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Monday, January 31, 2011

I Am Amazed

I have often stated I am amazed at how similar the staunchest faith fundamentalist and hardcore atheists speak so similarly. What I mean by that is they shoot off the same old ridicule snippets, absurdities which would make their own brethren cringe.

There's something, too, which I find quite similar. It is their common tactic of resorting to "we can't understand" when they find themselves unable to follow-through on their initial one-liners. Each has their favorite what I call "word condiments" to season there speech. You can readily recognize these: faith and belief from one group versus logic and reason from the other. Those of you not familiar with atheists' approach to discussions may be surprised to learn, but you need only read a few online thread discussions to see for yourselves. This may be difficult to imagine given the stereotype many theists have of atheists that they are so intelligent. Intelligence is great and to be desired and attained, but it is no excuse for ignorance and it doesn't cover up ignorance. It only dilutes ignorance.

I want to clarify. As a theist and disciple of Jesus as the Son of God, I too hold many elements of faith in common with these same fundamentalists. I should clarify further my use of the term is only as the world uses it. I would most certainly fit in their description of fundamentalist. What is it than that makes these two so seemingly different mindsets speak so similarly?

I am persuaded many individuals from these different groups merely parrot what they hear, though not necessarily understand, from their revered leaders heavily ladened with academic credentials. Case in point. Last night I was doing some research. I was listening to one such multi-degreed brother in the faith who stated he was currently pursing his doctorate. He stated three generally accepted, well-known approaches to the study of scripture: 1) culture, 2) study of the original text, and 3) overall view our understanding and application of scripture. Yet, after making his point about how people push passages of scripture aside as being of less value than other passages the scholar does the same himself.

Speaking on the passages in I Timothy and I Corinthians on women which he regards as difficult to understand, he falters. He argues these passages to not reveal the nature of God and effectively pushes these passages aside as being of less value than others. There's no telling how many would have/have taken his words to parrot them like good fundamentalists. I would argue an approach which diminishes and devalues the importance of any scripture is seriously questionable.

I like the name Ravi Zacharias has taken for his radio program, "Let My People Think." Preaching need not be a regular delving deeply into original word meanings, but it can, and I would argue, is best when the people of God are taught, encouraged, allowed and challenged to think. This is precisely what Jesus did by teaching the people through parables. Then fundamentalists, or disciples, will be able to speak with conviction and understanding those things they have heard expounded by men and women of God for the instruction and edification of believers. That's more than amazing. That's to the glory of God.

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