When I hear the term, “witch hunt,” words like fear of the other and/or unknown, ignorance, intolerance, and tragedy come to me. I also think of bygone eras when there were literal mass witch hunts.
The sad truth is that witch hunts are not over. Even though many societies no longer seek to hunt for and destroy witches the tragic fact is that ignorance and intolerance are still rife.
Ignorance and intolerance show themselves when people refuse to genuinely hear the other person; simply allowing the words of the other to roll over them, like water on a duck’s back. Often, they are scarcely able to conceal their impatience as they wait for their turn to make their point – a point that ignores what the other has said. They speak past rather than speak with, like very young children who have not matured enough to think abstractly and beyond themselves. It is not a conversation. There is no listening, receiving, acknowledging and then building upon what was said to move the conversation further through agreement or disagreement backed up with reasons. Rather, people who refuse to hear inhabit their own little world out of which they are afraid to venture. Everyone who is not in that world is treated with suspicion and fear spawned by ignorance and intolerance.
It is a sad world. We see it all too often. It is a challenge for us who have been called to raise up the next generation of Christians who will go out to love God and love their fellow human beings, while lifting up the light of Jesus Christ and inviting others to surrender to Christ and live devoted to God. It is a call to imitate Christ, who received everyone while challenging them and inviting them to change and orient their lives around the reign of God. It is a call to enable our students to imitate Christ.
How are you playing your part in raising up a generation of Christians who spurn ignorance and intolerance?