We see this across the board, such as when a little child persistently complains, and finally, the frazzled parent, to placate the noise, gives in. Trade Unions are adept at this as well, and will make a loud noise through any number of means so as to achieve their goals of industrial or political claims.
'Formal Meetings' too it is a common place, where bullies raise their voice and put their view across the table (as it were), with such force and determination, that many of the others in the room tend to acquiesce.
I recall a community meeting in a country town where one of the Shire Counsellors attended. This person had assisted me in some major ministry projects but I noticed that his methodology in a meeting was to shout forceably putting what he considered to be the only way forward.
At that meeting a number of others, including myself, made it abundantly clear that raising your voice does not negate other views and that this was not a place for bullying. The place nearly erupted with the challenge.
Politics too is a place where the louder voice all the way through to various forms of fanaticism can have an overarching influence. The voice of reason gets trodden under. This ultimately leads directly to holocaust situations. History is replete with such illustrations.
Illustration from history
The anti-Nazi German Pastor Martin Niemöller in 1945 said these now famous words: “In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
1933-45 Nazi Germany was a classic situation. Who was and who was not a true Nazi is a continuing mute question as once the dye was cast and Hitler came to power, many did join the Nazi party for personal advantage – a better job, more financial security, improved prospects for one's children and the like.
One view is that few Germans were true Nazi's. Rather they joined the Nazi party as they enjoyed the return of German pride and others were too busy to care. But they found they lost more than they had gained. Many Christians found themselves in concentration camps. Many died such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietrich_Bonhoeffer)
(A question for Christian historians is whether the White Martyrs of the C4th who chose to live in ascetic geographical locations to avoid the sinful influence of the cities is not dissimilar to the dichotomy faced by Confessing Church Christians in Nazi Germany).
Many are saying the same thing about fanatical Islam today. It is entirely irrelevant that most Muslims want to live peaceable lives. It is the fanatics who march (including Sydney 15 September). It is the fanatics who wage violence, who systematically slaughter (other Muslims and Christians alike), it is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, honour-kill, it is the fanatics who take over Mosques for an Islamist agenda. It is the fanatics who train their young to become suicide bombers. The Muslim silent majority get cowed and are extraneous to the situation around them.
“Where are peaceful Muslims” is an article that speaks of this in more depth, written by Jeffrey Weiss – an article by republished by My Christian Daily www.mychristiandaily.com/index.php/feature/3274-where-are-the-peaceful-muslims from RealClearReligion.www.realclearreligion.org
Communist Russia was comprised of people who wanted to live in peace but the fanatics killed 20 million of their own. The Japanese people were in a similar predicament, but found themselves under the control of a militarist situation.
Anyone in any country in any situation simply becomes irrelevant 'by their silence'.
But “silence” is not an aspect of the Australian Greens. There is no more energetic political movement in Australia than the Greens (many of whom are atheists who hold policies that reflect such a philosophy). The lesson of the Greens is that they get involved and influence everything they possibly can.
Get involved, do some hard yards
So should evangelical Christians. Be part of any number of community groups - the P&C, the Guides and Scouts, Chambers of Commerce, Rotary, Lions, Advisory Groups of any kind, Mothers Clubs, Surf Life Saving, whatever.
Get involved in anything outside the cloisters of the church community and have a grass roots influence. By just being there you make a statement. I'm a member of the Chamber of Commerce and involved in Art communities. My voice gets heard. I ensure it gets heard.
The voice of reason must not be pummelled and good people standing tall is required. More so Christian media speaking forth the “voice of reason”. This is far from preaching to the converted, rather it is placing the voice of reason of a wonderful Saviour front and centre in a torn and turbulent world.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html