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Ignorance is Strength

"Bear with one another in love." Ephesians 4:2

Many of you have read, or at least heard of, George Orwell's famous novel, 1984. In this book, Orwell tells the story of a world under the rule of an ominous and mysterious dictator called "Big Brother." Big Brother advocates concepts such as "Newspeak" and "Doubletalk," in which statements that are obviously false (such as 2+2=5) are made mandatory to believe. His mantra: "War is Peace, Slavery is Freedom, Ignorance is Strength" is drilled into the minds of humanity. Those who refused to accept such ridiculous notions were then punished severely and often executed. Orwell dreamed of a dictator, a Big Brother, who would conquer the world by brainwashing its inhabitants into believing whatever he wanted them to believe, no matter how impossible the beliefs were. Ironically, this is not far from the world we live in today. It is also extremely applicable to the small breed of non-conformists that don't seem to conform to anything--even the prevalent versions of non-conformism. This rare species, the "Christian Goth," is shunned by all of society--by non-Christians, by Christians, and even by other Goths.

The Doubletalk that infects our world and life today has come under many guises: New Age, liberalism, post modernism, and one of the most common (and yet ironic)... "tolerance." Even amongst fellow Goths, there is a great deal of bigotry, hatred, and discrimination going on. It takes place between the far more common "liberal" Goths and the minority of "conservative" Goths. The issues tend to range from topics such as homosexuality and abortion to things as trivial as political preference. But no matter how small the disagreement, the problem remains. Those who listen to Goth music, wear Gothic clothing, and are just generally involved in the Gothic culture, are for some reason expected to adhere to a certain creed... which usually means that one is not allowed to disagree with homosexual or transgender lifestyles, with sexual immorality, with the mistreatment of one's own body, etc. Why are we not allowed to disagree with those things? Because, to hold views against such things would be intolerant. Goths must be tolerant (by society's standard) and thus one must believe those things to be a Goth. Those who disagree are pummeled with such childish antics as bullying and name-calling. We are called "posers," "bigots," "wannabes," "conformists." Why? Because we refuse to conform! We don't conform to the "normal" world, and we don't even conform to mainstream, modern Goth. But one does not need to abandon the Gothic culture, and one definitely does not need to abandon Christianity, absolute truth, or morality for the sake of their social status. In fact, I will attempt, in this article, to show that Goths who are labeled as "conservative" can defend themselves, and they are often more "goth" than those who label themselves "liberal."

First of all, our society, and Goth culture, especially, places a lot of emphasis on "tolerance." According to the new definition of tolerance, it means "Agree with and/or condone everyone else's beliefs and practices, or else you're displaying hatred and bigotry." This definition has been badly distorted from the original meaning of the word, which is to accept and endure people whose beliefs and practices differ from your own. I can accept and love someone while disagreeing with their lifestyle. One can tolerate a homosexual or abortionist or any general "liberal," by treating them the way they would any other human being, but that doesn't mean one has to agree with or accept their beliefs or practices. Christ set the example, by expressing complete and unconditional love for every man, woman and child, regardless of sex, race, creed, religion, or nationality. Christ even commanded this love to be shown towards worst enemies. He said, "Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. . . For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?" (Matthew 5:44,46-47). Yet at the same time, Jesus commanded an adulteress to leave her sinful lifestyle (John 8:23), he condemned the Pharisees for their wicked practices (Matthew 23), and all throughout the New Testament, commanded people to repent and to forsake their old, sinful lifestyles, and live in accordance with God (Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:15, Luke 13:3, Revelation 2:16, etc). In fact, in Mark 1:15, Christ performs what is today seen as the ultimate act of intolerance. He asks that people forsake their lies and believe in His truth! "Repent and believe in the Gospel," He says! And yet, even the most hardened post-modernists and non-Christians will admit that Jesus Christ was possibly one of the most loving and accepting Men ever to walk the face of the earth. It's almost mind-boggling how "conservative" Goths are ridiculed and told to be more tolerant, like Christ was, when at the same time, they're doing exactly what Christ did. They're tolerating the people, while still being intelligent enough to know right from wrong and truth from lie.

To Christian Goths who have been labeled as "conservative, intolerant bigots" (or some variation thereof), I want to assure you that it's alright to be Goth and to have a mind of your own. If you have sincerely examined the issues, found that some practices and beliefs are destructive and wrong, and now honestly believe that they should not be practiced, why should you be mocked and scorned? You can listen to Gothic music if that is your preference, you can dress Gothic if that is your preference, you can be involved in the subculture. Liberalism does not have a monopoly on the Gothic culture. Gothic culture has always emphasized individualism, in that people should question all popular ideologies and form their own opinions. If my questioning leads me to believe that there are absolute truths, that some practices are harmful, and that there is a right way to live, why can't I believe that and be Goth at the same time?
This issue presents liberalism and post-modernism with a serious problem. The fact is, the sort of thinking (that espouses the idea that you have to agree with everyone else and can't try to warn them if you see disaster ahead) is self-defeating. Think about it. If we are to tolerate everyone, why are conservative Christians so discriminated against? Why are they told that they are bigots and that they need to change their views and be more accepting, when the whole basis of this "new tolerance" requires that conservative Christianity be accepted as well? The fact is, this post-modern "tolerance" wants people to be tolerant of everyone but "conservative Christians." This rule violates itself, which simply goes to show that the popular definition of tolerance is wrong.
Also, since when have Goths been required to be politically correct? From its beginnings in the punk rock movement of the 80's, Goth has always clashed with society. Now, in a society that advocates we "Live and let live" (no matter what kind of lifestyle is taking place) even those who once resisted popular ideologies are trying to force their beliefs onto those who don't see things in that way.

Today, we are faced with the same question posed by Pontius Pilate, 2000 years ago: "What is truth?" (John 18:38). So how can you provide an answer to those who ask why you believe what you believe (I Peter 3:15)? It's a very simple rule of logic... that which contradicts itself cannot be true. The ridiculousness of Newspeak and Doubletalk (such as 2+2=5) is self-evident. All one has to do is point it out. Anyone who denies this most basic logic is not worth arguing with. The entire foundation of science and reasoning are based in the facts that some things are true while others are false, and that these truths can be found. To disregard the philosophical Law of Non-Contradiction is to undermine the entire basis of science and logic, making all thinking futile and meaningless. Something is either true or it is not true. It's as simple as that. From there, we can derive what renowned apologist, Norman Geisler, has summed up as the "Road Runner Tactic." Just like when the Coyote chases the Road Runner, who suddenly stops on the edge of the cliff, leaving the Coyote still running in mid-air (and then suddenly realizing that all along he had no ground beneath him) falls, likewise one can easily respond to post-modern propoganda by showing how the many relativist statements cannot be true because they contradict themselves. Take for example:

  • There is no absolute truth! Is that statement absolutely true...?
  • You need to tolerate other peoples' beliefs! Why not "tolerate" my belief that not all beliefs are true, then?
  • You cannot know anything pertaining to God for certain. That statement pertains to God. Can you know that for certain?
  • It's true for you but not for me. Is that statement true for you but not for me?
  • You can't know any truth. That in itself is a truth. Can you know that?

    One will say: But some statements are relative! However, actually, even the supposedly relative statements are either true or false. "On August 1, 2004, I was warm." Is this statement relative and only applicable to me? No! On August 1, 2004, it was true for everyone on earth that I experienced the sensation of warmth. So you see, the very basis of this type of reasoning is pure foolishness. It is eerily not far from Big Brother's, "Ignorance is Strength." The strength of thought in this era is now one of ignorance. No knowledge is certain... only that is for certain! Ignorance is strength!
    The fact is, you have a logical right as a human being to believe whatever you want to believe, even if your belief system includes the idea that other beliefs are not true. Logic itself demands that absolute truth exist and that it be achievable. The idea that the Gothic subculture is to be some type of haven for liberals or post-modernists or New Agers only is completely ridiculous. Goth is, however, a haven for people who believe and think for themselves, and are not pressured into spouting brainwashing mantras like "There is no truth" or "Tolerance means accepting everyone else's beliefs as true." Either 2+2 is 4 or it's not. Either God condemns homosexuality or He doesn't. Either drugs have been known to harm the body or they haven't. Either a "fetus" is a living, feeling human being or its not. Either God exists or He doesn't. Either Christ is God or He isn't. Either Christ rose from the dead, or He didn't. There is no both-and logic. There is either-or. How do we know there can be no both-and logic on these issues? Well, are both "both-and logic" and "either-or logic" true, or is either "both-and logic" or "either-or logic" true? The very nature of reality and of logic demands that some things be true while their opposites are false. One doesn't have to take a conservative stance on every issue to be able to "think for themselves," but they do have to challenge every ideology and one does have to think and believe something, rather than the popular "nothing."

    So now to those who are both Christian and Gothic, I say that you can believe in the Bible, in God, in Christ, in truth. And to those who are "tolerant" of everyone except for those who believe the same way you do, I say: please take into sincere consideration what I have just said. True tolerance is based on logic, wisdom, and love. We are called to love God with "all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind," (Matthew 22:37). Thinking and reasoning are meaningless without truth. And therefore truth and love go hand-in-hand. Human beings are called to be intelligent and rational, and not to use cop-outs to avoid the obvious. The Apostle Paul had it right when he said that we need to "speak the truth in love," (Ephesians 4:15).

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