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Caelum et Terra Has a Fine Little Essay

Caelum et Terra Has a Fine Little Essay January 9, 2013

on transcending tribalism.  When you read the story about the Planned Parenthood nurses helping the abortion protester who was hit by the car, it might be a useful diagnostic to ask yourself if your first thought was “Thank God!  Even they aren’t all bad.” or is is a sort of disappointment, a fear that people will not think the worst of them, and the dogged will to remind yourself that they (not, you know, principalities and powers) are The Enemy?

A reading from the Prophet C.S. Lewis:

Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally, we shall insist on seeing everything—God and our friends and ourselves included—as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.

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