Listen

 

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When we answer before listening, we prove to others that we are both stupid and rude.
Dallas and Nancy Demmitt Can You Hear Me Now? (2003)

According to God, we are supposed to love everyone, even our enemies. Yet half the time we won’t even listen to our friendly acquaintances, much less our enemies.  When we tune people out, we are being very unloving. Yes, it can be hard to listen to your enemies, but how can we ever attempt to make peace if we don’t?

“The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.”
― Winston S. Churchill

No one knows everything, and everyone knows something.
I have to admit that I have from time to time tuned certain people out, assuming that they were either uninformed or misinformed. Which can be the case, but it is wrong to tune them out. There is one politician for example that has become famous precisely because she is under-informed and often seems to make up answers on the fly when she has no idea what she is talking about. Yet the other day she made a comment that was wildly intelligent, while I still believe she meant for her comment to be taken differently, she proved that she can be right. I even saw a video yesterday posted by a five-time felon who gave many people a lesson on tolerance. You never know where the truth will come from, but you have to keep your eyes and ears open to find it.

Proverbs 18:17
The first to state his case seems right
until another comes and cross-examines him.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Yes, we are to listen to others, but we should be discerning while we listen. No one is perfect but God. When anyone else tells you something it is proper to ask questions. Look into it for yourselves.

One of the best debate tactics is to find common ground with the person you are debating, and built on that common ground. Something like: Can we both agree that already born children are valuable? Can be a good foundation to build a discussion on abortion. If you are unwilling to listen to people who oppose your ideas, you will not be able to find common ground.

Sometimes we use phrases like “fake news” to shut people down. Do you really know that it is fake news, or do you like the opposing view so much that you just hope it is fake news? If you don’t know for sure, find out.  While some stories are fake, it isn’t the fact that we don’t like the story that makes it fake, it’s twisting the truth, one-sided bias, and it’s total failure to match reality.

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Colossians 2:8 is Philosophy bad?

A photo of The Thinker by Rodin located at the Musée Rodin in Paris

Colossians 2:8

Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ.   (HCSB)

Many people assume that this verse is warning Christians away from philosophy, but this passage talks about a particular kind of philosophy, the kind that is based on what human tradition says. Philosophy based on Christ is a good thing.

Philosophy is a method of discovering truth. Many people claim that science is the only way to truth, but  I ask “What scientific study did you do to discover that truth?”, “How much does that “truth” weigh?”. There are several other questions I could ask to point out that not all truth is scientific.

In Jurassic Park, Dr. Ian Malcolm says ” Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should. ”

The reason that they did not stop to think about that question is that should and ought are in the realm of philosophy, science can inform moral truth, but it can not discover it.
Philosophy is the love of wisdom, and true wisdom flows from God’s truth.
Wisdom is mentioned many times in the Bible, and most of the time it is in a good light. The wisdom of Solomon was at one time famous all over the then known world, and his wisdom came from God.

A good book that is filled with Christian Philosophy, that debunks the most common bad philosophy today, the “everyone is right but the Christians view” is
Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air by Greg Koukl
If you have ever been told not to judge, or that truth is relative, and did not know what to say,  you need this book.
                        

Renew your Mind

Some people seem to think that we have to turn our brains off before we do anything religious, but that is not what God wants of us. As John Piper said “the brain God gave you is intended to throw fuel on the fire of your affections for God. It’s really good at it if you let it.” . Exploring the world and theology are related if your mind is open. One is the study of God, the other is the study of what God created. If you can interpret the facts with an open mind, they both blend together quite beautifully.

When I exercise my mind I get excited. The more I know about him, and his creation, the closer, and more in awe of his majesty I am.
It is like exercise of the body at first, and difficult to do at first, if you haven’t done it in awhile, but with prayer God will get you through it.
This also has the benefit of catching those who believe that Christians are unintelligent off guard.  I remember one time that I was talking to a group of people on X-box. Somehow the subject of Christians being stupid came up, and that was my chance to shine. For 45 minutes these teenagers who wanted to play a racing game shut up and listened to me talk about God! They had never heard anything like I was saying. God was certainly with me that day to enable me to draw teenage boys away from a game, to hear about God.
If I had not been a book reader, I don’t think that conversation would have been possible.

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
The Apologetics Study Bible

Love don’t KO

angry business woman with boxing gloves on a white background
I have often stated that debating is my sport. While it can be fun for strange people like me, we (Yes I am including myself in this) need to be very careful not to lose focus on what is really important here.  The goal should not be to smash our opponent’s face in with our fist till he or she is to battered and bruised to get off the floor.  It is tempting to say that some people deserve it, I personally have been battling harsh feelings toward someone who claimed she was my friend, and have been quite grumpy toward people with similar philosophies for almost a year now. It is time that I STOP IT!  Our goal should be to lead them closer to the truth, not to obliterate their face! Being mean wins no one, if Christ loved you before you were saved, you should at least try to love the person that you are debating. If you are mean, you could do more harm than good. It is possible to win the battle, but lose the war.
rule18

Proverbs 16:32

 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

Old Books and Vintage pocket watch
Smart Christian Books

Christian beliefs are rooted in reliable early records | Deseret News

If they’re used very much at all, written materials nowadays eventually wear out and fall apart and must be discarded. Our modern economy of disposable and replaceable abundance — including cheap paperbacks and, now, e-books — makes this “waste” inconsequential.In the ancient world, though, papyrus scrolls and parchments animal skin were very expensive and much more durable than modern books. Since they were written out and copied by hand, such books were both relatively rare and highly treasured.

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via Hamblin & Peterson: Christian beliefs are rooted in reliable early records | Deseret News.