Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sometimes It's Just Too Easy (The Devil Made Me Do It)

On August 12, 2006, The Dallas Morning News published a column by Mary A. Jacobs, in which she discussed "Christian to Christian" urban legends.

There's a wonderful quote by one Kevin Lewis; the context is: "...Lewis, an assistant professor of theology and law at Biola University, a Christian school near Los Angeles, uses urban legends as fodder in classes on legal evidence, apologetics and epistemology. He reminds students that if Christians are to "witness" to others, they must be credible witnesses.

"Urban legends offer a great lesson on why people accept things that don't have any factual basis," he said. "And, unfortunately, there are a lot of reasons why Christians believe baloney."

Modern churches aren't catechizing believers as thoroughly as in the past, he says, leaving many Christians with a superficial understanding of church history and theology. And many tend to accept beliefs from an authority, such as a pastor, without understanding the basis of those beliefs.

Urban legends, Mr. Lewis said, can serve as object lessons for discussion of questions like, "How do you know anything is true?" and, "Why should I believe Billy Graham rather than Jim Jones?"

And those questions have serious implications.
"You're cult bait if you don't use your mind," he said.

Two great quotes "...there are a lot of reasons why Christians believe baloney." Hmmm. Well, one reason is that they are taught to believe metaphor, if not baloney. Pearly gates? Streets of gold? Angels with harps? Not to mention virgin birth and resurrection. Lewis, doubtless, knows better; but preachers are constantly talking about the fact of the resurrection rather than the metaphor. And so on.

Finally, here's a great howler: "You're cult bait if you don't use your mind."

Oh, indeed. Pictures of these mega churches with 16,000 in attendance are redolent of Jonestown.

Ayatollahs on one hand and Christian fundamentalists on the other.

We're in deep doo-doo.

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