Few voices have been raised in defense of consistency since Emerson published his essay “Self Reliance.” The well known quotation from this is, of course, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” But “foolish” is often overlooked. Emerson personally ran a tight ship intellectually and seemed to have held in question only the do-or-die defense of positions taken hastily and later shown to be unwise.
Human beings continue to seek to make sense of their world, and to demand of their fellows some kind of patterned, logical thought and behavior. And Christians, professing devotion to the Word and to the Lord of Truth, are justified in demanding consistency on the part of those who lead them and profess to speak in their behalf.
We are accustomed “at this point in time” to an absence of coherence and even-handedness in secular organizations as they relate to perplexing issues and problem groups. The United Nations is a case in point. The inability of such a large and diverse organization to speak with a coherent voice about such a clear-cut issue of criminality as the hijacking of passenger aircraft has become “acceptable.”
It is a commonplace that today’s world, far from being a “global village” or community, is becoming clearly divisible and divided into three “worlds,” the West, the “socialist” states, and the Third World of developing nations. Each of these has a charasteristic ethos, a characteristic way of meeting issues and of evaluating the others.
Obviously, anything like consistency of pronouncement or of action can scarcely be expected of such a conglomerate of powers, great and small. The Christian mind, recognizing such realities as this, does however grade the organizations he observes in action, and ...1
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