Archive for the ‘freedom of thought’ Tag

Accusations of Fundamentalism   Leave a comment

I do enjoy discussing my faith with nonbelievers because I find that at least 80% of the people I interact with know very little of what faithful Christians actually believe. How can you judge something you know nothing real about?

Most people, even those raised in church, have never read the Bible. They know what they think they know from snatches of conversations they’ve overheard, media discourse on television (usually by people who are as ignorant of the Bible as they are, but pretend not to be) and a televion show or movie. Even many churchgoers learn their theology from these sources.

I came to Christ as a young adult and I started my journey toward faith by having my presuppositions challenged. If I really believed that God could not be known or proven, on what did I base my belief? I’d learned it from adults who had never questioned their own presuppositions – my mom, teachers, a whole Alaskan culture that was highly secular. I knew some people who went to church, but I learned later, once I knew what to look for, that I had never known anyone who had faith … until I happened to reluctantly read Francis Shaffer’s “The God Who Is There.” What can I say? It was the only English I language book in a remote Alaska cabin hemmed in by fog. I recognized it later as a God thing.

The point is, if someone hasn’t challenged their own presuppositions, one way or another, I don’t think they have any claim to “truth” or freedom of thought.

Ignorance of any subject is no crime, but people who see their ignorance as a virtue and accuse me of closed-minded fundamentalism are displaying incredible arrogance.

Yes, I subscribe to the fundamentals of Biblical Christian faith. There’s nothing wrong or stupid about that. Without Newton’s fundamentals, physics would not be where it is today. Knowledge of the fundamentals of electricity allows my husband Brad and his fellow electricians to do their jobs without killing themselves. Beware the man who wants to build a great structure without knowing anything about foundations.

Belief does not close one’s mind. Jesus said “You will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free.” He later claimed to be that Truth.  I know the Truth and it has given me freedom of thought as well as assurance that I will never learn anything that will disprove Jesus as God. So I read books, talk to atheists, challenge my presuppositions occasionally (about yearly) and review my foundations because I can and because it’s a really good way to strengthen my faith.

How do I do this? Let me introduce you to my family.

 

Speaking Up While We Still Can   Leave a comment

When I was a kid, my mother posted this quote inside a kitchen cabinet.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

 

Martin Niemoller was a prominent Protestant pastor who became an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent several years in Nazi concentration camps. Niemoller believed that Germans, particularly the leaders of the leading Protestant churches, had been complicit in their silence in the Nazi imprisonment, persecution and murder of millions of people.

There was a time when I was a conservative and I felt comfortable with tough laws and long sentences, but with the passage of decades, I have come to realize that a great many Americans are locked up in our prison system because … just because. They didn’t hurt anyone. They offended some people by what they said. They made government officials uncomfortable. They demanded people think.

I don’t usually mock when others say things I disagree with, unless it’s directly to me, because I respect the right of everyone to make a fool of themselves. The world is a better place and liberty is best served when the marketplace of ideas is open to all … even to ideas that are ludicrous.

It’s time we learned to speak up for the right to speak up, even when we don’t like what’s being said.

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