Friday, September 10, 2010

The Power of Persuasion

There are many ways to fall but only one way to stand. The road that leads to faith can be traveled via a crutch, via wishful thinking and projection, convenience and mindless traditionalism, or by thoughtful submission.

If faith is not achieved through thoughtful submission, WE become gods, creating truth based upon our desires and convenience, or out of an unexamined set of "creature comfort" habits.

To arrive at faith through thoughtful submission requires that one love truth more than one's convenience, comfort or desires. That is the "submission" component.

For such a submission to be thoughtful, requires a search for truth itself. If you believe you have found such truths, you can help others do the same only through persuasion.

It might be a cliche but I often say that cliches are repeated because they are true and ignored because they are repeated:

People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

You'll never have someone's heart or mind until you have their respect. You'll never have their respect until you give them the same. Such respect doesn't mean that you have to agree with them. It simply means that you show that you care for them as opposed to caring for winning an argument and nurturing your pride.

This brings me to the latest controversy regarding the burning of the Koran. Burning another religion's holy book does NOTHING to persuade. If Rev Terry Jones were to have gone through with such a thing, does he really believe that even ONE Muslim will in sackloth and ashes be convinced of the teachings of Christ as Lord of all? Can Mr. Jones point to even ONE example from his Christian faith or from secular history where an offensive act has acted as a persuasive one and changed the hearts and minds of the offended?

But you might ask, didn't Jesus offend the religious leaders of His day in similar acts when he took a whip into the Temple and drove away all the money changers? Didn't Jesus do a similar thing when He called the religious leaders of His day "vipers" and "broods of "snakes", et al?

The key to understanding Jesus' repudiation of the religious leaders of His day comes in His motivation to point out hypocrisy. He constantly pointed out the logical inconsistencies of the religious leaders of His day as they claimed to follow the law of God yet failed to love their neighbors as themselves or love God with all their hearts and minds.

If offenses should come, Christ followers should be offending religious attitudes held by people like Mr. Jones. I hope to make a small contribution there with this post.

If Mr. Jones follows this same Christ, the Christ who taught that it was better to give than to receive, better to love than to hate, better to lose one's life than to try and save it, is He reflecting Christ by merely inciting anger and hate with those in whom he disagrees?

Did Christ call me or Rev Terry Jones to burn books or to set hearts ablaze?

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