Would you have resisted and defied the Nazis if you’d lived in Germany in the 1930s?
Would you have defied the Jewish authorities to plead for Jesus' life had you lived in Jerusalem in 33 A.D.?
Would you have defied the Bolsheviks in Russia in 1917?
A Hypothesis #
I hypothesized that the vast majority of people, regardless of where they live (or when), would behave as most Germans and most Jews did at those critical moments.
In the case of Jesus, we can actually see the numbers. Jesus had thousands of followers. Most of them remained faithful to Him through his persecution and crucifixion. But only four had the courage to stand at the foot of the cross and witness his execution: the three Marys and John.
Some, let’s assume dozens, lined the Via Dolorosa to comfort Him when he carried the cross to Golgotha.
His apostles, aside from John, hid but remained faithful, as did most of his disciples.
On the other hand, hundreds actively advocated for his crucifixion before Pilate. Most likely paid little attention. They went about their daily lives.
Choose Your Faction #
Americans will soon face such an epochal decision regarding totalitarianism. We will break into four distinct groups: Advocates, Adapters, Dissenters, and Zealots.
Advocates: A vocal minority will advocate for totalitarianism, internment camps, mass arrests, and even genocide of those who oppose the regime. This faction is already active and has been for a long time. Advocates will be about four to six percent of the population.
Adapters: A large majority will ignore and adapt to whatever happens, ignoring their own consciences. If you live in a Republican suburb, you are surrounded by these people. Sixty percent of Americans will become adapters.
Dissenters: Many will quietly dissent from the regime and perform small, safe acts of defiance, the way the Apostles hid during Christ’s Passion. About 32 percent of Americans will become dissenters.
Zealots: A tiny sliver of freedom lovers will openly defy and resist the regime, and many of them will die because of their resistance. Only about two percent of us will have the courage to become zealots by risking our lives and fortunes to oppose the regime.
Inter-faction Rivalries #
That adaptive majority will hate the tiny sliver of Zealots. Dissenters will resent the Zealots, fearing the Zealots' open defiance will bring harsher persecutions. Guilt will also play a factor in the Dissenters'' animosity toward the Zealots, whom they will see as heroic compared to themselves.
While Adapters will happily rat out Zealots, Dissenters would never turn in a Zealot. Advocates, of course, will not only turn in the Zealots and Dissenters. They will try to force the Adapters to join or die.
If you ask most people which group they would join, they would say either the Adapters or the Zealots. Ironically, those two groups together will not add up to even 10 percent. But we all tend to believe ourselves braver than we really are.
Increase Your Capacity for Active Resistance #
I have written several posts over the past three years, describing just how painful these decisions will be, beginning with What Should We Do Next in August 2018. Before that, I wrote a series of posts about toughening up: cold showers, heavy lifting, fasting, and the rigorous Exodus 90 practice.
The purpose of the toughening posts was to increase the likelihood that my readers would become Dissenters or Zealots and avoid the pathetic Adapter faction. Adapters are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. I have far more respect for Advocates than for the pathetic Adapters. I vomit them out of my mouth.
I have no idea which faction I will fall into. I hope to be a zealot, but only the grace of God can give a man the courage necessary to suffer and die for what is right. If I can’t be a Zealot, Lord, let me be a Dissenter. Please spare me the ignominy of the Adapters and the apostasy of Advocates.
Once again, I ask for your prayers as we head into the storm of the century, and I will continue to pray for you, my readers.
Movie: A Hidden Life #
This post was inspired by a remarkable movie, A Hidden Life, the story of Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian Christian who refused to serve in the Nazi army or sign an oath of loyalty to Hitler.
Franz, a simple farmer who lost his own father in World War I, struggles with the decision to be true to his faith at the risk of losing his life.
The movie portrays how a community, even a community of dissidents, turns on those who live their faith to the end.