Faith on the Quad The Danger of Indifference

In my last article, I looked at the disturbing political indifference exhibited by young people in America today.  However, I have also seen many examples of this indifference extending beyond the political realm.  We see so many problems in our society today – poverty, abortion, injustice, and so many other forms of evil in our world.  Yet when asked about these things, college students often show an attitude of apathy and complete indifference.  Many times, they say that have no opinion about important issues of today, or that they have not given them any thought.  Other times, they say that they are personally opposed to such evils, but they make no active effort to fight them.  This is a dangerous attitude.  If everyone were to think this way, how would these evils ever be stopped? 


I have heard it said that the opposite of love is not hate, but apathy.  I think there is a lot of truth in this statement.  Hatred requires active effort; it requires that one actually cares enough about something to hate it.  Apathy, on the other hand, is completely void of all passion, all energy, all effort.  An apathetic person will not exert any effort to make a difference in either direction.  He will simply sit back and watch events unfold, completely indifferent to the world around him.  Apathy is more dangerous than hatred.  It is a powerful tool in the hands of the devil.  When people are willing to simply look away, the devil has the opportunity to do his work in the world.  In the words of political philosopher Edmund Burke, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” 


In the Parable of the Tenants (Mt 25:14-28), Jesus tells a story of three tenants who are given talents by their master.  While two of the tenants go out and invest their talents to gain interest, the third tenant buries his talent.  When the master comes to collect, he rewards the tenants that have put their talents to good use, but he punishes the one who buried his talent.  Although this third tenant did not lose, spend, or waste his talent, he did not use it productively for good.  We act like this third tenant when we sit idly by, ignoring the opportunities we have to invest our talents and work for good in the world.


As college students, it is so easy for us to get caught up in our own lives.  Busy with classes, sports, and social lives, we are often tempted to ignore the world outside and forget about life off-campus.  But while college is an important time for self-examination and development, we cannot shove aside the rest of the world.  It is critical for us to act now! 


As young people, we have many opportunities to make a difference in our world.  We are young and energetic, and we do not yet have the commitments that come with having a family of our own.  We should use our youth and energy to do positive work in our world.  We need to commit ourselves to a cause, to dedicate ourselves to making a change, to actually care!  There are so many evils to fight against; we cannot be indifferent.  We must care about our brothers and sisters, reaching out to them as Christ reached out to those around Him.  As Catholics, we must not be content to be mere spectators on the sidelines.  We must take an active role in living our faith and becoming involved in the world that surrounds us.  The devil is always at work, and we must constantly fight to oppose him and carry out God’s will.


We must also remember the importance of prayer.  All of our efforts are in vain if we do not pray.  We must ask God for strength and guidance as we strive to follow His will, living out actively holy lives and fighting for goodness and truth in our world.



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