Today’s “On The Square” essay by Elizabeth Scalia explores what happens when religious and idealogical movements become insecure:
Stories like this—where we find Muslims reacting to Christian evangelism with fire and rage— always remind me of the Office of the Dead, which includes the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians, where we read, “What is sown in the earth is subject to decay, what rises is incorruptible. What is sown is ignoble, what rises is glorious. Weakness is sown, strength rises up” (1 Corinthians 15:42b-43).
Paul is discussing the resurrection on the last day, but that passage always resonates with me because it hints at a truth that can be applied to so much that occurs in our lives, or in the news: when weakness is sown, strength rises up against it.
On some level, what is weak knows that it is weak; it understands that foundationally, it cannot support the weight of its own ideas, much less endure an opposing wind. And because weakness knows this, it goes out of its way to deflect the opposition by sowing confusion, chaos, guilt, fear. These are the by-products of weakness and its attendant insecurity. They are the telltale signs of weakness.