When is it virtuous to speak out against something?

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Here’s the story: Comedian David Cross faces backlash after promoting the University of Utah show with a photo of himself in Mormon temple garments

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One individual’s comment in response to her Facebook post, and my friend’s reply to this comment.

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Quite Christians as sometimes seen as noble and patient. But is it always virtuous to remain quiet? When is it better to hold your tongue? When is it better to speak out and confront? Is it un-Christian to stir the pot, so to speak? As Christians we should seek to avoid contention, right?

Out of curiosity, I did a quick Google search to find where the phrase “stir the pot” originated.  I didn’t find where the phrase originated, but I did find this perspective on stirring the pot which I really liked:

 

Picture a pot of soup. A lot of ingredients have settled to the bottom, out of sight, until stirred. Metaphorically, a lot of issues/resentments/obligations can drop out of sight when nobody mentions them. One can “stir the pot” to bring issues to the surface, sometimes with malice, but sometimes merely to create awareness and effect change.

“When nobody mentions them.”

When we as Christians hide behind our Christianity to cover and justify our fear to speak up about issues and stand up for our beliefs, we do ourselves and others a great disservice. It is valuable to bring issues to the surface. But how we bring those issues up matters.

 

The reality is that we all have differing views, opinions, and beliefs. Even when we share similar religious, cultural, or political views, we will still have differing views, interpretations, and opinions within those views that we share.

When Christ appeared to the Nephites, one of the first things He addressed was the arguing that was happening over matters of baptism. He wasn’t telling them to avoid talking about their different views. The problem wasn’t that they were asking questions and talking about their different understanding of the topic.  The problem was how they went about that discussion, how they shared their views and how they listened to others. 

 

And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been. For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.

3 Nephi 11:28-30)

It’s valuable to engage in conversations that discuss differing views and opinions. It is valuable to discuss and articulate your views as well. But how we engage in those discussions matters very much. 

It takes emotional and spiritual development to be respectful of the differing views of others. It also takes a certain level of emotional and spiritual maturity to unapologetically own and make clear your views.

It requires a strong sense of self to not be dependent upon an outside source to validate you in your view in order to stand by your view. It takes a strong sense of self to not be dependent on needing people to agree with us to feel more secure in our views.