“Does God only work through violating the laws of nature? Can He not use the laws of nature He designed to accomplish His purposes? Could He not have providentially ordered the world so as to bring about life through a natural unfolding of what He had sovereignly decreed? … We must remember that when we jump to proclaim the inexplicable and currently unexplained as miraculous, we jeopardize our Christian witness when a material explanation may ultimately be found. Then, for many, our argument for God becomes an argument against Him.”
– Aaron R. Yilmaz, “Deliver Us From Evolution? – A Christian Biologist’s In-Depth Look At the Evidence Reveals A Surprising Harmony Between Science and God.”
The thought process he describes here is one that crosses many aspects of our life as we grow and discover more about the Scriptures as well as the world around us. Far beyond the tiresome debate of creation within American Christianity that most of us have been thrust into since our birth, the dangerous practice of making assumptions within a one-sided box and attaching those assumptions to the Scriptures as part of the “Gospel Package” creates a false reality that is propagated for generations and eventually accepted as a truth that must be defended at all costs, regardless of new information.
In the analogy of the one-sided box, when one chooses to acknowledge only a singular side then one cannot break out of anything because a one-sided box is not a box at all. It is only when all of the sides can be truly seen, acknowledged, and touched that a person becomes aware of the box they are in. Many have been conditioned to believe none of the other sides have any truth to them at all, thus they stare at a wall and scream to those around that there is no box. To those outside looking at the box, those screams have simply become trapped noises with no validity and no truth to offer.
We constantly do this. Whatever religious faith, whatever political ideals, whatever cultural experiences, we are in danger of becoming reclusive bystanders comfortably trapped in our own tribe of people who agree with us. Amongst all of the tribes we cry, “There are no other tribes! We are the true tribe!”
To those of you not followers of Yeshua/Yehusha I know you can identify with this – not only because of your own realization of the times you have fallen prey to this way of thinking, but also as “outsiders” observing Christians around you yelling from inside a box. So I will be addressing believers in the Christ (as you probably assume) because that is the tribe I grew up in and one that I have such a burden for.
I have seen the damage caused. I have observed the reclusive nature that drives wedges between us in and outside our tribe. I have experienced the urgency to stare at that wall and ignore my questions. And though I still fervently follow the Christ, I have witnessed many leave the tribe, driven out by the one-sided screams of misplaced beliefs.
Many Christians have misdiagnosed themselves. They have accepted that their adamant “defense of God and Scripture” is pure devotion (though well intended), while in reality it is a fear of being wrong. Because if they are wrong on one particular point that they have poured so much validity into, then they believe their entire belief system is in jeopardy. “If this is not real then none of it is real!” It is a foundational lack of faith and critical thinking.
Critical Thinking – the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment.
When you begin with the assumption that something you have been taught is absolutely true and cannot be questioned, you recuse yourself from deciding whether the truth is valid–opening yourself up to being mislead and misleading those around you. Unfortunately we have created an environment that has nurtured the belief that merely questioning certain topics in Christianity is tantamount to heresy, rejecting God altogether, and placing yourself in danger of burning in a lake of fire for eternity. If you do not hold on to what is passed down to you without question, then you are lost – whatever system your particular order of Christianity adheres to.
The Catholic Church deemed Galileo a heretic because he believed the earth revolved around the sun which was considered contrary to the Scriptures.
A reformer by the name of Martin Luther rejected Copernicus for the same belief.
Many Christians believed that slavery was an institution of God based on scripture. And that – not only was it biblical – socially it was a way to provide for an “inferior race.”
And many used to believe epilepsy was demonic possession. Etc, etc.
But we learned. We may have learned slowly, but we eventually learned.
For my purposes here I am focusing on the mindset, not the technicalities of scriptural interpretation. As we learn more through science about the Earth, Christians must look at all sides and be open for the renewing of their minds. As we learn more about the Scriptures and the processes of writing and of cultural understanding, Christians must look at all sides and be open for the renewing of their minds. As we learn more about space, about quantum physics, about the brain, psychology, history, Christians must be open to the renewing of their minds and of critical thinking.
When we seclude ourselves to only those that believe how we believe, we lose out on understanding more of God and bridging the gap of our dualistic mindset that has no place in reality. Because within those tribes there is no drive to learn about our Creator’s mysterious processes, or learn from the experiences of others that have been persecuted, nor an attempt to view life from the eyes of the poor or migrants. The only things that will matter to us will be the assumptions and views tacked onto the one wall inside the box – never to be questioned. Truth assumed, but never fought for.
Truth is never scared of us. We are scared of Truth.