In this era of the “politically correct” we discover the forces of censorship have simply reframed their approach. But censorship is never the right way to go, no matter how noble the cause, no matter how right the reasons. We should not be in the business of forbidding certain topics, certain words, certain ideas. Those who think censorship is useful and use words like “tolerance,” and other fine phrases as they constrain freedom of expression and refuse to tolerate what they find offensive, are actually guilty of oppression. We must instead permit everything to be voiced, no matter how distasteful, no matter how offensive, no matter how degratding.

What needs to happen instead of forbidding, is refutation.

I am optimistic in regards to the truth, and believe that if the truth is not lazy or arrogant, condescending or sloppy, that it will inevitably win over error. Consider: is it necessary to forbid research and discussion of the ptolemaic view of the universe? Do we need to silence those who believe the world is flat? Are practioners of frenology robbing people blind?

Wrong ideas, wrong words, wrong thinking is best argued against, rather than muzzled. Gagging and binding stupid folk just isn’t the best way to solve the problem of error or stupidity. Persecution and censorship are usually, if not always, counterproductive. If you want people to look at something, just put a sign in front of it that says “don’t look here.”

It is the lazy way out to simply scream, “you can’t be allowed to say that,” and then start hurling bricks. So let’s not be lazy and let’s believe that the truth really can set people free.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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