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Viewing the “Free Gaza” peace flotilla in retrospect, it doesn’t bother me that Iran or Turkey are trying to force a hegemony claim in the Middle East. It’s entirely legitimate for Palestinians to pursue their cause and for Israelis to endeavour to present their view of things. But why do we as Europeans, as Germans, as Christians always immediately, automatically – as if on relfex or driven by adrenalin – have to leap on to one of the propoganda bandwagons which are speeding by? Why, without taking a minute to examine the issues at hand, must we label every comment, every depiction of events, every media report, as being “pro-Palestinian” or “pro-israeli”, indicating by this that one is obliged and compelled to take sides with one of the two parties?

While journalists, politicians and security experts are still working at putting together a clear picture of what exactly happened in the early morning hours of May 31 2010, Europeans appeared not only to know exactly what happened, but were also absolutely convinced as to who was responsible and whose fault it was. Unaware of what they were really doing, whole nations and churches sailed in the backwash of a ship which was commissioned by Islamists. It could even be that the helmsman was even under the orders of Al-Qauda!? The excuse made by Members of Parliament “but we didn’t know…” sounds suspiciously shallow and, in retrospect, bears striking similarities to the excuses made by many apparently innocent Germans more than half a century ago.

It’s not first and foremost about who is right or wrong in the region around the eastern Mediterranean. I believe that we all have the right to make comments that need correction or even to have a wrong opinion. But do we always have to sail in the lee of a particular ideology? Do we always need someone who blows the whistle and tells us in which direction we should all march lock-step? Why aren’t we allowed to step out of line with questions, with uncomfortable facts, with an opinion which is different? When these events happen thick and fast, why don’t we just lean back quietly for a few minutes and wait until all the facts have emerged, until the dust settles and the waves become smooth again? Why don’t we reflect on our values before we form and express an opinion – on the things which are important, decisive and defining to us as Christians?

In his sermon about the end times in Matthew 24 and 25, Jesus encourages us to be sober, faithful, reliable, wise and alert. He doesn’t just predict that persecution will come, but he warns us emphatically and repeatedly about a kind of seduction that will be so severe “so as to lead astray, if possilbe, even the elect.” I take these words of our Lord very seriously. They are more relevant than ever before. I don’t want to support the lack of discipline, the chaos or the widely accepted complacency in opinions and doctrines which is propogated in many places under the guise of tolerance. There is such a thing as truth! I am fully convinced of that. But this truth needs to be fought for. And mental sloth or intellectual smugness are the breeding-ground for gullibility. Every form of voluntary subjection ultimately leads to chronic dependency. That’s why we need to hold discussions with each other and resist the attempts of those who simply want to impose a pre-fabricated opinion on us.

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By Published On: August 6, 20102.9 min read

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