Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: AGREE TO DISAGREE (05/04/17)
TITLE: Arguing with a Sign Post
By LINDA GERMAIN
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All my “philosophy” was rooted in Holy Scripture, but I gritted my teeth and suffered through what I felt were insufferable blah-blah-blah theories from supposedly deep thinkers long since dead.
I’m sorry, but plowing through some of their slightly obtuse observations about almost everything was boring. I often felt sleepy.
What really woke me up was when the professor placed a straight-back chair on the table in front of the class.
“What do you see?”
Of course, we all answered, “A chair.”
He responded in a scoffing voice.
“How do you KNOW it’s a chair? Maybe it’s not.”
Why would anyone with good sense ask me to consider that a chair might not really be a chair and later, whether we are actually here in this time and space? I squeaked through that course but dreaded to think about the next required one.
From day one of Elementary Logic and Critical Thinking I was clearly not on track to absorb anything of value.
Dropping the course was the only logical thing to do. The instructor asked me to please try it again next term. Reluctantly, I agreed.
The first day of the second attempt to learn what seemed as elusive as rabbits in a cabbage patch, I went home and curled up with the textbook, determined to figure out a few things.
Many hours later, a muffled bell seemed to ring in my brain.
Ah Hah! I actually learned something constructive. Logically, statements and conclusions can be written almost like a mathematical formula. That was compelling news to me.
That a statement can be valid but not necessarily true was like finding x-ray glasses. A+B=C could be a perfectly constructed formula but built on blatant lies (think politics). That discovery changed my view of the debate dynamics of serious issues.
In other words, voices cloaked in pretend reason might only be convincing because of a questionable (loosey-goosey) premise that sounds good to the masses but turns out to be resting on a shaky platform…not on a rock.
Another helpful lesson I learned was about deductive and inductive reasoning, which are opposites.
Detectives make deductions to solve crimes. They start with the big picture and then with each clue, they finally come to a conclusion.
On the other hand, inductive reasoning starts with a conclusion and works backward to produce evidence for its support. That usually doesn’t work out too well.
As I labored through the logic workbook, each chapter began to be a semi-fun activity. Imagine how stunned I was to ace the final exam.
The old logic textbook is still around to remind me about the valid versus true thing.
As Christians, that bit of information could filter differences of opinions as we attempt to decipher what's genuine. An argument that sounds convincing in an equation could be totally incorrect as a reality.
When a scamming, well-disguised con-person wants to convince me to part with money, engage in immoral or criminal activity, or questions my faith and relationship with my Creator, I do NOT agree to disagree with his or her assertions and propositions.
There’s nothing wrong with that when we realize the Holy Spirit has answers that are both valid and true! Being a gentleman, He does not force us to listen but believe me, He knows if suspicious ideas that bounce and swirl and smell a little funny are valid statements wrapped in lies, or the truth wrapped in, well...the Truth!
In the end, we may be the only sign some people ever see of the Jesus we want them to meet and embrace. Leaving them lost on what they believe is the right road by declaring some kind of truce (agreeing to disagree) may be a weak attempt to show respect or to prevent an uncomfortable confrontation. But, who’s the winner?
If someone’s beliefs (for example, atheism or religions that deny Jesus) are in serious conflict with what you know; consider this approach.
Be kind. Be Calm. Be bold. Be solid. Be careful and on guard. Disagree, but stand your ground with love. If that doesn’t work, pray for the right one to cross their paths.
Someday, many may be thankful that you provided a lamp unto their feet and a sturdy signpost on their winding road. It only makes sense.
1 Corinthians 1:20-21 (NLT)
So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.
Philippians 3:15-16 (NLT)
Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.
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