A Tale of Two Book Reviews
First, read this excerpt from a book review about a person who claimed to have a near-death experience.
“I have never heard such a stupid claim. The author is not the slightest bit informed on the subject of truth. There is not a single doubt in my mind that she is being intentionally deceptive. Everyone knows that near-death experiences are completely made-up. The Scriptures are clear and unmistakable. People do not become angels.”
What stands out to you? Now read this:
“I, personally, have a hard time believing this. It would seem that our understanding of the Bible is much different. Maybe she is being deceptive, or perhaps she’s self-deceived. Who can say for sure? Near-death experiences are fraught with many difficulties due to their subjectivity. However, it does seem clear that the Scriptures teach that people do not become angels.”
Notice the difference? Both are essentially saying the same thing in two different ways. That’s the reality of most situations. There are usually (at least) two ways we could respond (see graphic).
My Attitude Was Tempered
As I’ve been reviewing books and blogs over the years, my attitude has changed. This was not an overnight change. I began to see people with integrity. I began to see intellectual honesty.
I saw humility and a true desire to engage the issues. I saw people who were seeking truth more than they were seeking to justify their emotional prejudice. These people talked different than others. They handled others differently. Their swing, swagger, and argumentative gait was so cool and compelling.
They seemed to really believe what they claimed to believe. And, to my surprise, this was novel. I am now attempting to become more intentional in my engagement with others when I discuss theology. From teaching The Theology Program in a formal classroom setting to a laid back evening for Coffee and Theology while sipping a Luther Latte, my goal now is not simply to sharpen what I believe and why, but how I handle this belief in conversation more responsibly and effectively. There are issues of attitude and form at play. Issues of attitude tap me on the shoulder and really grab my attention.
Issues of Attitude
- Unqualified Superlatives
- Non-Contingent Propositions
This probably isn’t the list you expected. Hang with me. I’ll explain. Many of your lists might include: Continue Reading →