05 April 2009

Correcting Ignorance

Our pastor gave a killer sermon some weeks ago about correcting others' false facts about the Bible. There's a difference, he said, between humbly correcting fallacies and arrogantly putting people in their place.

Now comes the confession. In my school days (mostly high school), I was very good at putting people in their place. If they had their doctrine out of joint, I was there to point it out to them, whether they wanted it or not. Having me around made people feel like their proverbial zippers were always down. (This did not make me very many friends. Believe me.)

Then I went into reverse mode. I stopped correcting people at all and just became a sympathetic listener. I became a doormat. I was a jellyfish, with no spine of my own. (My convictions were good enough for me, but I didn't have to shove them down others' throats, right?)

Whew. I'm still in progress, still growing, but I'm coming closer to a happy medium. To be specific, I had a great talk last week with a co-worker about all kinds of things: we talked about the new Creation Museum (I said I didn't think a museum would change evolutionists' minds about origin theory); he asked what I believed about the Origin of Everything, and I explained the following:
What I Think About the Origin of Everything
1) I don't like that evolutionists take God out of the equation.
2) The Bible clearly states that God made everything out of nothing.
3) The Bible also says that God made people in a special way...he made Adam and Eve on purpose, with a special purpose in mind.

He digested this for a moment, then asked me to explain why, as he put it, "so many people just...you know...take the Bible and put it on a pedestal." He said it was a good book about morals but he doesn't run to it for the answer about everything. I gave that a moment to rumble around in my head. I wanted to think and answer clearly. Here is what I said:
Why I Quote the Bible so Often and Study it and Read it and Know it
1) The Bible says about itself that it's inspired, that it's truthful, that it's right. I believe that because I believe that the entire Bible is true.
2) The Bible is the story, from beginning to end, of Jesus Christ's relationship with his people. He's our Creator, He's our Savior, and He's our Redeemer.
3) The Bible is authoritative in what it talks about. It doesn't talk about a lot of things (say, for example, which brand of laundry detergent I should use during each season of my life), but the things it does talk about, it's right about.
4) The entire Bible isn't meant to be literal. The history sections and the doctrine-textbook sections are literal, but the poetry parts aren't! They are poetry and meant to be poetical.

The fella I was talking to listened. I hope that what I said was what he needed to hear. Then he went on to ask about other holy writings, like the Koran and the Bhaghavad Gita. I thought again and answered this:
How I Compare the Bible to Other Religious Texts:
1) Each of these texts explains the world in a certain way. All these worldviews are so different and cannot logically all be correct at the same time.
2) Each of these texts claims to be true. They're so different, teach differing views of the world, but again--they cannot all be correct and contradictory at the same time. (Logic dictates that red is red, and green is not red. It's green. Green and red cannot simultaneously be red!)
3) I already explained my relationship to the Bible and why I trust it. Those are the reasons I choose the Bible over the other texts. They cannot all be truth, and so I reject the other texts and choose the Bible.

I'm humbled that God gave me such a clear chance to answer questions without being pushy. I mean, he asked me to share what I know and believe. I pray that God will water the seeds of truth I told him about.

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