What do you see when you see the word fear? I see a world where I am surrounded by people but no one knows the real me. A world where I am loved by all and known by none. Yes, I hate spiders (as most people should), heights are not my favorite thing, and claustrophobia paralyzes me. But when it comes to true fear, I fear the idea of being alone in a crowd. I think that is the source of primal fear: loneliness. Our first ancestors walked together for a reason, there is strength together.
There are different types of fear though, fear where people stir up the mob mentality is what I want to address. I just finished the movie Bridge of Spies. I have to say that this movie is one of my new favorite movies as it establishes the ideological, moral, personal, and cultural tensions in a Cold War society. The thing that I noticed throughout the movie though was fear mongering. This concept plays off of the fears of the general populace. Most often, they find a people group, a nation, or an ideology to blame. During the Cold War, it was the U.S.S.R. (just look up McCarthyism). Today, it is the same play but different players. If all the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players, then what role does fear mongering play? “Close the borders, deport the Muslims, the Mexicans, the Communists are Satanic, etc.” We portray others as the embodiment of evil.
Every culture has this problem, it is not only America’s burden. We portray the ones we disagree with as less than human, less than people made in God’s image, and less than us. This allows for us to commit atrocities against them. I shudder when I hear or read what people say about the Muslim, African-American, Democrat, Republican, male, or female population. I also shudder when I read what people say about the White community, celebrities, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, etc. Shouldn’t this break our heart?
I think there is an answer, albeit it won’t solve every issue, but we can at least start. Talk to people who are different than you, whether that is religiously, ethnically, politically, I could really care less, just start talking and more importantly listening. I want to know, I want to understand, and I want to engage people who think differently than I do. I ask you to join me in this, if you are reading this. Push your comfort zone a little farther. Maybe it is naive of me to think this way, but if everyone else is wise and is living in fear than what kind of a life is that?