Sunday’s Wisdom #80: Faith or Fear?

“That’s how evil wins, when good people begin to… doubt and run the other way instead of stand up and fight. You see it everywhere. In Columbia we have a saying, ‘Evil preys on the weak because it fears the strong.‘”
– Elena Rodriguez, Agents of Shield
Season 3, Episode 20, “Emancipation”
(italicized is translated from Spanish)

I really love quotes like this.

Right at this moment in the show, her friend and potential romantic interest, Mack, is sinking low under his doubts and fears. They’re facing an enemy unlike any they’ve faced before, with limited resources. The entire world is at stake, and Mack has not only lost friends, but one of them was simply taken from him, brainwashed into the enemy’s obedient, devoted slave. He tried to bring her back, and she nearly killed him for it. So, yes, he has every right to be at a low point right now.

No matter how strong we are, we all sink low at some point. That’s why we have friends, to help us pick ourselves back up.

That’s what Elena does here, help him get back up. He’s talking about end-of-the-world darkness, and she says, “You need a beer. And faith.” He asks if she’s ever wondered about that, about “faith.” Is there really anything to it, or is it just a word they use to fool themselves? Is it real, or is it just a fragile, false hope? That’s when she says the above quote, and I couldn’t agree more.

I don’t know who first said it, but they were very wise: all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. So, that’s what it tries to have us do. That which is evil tells us, over and over and over again, that we are too small, too ignorant, too few, too weak. “You can’t win,” it tells us, “You can’t do anything at all.” It tries to keep us down, keep us weak, keep us from realizing how much power we truly have.

In the wild, predators will generally favor taking down the weak over challenging the mighty, targeting the old, the injured, the sick, and the young. Similarly, prey will often choose running and hiding to confrontation unless motivated to do otherwise. Every natural force in the world, like flowing water and electricity, follows the path of least resistance. So it is with evil, and evil men. They fear those who could pose a serious threat to them, so they take care to avoid such whenever they can. But those who are weak, vulnerable, those they prey upon. And their greatest weapon? Convincing their victims that they are helpless.

A man filled with fear, doubt, and despair is weaker than a man filled with courage, faith, and hope, if only because he is more inclined to give up the fight.

Every so often, I hear people mock and deride, “faith,” as if it were some useless thing, a restraining weight to be cast off. To them I say, quite simply:

You are wrong.

I will keep my faith, and I will not give up my part in this fight, be that part ever so humble and small.

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