Silencing Truth vs Challenging Lies

People who waste time trying to silence someone with a different view, are deceivers rather than bearers of truth. If what someone believes is true then alternative views are not a threat to them because they won’t stand up in light of the truth and so there is no need to silence these other views. These people are just looking to control others rather than persuade them. Persuasion does not happen with fear but with love.

When people in power are protecting a lie they’re going to fight to silence the opposition. When people in power represent the truth they’re not going to fight against lies by silencing the opposition, but rather they’re going to expose the lies by challenging them publically with the truth. So when governments or institutions try to censor something, it is because it is true and breaks their false narrative. If it weren’t true they would simply call it false and challenge it with the truth. People with wisdom will side with the truth.

John 3:20 (NLT) All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

This applies to how Christians treat non-believers, if what we believe is true then what non-believers do and say is not a threat, we can simply speak truth to the lies with confidence. Christians can’t threaten people with good news (the gospel), that doesn’t make any sense. If a person doesn’t believe some good thing (like redemption from wickedness and eternal life) is available to them and therefore doesn’t receive it, then they lose, not the people sharing it. So if Christians threaten or try to silence other opinions then they don’t really believe the gospel is true because they are threatened by other views rather than just challenging them with discourse. True believers in Christ will simply challenge a falsehood with what the word of God says. This is the purpose of Christian apologetics, and Jude urges Christians to defend the faith.

Jude 1:3 Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. 4 I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Believers are called to challenge the ideologies not attack the individual people that believe them. The Apostle Paul says in Ep 6:10-17 that Christians are not at war with fellow humans they are fighting against sinful ideologies and spiritual darkness. He references these things further as both human philosophies and institutions, as well as spiritual entities in various letters like Colossians 1:15-16, Col 2:8 & 15, Gal 4:3, 1 Cor 2:6-8, 2 Cor 10:3-4, and Romans 8:38-39. There are methods to do this in love, one such method is simply to ask what another theology’s solution to certain problems like human sin nature is and then offer a different solution to that problem like Christ and the Holy Spirit. The Gospel is “good news”, so it needs to be presented as such, people can’t believe new things by force they must receive them after hearing them (Rom 10:5-17). In addition, believers are not expected to make others believe anything, it’s each person’s choice whether or not they want to be a part of the Kingdom of God and eternal life. Christians lose nothing if others reject, the only obligation is to share and love people no matter what choice they make.

Also, actions speak louder than words so believers must do the word and not just hear it (James 1:22-26). This means how believers talk to people and treat people will matter more than what we are saying. This is why James 2:19-20 says this, (NLT) “19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?” Previously in the chapter, he tells Christians that all talk and no action is worthless. He says “14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless” (James 2:14-17). Paul reminds us that God’s mercy, despite our foolish rebellion against him, is intended to draw people to repentance (changing our minds) in Rom 2:1-4. We should show mercy to all people including our enemies (Matt 5:43-48).

Believers are supposed to be ambassadors for Christ so they have to be like Christ’s representatives to everyone who doesn’t know him. This means building real relationships and investing time into individuals, which is more fruitful than going door to door passing out fliers only to never have contact with these people again. Trust must be built by building a relationship, there is no fast food version of this, this is what the Apostles did. Paul lived with the people he built church communities from for years getting to know them and their families. The correct way to evangelize is to care about the whole person and focus less on quantity (number of souls) and more on quality (individual lives being transformed) because quality building work will be sustained in the test of fire (1 Cor 3:5-15), but making massive amounts of false converts through coersion only produces false versions of Christianity with syncretic pagan elements like Santeria. I go more into how this subject applies to evangelism in this Article about Faith vs Conversion article. In addition, I wrote this article on the contradiction between nationalism and Christianity.

The opposite is also true, if anti-Christian governments or religious groups try to silence the gospel by persecuting Christians it reveals that they fear that their falsehoods cannot stand up against God’s word. Otherwise, they would just be open to free discourse. This concept applies to secular conflicts as well like when governments, nationalists, terrorists, tribal/ethnic, racial groups, and others manipulate people into joining their cause to kill or abuse others because they represent an alternative viewpoint. The truth is only a threat to people who believe a lie. Lies are not a threat to people that believe the truth because they will just challenge the lies with the truth. The truth can defend itself. Therefore if what you believe is true there is no need to try and control other people or censor them, just challenge their ideas.