though this quality of love is the third of the "love is not" characteristics in st. paul's list, a movie preview i saw recently prompted me to skip the preceding two in the list to write about arrogance. we see too much arrogance in our society these days, the arrogance which says, "since i know i'm right, you must be wrong." politicians insist that their solutions to the problems facing our county are the right ones, that their positions must prevail since those who have other ideas are dead wrong. there can be no give and take, no compromise. religious leaders insist that their view of the christian faith is the only true view, that those who interpret the teachings of the faith differently are in error, and that those who are adherents of others religions or no religion are dead wrong.
arrogance is dangerous because the arrogant believe that they have a monopoly on truth. the arrogant see no other possibilities, no common ground with those who disagree with them. the trailer that got me to thinking about arrogance was for a movie called "do you believe," a "faith-based" movie that appears to suggest that a lack of faith in the atoning sacrifice of jesus on the cross is the cause of suffering in the lives of its characters, that this strain of christian theology is the answer to the problems these characters and, by extension, all of us confront. the movie is from the same studio that produced "god is not dead," a movie that has an atheist professor who is in a position of power over his students abuse that power by insisting that the students accept his belief that there is no God. of course, in the end, the professor is converted from atheism to fundamentalist christianity because one student refuses to knuckle under.
since i haven't seen the newer movie, i shouldn't condemn it out-of-hand, but from the scenes in the trailer, it appears to have the same heavy-handed, simplistic arrogance of its predecessor. it is not the content of the "believe" movie about which i'm so concerned, but the pervasive view in american society that one political party or one narrow view of christianity is the only valid one. no party or religion can claim to be the only source of truth. arrogance and the intolerance which grows from it are the banes of a democratic society, and we cannot allow ourselves to be taken in by an arrogance which refuses to love and respect those with whom we disagree.
may we take to heart st. paul's teaching that "love is not arrogant." may we be open to the views of others. may we never believe that we and those who agree with us are the only ones who can be right. may love open our hearts and minds to other possibilities. shalom.