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Where Is the Threat?

- Most solutions are of their time - #Newberg #excellent_lensflare - A frien

A friend of mine is struggling to figure out what is truth and what is trash in popular belief. But his efforts to wrestle with real issues have won him few friends among his Christian peers.

“I guess what bothers me about religion and a lot of people in religions is that they completely block out what I have to say just because I have different views, and they refuse to listen to my logic.”

People simply try to argue him out of his way of thinking rather than seriously considering whether he has anything worthwhile to offer.

That kind of Christianity has always seemed foreign to me (and a little bit hypocritical). After all, if we believe that God gave us minds, then why wouldn’t we expect or allow people to use them? How come that’s such a threat to our faith (unless there isn’t really any substance to the stuff that we claim to believe)?

But while I was thinking about my friend’s struggle, I realized something about my own relationships: People, who aren’t religious, are just as close-minded (set in their beliefs about politics and success and how to act in public). I wonder if that kind of thinking — where every question has a right answer that must be defended — is part of our culture more than it is a religious idea or problem.

If this is a purely cultural phenomenon, then it is possible to be religious or not religious without a defensive mindset. It is possible to go against the grain without losing your religion. In the same sense, it is possible to resist culture without getting converted.

Maybe we need to go back to the basics, question the foundation on which we’ve built belief. The structure might not be as sound as we imagine. And a rigid system will never serve us well for long because it can’t account for future experience. Because our present foundation is built on what we know, it can’t lead us to the places where we haven’t yet been.

So let’s drop our defenses. Let’s open our minds. Let’s watch and listen for the workings of God in this world. Let’s treat our friends and neighbors as equals, created in the image of God. They have much to teach us.

Let’s treat our friends and neighbors as equals, created in the image of God. They have much to teach us.

2 Comments

  1. Janice Holton

    “Because our present foundation is built on what we know, it can’t lead us to the places where we haven’t yet been.”

    This statement doesn’t make sense to me. As Christians, our foundation should not be based on “what we know” but Who we know. Basing a foundation on what we know means it will constantly be shifting and changing. A good foundation should not do that or everything comes crashing down because nothing is consistent, stable and dependable.

    Your last paragraph referencing how we should treat people should already be true of a Christian’s life if they have built their foundation on Jesus Christ.

    Or am I missing your point?

  2. ericmuhr

    If our present system is built on what we know. And if God is bigger than our understanding. Then the system itself is a stop on the journey, not the journey’s destination. The supposition here is that we are intended to continue growing and learning. When we begin to replace faith with certitude, we often end up doing more evil than good.

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