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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pot, Meet Kettle

I've heard it before. The Conservatives point at the Liberals and say, "To you, it's all about power. You want to stop people from smoking in public, to control who can and cannot get married, to decide what schools can feed school children, to put your thumb on big business, to control the world!" Of course, the Liberals fire back, "Hey! That's what we say about you! You want to control what we smoke, decide who can marry, give power to big business, control the world!" And the finger-pointing goes on.

This isn't a post about Liberals and Conservatives. It's about people ... us. It seems to me that we spend a lot of time pointing at the other side saying, "We're right and you're wrong" while we ignore some facts. Take, for instance, the debate between Arminians and Calvinists. The truth is that the two sides agree on the vast majority of Christian theology. There are just a few -- actually, five -- points of disagreement (and, of course, some underlying points). So the Arminians point at the Calvinists and say, "You limit the Atonement! The Bible teaches that the Atonement was for all!" The Calvinists shoot back, "You say that Christ intended to save everyone. Apparently He failed!" The Arminian complains, "You say that a believer can never lose his salvation. If that's true, what's all this about 'work out your salvation'?" The Calvinist complains, "You say that our salvation is in constant peril. In what sense, then, can Jude write that God 'is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory'?" And the finger-pointing goes on.

The truth is this. Life is full of puzzles and riddles and mysteries. Some can be solved. Some can never be solved this side of eternity. (That is not to say that we shouldn't try.) When we settle into our own set of beliefs, it is a mistake to believe that we have arrived, that we have all the answers, that there are no more questions, puzzles, mysteries. No one has all the answers. I would encourage you who contend for the truth that you would do so with gentleness and respect. All views have serious questions that need answering, whether they are political or social or economical or theological. None of us have arrived at the perfect view of all things. Some have examined this or that and come to the truth. Others have examined other things and arrived at the truth on those things. None of us have all the answers. Remember that when you consider engaging in your next heated discussion.


Naum said...


Danny Wright said...

Ahhh the ever present dilemma of the what can be known question; used quite effectively I might ad in ex nihilo attacks disguised as arguments.

Stan said...

Oh, I don't know. I'm thinking more of a realization that I suffer from the same malady as everyone else -- a deceitful heart. As long as I'm aware that I don't have all the answers, perhaps I can be more courteous to others that don't.

Danny Wright said...

I understand. In fact one of my favorite, and constantly growing, posts is Bumper Sticker Thought. The first item is, "if you don't want to be deceived, assume you have been." Perhaps I should change that to "assume you are" thus implying that the deception didn't necessarily come from the outside.

Stan said...

"... thus implying that the deception didn't necessarily come from the outside."

Very good point.