personal revelation.
"I just want everyone to know that I am not a religious person. I do believe in a higher power, but I do NOT believe in God. The bible scares me, actually. "
"I believe that everyone has the right to finding complete happiness. I want everyone to achieve their dreams."
I've seen numerous statements like these show up followed by adoring commenters gushing "You are SO brave!"
Is it brave to admit that you (like almost every carnal person) like the idea of being accountable to no one but yourself? Is it brave to admit that you are afraid of the word of God? Not afraid as in having a respectful fear of the power of the word of God. Afraid in the same way some might accuse others of being "homophobic." Fear = lack of understanding and undue prejudice.
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge: [but] fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Is it brave to admit that you have thought up your own very convenient worldview and have begun to live accordingly? Is it brave to admit that you want other people to be "happy?" Without even defining happy? Without defining anything?
Another example in the news today is a pro athlete coming out as a homosexual. The media coverage suggests this is a monumental occasion in some kind of fight towards legitimizing the lifestyle. Have I missed something, here? Is it not evident by now that the cultural shift has already been sliding down this slippery slope for some time? Has this athlete really overcome anything? Did he really fear discrimination in a culture that is already so accepting of this lifestyle? Is he brave?
Maybe there are still circles of society where these types of admissions are met with harsh backlash. Maybe he is brave. Maybe bravery is relative, because I can think of many more prominent acts of bravery that are ignored on a daily basis in favor of vapid commentary by individuals who are practically untouchable in courts of public opinion.
Anyone who has attempted to inform others about the horrors of abortion or the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell and the lack of media coverage surrounding the case is brave. Those who are not afraid of being blocked or edited out of peoples' newsfeeds because they dare to question the murder of the unborn are brave. They may not face any real physical danger by voicing their opinions, but they will certainly endure more scorn and ridicule than the examples given above. At best (or the case could be made, at worst), their cry against dismembering babies in the womb will simply be ignored. Not shared on facebook, not tweeted, not viral. I've shared a few pro-life articles that resulted in a couple 'likes' each. No sweeping praise over my honesty. Not a single "You're so brave."
People have no perspective at all when it comes to issues of this level of importance. Unwilling to risk what little social success they have, they sit on their beliefs or refuse to admit even to themselves that they have any. What is the worthwhile use of a medium such as facebook if not for spreading information? One could claim they'd rather save serious debate, etc. for a face to face conversation, but they'd be lying. When given the opportunity, they will discuss weather, sports, food, movies, anything to avoid a real discussion of an unpopular topic. I'm as guilty as anyone of missed opportunities.
I'm not brave, but I'm trying to be more brave.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.