In my last post I quoted from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, I Want to Live These Days with You which contains a year-long series of devotions which form part of my own daily reading. While continuing my daily reading I came across this passage dated for August 26th and did not want to let it pass without comment.
Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good that evil is. Evil always carries the seeds of its own self-destruction. But against stupidity, we are defenceless.
A little further it goes onto say;-
Stupid people in contrast to evil ones, are satisfied with themselves. Indeed, they become dangerous in that they are easily stimulated to go on the attack.
In the final paragraph Bonhoeffer quotes from Proverbs 1:7, “fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” and how the internal liberation of people for a responsible life before God, is the only real way to overcome stupidity.
All of which leads me to wonder just how is it that humanity and especially those who lead us can still act with complete stupidity? Even in the face of overwhelming evidence that our exploitative ways are not only creating great harm and division in the natural world, but also among and between peoples, many of whom have been forced to flee because of them.
History continues to show us that by not conforming to the words of the Lord we continue in a headlong quest for greater power, wealth and influence without fear of any consequences. What consequences there are, tend to be borne mainly by those least able to do so. Having read this passage from Bonhoeffer’s book and taking a snapshot of the headlines for that day, I wrote the following prayer in my daily diary if only to express my grief and frustration at how stupid the human race continues to be.
Forgive of stupidity Lord, in this your world which you created for our stewardship, yet which we have exploited almost to the point of destruction.
Forgive our stupidity Lord, for our pursuit of wealth, power and influence. Forgive our stupidity for the gap between the richest and the poorest which now grows ever wider.
Forgive our stupidity Lord, for the violent conflict which continues to engulf the peoples of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Occupied Palestine, Yemen, Myanmar. Forgive our stupidity for the many other instances of ethnic and religious violence still prevalent in the world today.
Forgive our stupidity Lord, in our failing to hold to account those who have it within their power to put a stop to this ever continuing cycle of conflict and exploitation, yet seem unwilling or unable to do so.
Forgive our stupidity Lord, for ignoring the plight of the refugees, many of whom have been forced to flee their homes because of our unwillingness to ensure they remain protected in their homelands against all forms of repression and violence.
Forgive our stupidity Lord, for allowing fear and hatred of others who are different from us cloud our judgments, for the negativity in our reaction to the diversity we find among all your people regardless of gender, race, religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation.
Forgive our stupidity Lord, for the casual acceptance we greet the many cultural and economic changes that have taken place over recent decades, and for the impact it has had on family and neighbour and our sense of being in community with one another.
Forgive our stupidity Lord, for our rejection of your word and the promise of your grace freely given, because we have forgotten to know what it means to fear you and to keep your commandments.
Forgive our stupidity Lord.
 Bonhoeffer, Dietrich, I Want to Live these Days with You, translated by O.C. Dean Jr from original German (London, WJK Press, 2007)