What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
In my discussions with friends and family, some people have expressed the need for “balance” in a given issue. I am sometimes seen as an “idealist” in my views and so those who suggest such a stance are attempting to harmonize my stance with one less extreme.
Here’s my problem with “balance”. As time goes on, and as evil increases in the world, the position of balance changes as well to compensate for the increasing influence on one end of the spectrum.
Here’s an example to illustrate:
As evil increases, the fulcrum (or point of balance) must shift in evil’s direction in order to compensate. Clearly, then, one’s balance must become—little by little—more evil as the amount of evil increases. While it would yet be worse by siding with the evil itself, moving your fulcrum in evil’s direction is equally detrimental and spiritual suicide.
I don’t believe there is room for balance in the war against evil. We must choose sides. If we’re not on the Lord’s side, or if one foot is on His side and one on the other, then we’re trying to serve two masters. Attempting “balance” might be likened to having a luke warm stance:
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (Rev. 3:15-16)
In one sense of the word, balance is not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve never advocated such extremism requiring one to move into the foothills of the valley to shun all of civilization because of its corruption and evil influence. However, the balance we must find is the harmony between our daily activities and priorities in life, not between that which is good and evil. Elder Asay has suggested likewise:
Can a man be too righteous? Too Christlike? Impossible! Can the so-called “balanced man” walk successfully the beam between good and evil? No. Each step is shaky, and eventually he will teeter and fall and break himself against the commandments of God. (“Be Men!” Ensign, May 1992, 40)
With that quote I’m reminded of a story we’ve all heard before:
The story is told of a king who was choosing between two drivers for his coach. He ordered each of them to drive his coach down a steep, winding road cut into a high cliff.
The first driver came down slowly, hugging the wall of the cliff. The second driver demonstrated great talent and ability. He raced down the mountain, with the coach so close at times that half the wheel was off the edge of the cliff. (Boyd K. Packer, “The Word of Wisdom: The Principle and the Promises,” Ensign, May 1996, 17)
The need to to shun evil should be apparent to anybody who has flipped channels on the TV for a few minutes, or lazily clicked around on the Internet with curiosity.
Satan’s weaponry in this war has become more advanced, just as technological innovation has produced better military weaponry. John Bytheway tells a great comparison between these two advances:
The B-17 Flying Fortress had a crew of ten and was the primary bomber used in Europe during World War II. You’ll notice that it took 4500 sorties (individual missions) and 9000 bombs to destroy a target. And the bombs they dropped were accurate to within “thousands of feet” of the target.
During the Vietnam War, many pilots flew the F-105 Thunderchief. Because of improvements in the technology of war, destroying a target required only 95 missions and 190 bombs—a huge improvement. And the bombs they dropped were accurate to within “hundreds of feet” of the target.
Then war technology improved again. In 1991 the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter was used during the Gulf War. Sorties required? Only one. Bombs required to destroy the target? One. And the accuracy was “within feet.” In fact, the F-117’s laser- guided weapons can be programmed to fly through a specific window of a building! Again, it’s too bad that such beautiful things as airplanes often have to be used for such violent and destructive purposes, but there’s a lesson in all of this that I want you to see.
War technology has improved, and Satan is at war against us. He’ll use any weapon he can to try to kill us spiritually. During the days of World War II, those who wanted pornography had to go to a bad part of town. They probably had to travel “thousands of feet.” They also had to ask for it, and they likely felt ashamed as they reached for their wallet.
Then the spiritual war technology improved. Guess what was invented during the Vietnam War? The VCR. Today you only need to go “hundreds of feet” to a supermarket, a convenience store, or a video/DVD rental place to find movies that are “vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic.” For a few bucks you can bring these movies right into your home, the center of Satan’s target. Satan uses the latest technology to teach us of his ways right from our own television. What furniture in your house shows the most wear? For most of us, it’s the furniture facing the TV, or the “home entertainment center.”
In the past two decades, technology has improved again. Today if you have unfiltered Internet access in your home, Satan can park a smart bomb right on your desk, “within feet” of where you’re sitting. Those who produce pornography have been looking for a secret way into our homes, and they’ve found it. Satan can now target us with his most lethal weapons with pinpoint accuracy.
We can buy a security system for our house, we can put deadbolt locks on each of the doors, and we can install motion sensor lights outside. Satan, however, can enter our homes through very small spaces. He can come through the cable, the modem, or even through the air (to your satellite dish).
We can’t afford to balance good with evil. We must put on the whole armor of God and fight the good fight. We must take a stand against evil, call it what it is, and do all we can to oppose it. Our salvation depends on it.