On a whim, I Googled the name of a college friend yesterday. He had been one of the leaders of our InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and it seems that his faith has not abated. In fact, he has earned both a Master of Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry at a well-known seminary. He’s not a pastor; apparently he did this just to increase his knowledge.
My Googling uncovered his blog, in which he offered to answer people’s questions about the Bible. His last entry was in 2008, but I was able to find an email address that is probably recent.
With his email address in hand, I was all set to invite him to address the concerns I raised in my series on biblical slavery. (Long-time readers will recall that I invited several professional apologists to do the same, but none were willing to say anything on record.) I was interested in my friend’s responses, but I have to be honest: I was also rubbing my hands just a little at the chance to bring my crusade (or, really, anti-crusade) to new territory.
But then I paused.
I considered the possibility that he would have something to say that I had not heard before. It was remote.
I also considered how likely it was that anything I said would change his opinions. Also remote.
Finally, I thought about how distressed he would be to hear that I had chucked the whole faith thing. Probably very.
So I did something that is very uncharacteristic of me. I just let it go. Maybe I was a wimp, but I find I can’t be at peace when I’m at war.
What do you think? Have you experienced this sort of transition?
Coming from the opposite side of the debate, I think I can say this is one thing that we all have in common. I’ve caught myself trying to “win” far too often, and am making an effort lately to mellow out, care about others, and put my focus on discovering what is actually true.
Only took me six years of debating to figure that out.
Good for you. I think that was the right thing to do. Yes, I have let go of trying to discuss with people about Evolution or the reality of Climate Change. The first argument is futile with a true believer, as he can always jam any scientific evidence into his Biblical paradigm. The second topic is rapidly becoming so shockingly self evident that I figure Gaia is making the point all on her own. 😉
>> …Gaia is making the point all on her own.
I’ve been wondering whether Earth is not only an organism, as some have suggested, but a conscious one. Seriously. Intriguing elements are in place: organized networks of sensors and responses to stimuli, for example. One thing that’s missing is selection pressure. I’ll have to think about that. Do you have any thoughts?
I do this quite often. I’ve never been much of an argumentative type. One of my goals in life is to encourage people to better themselves wherever their at no matter their thinking. I typically evaluate when I am done writing something before I send it if going to do that. At the same time I like to challenge people. If it’s in defense of a friend, though, I’m typically more apt to say something in their defense even if it doesn’t benefit the other person in the argument.
It might not be a bad thing to challenge your college buddy with these questions; I’d just recommend reestablishing a relationship with him first and seeing where he’s at in life.
I was using the term “Gaia” much more loosely. While I am persuaded by James Lovelock in his basic hypothesis that the Earth systems have many negative feedback loops that serve to create a sort of “homeostasis” (this is now accepted “earth system science) I don’t think of Earth as having consciousness or purpose driven evolution. That does not work for me any better than “Intelligent Design”. 😉
Overall, I do see humans as just another species who has overshot the carrying capacity of the environment, which in this case is the entire planet, and like other species, our population will inevitably suffer a crash as the environment is degraded and resources used up.
I sometimes feel that there isn’t a way to win.
There is a great video on Youtube that mentions this problem. The video is about brain chemistry, and how when we feel threatened we are actually incapable of learning or accepting new ideas. Our brains literally turn off to defend ourselves. Which is probably why you do not hear many stories of Christians being converted by a convincing atheist (in person). It is always a journey undertaken when you are alone often in your most private moments.
I find solace in the thought that lasting change will come from the death of one generation and the rise of the next. The best thing to do is to just not let the ideas die and teach young people how to think for themselves and analyze ideas. I only want people to fairly analyze things before they decide to believe them.
-Here is the video in case anyone was interested. It is slightly long but I think anyone who is on this blog wont mind spending some time to appreciate it. I feel bad that I have not gone into much secondary research on anything that is said in this video. So this could be complete hogwash take from it what you will.
I wanted to post on facebook “Has God answered your prayers? Have you ever prayed for an amptee to grow back a limb? I didn’t for fear of offending my in-laws.