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Friday, February 3, 2012

Dissonance

Yesterday we said that at some level it does not matter what we think, feel, or believe, what matters is what God says.  The problem we began to address is how we align ourselves with God’s thinking, feelings, and beliefs.  Romans 12:2 says that we have to have our minds transformed.  Isaiah 8:20 says that if we are not aligned with the Word we are in darkness.


If you are like me, there are some passages of scripture that cause you problems.  In most cases with me, it means that what the Scripture says does not line up with what I currently believe or practice.  When that happens to me it is a jarring experience, the technical term for it is cognitive dissonance.  That is when a message that comes our way is counter to our settled world view.  When that happens we have three choices:
  • Change our world view or behavior
  • Discredit the message
  • Discredit the messenger
When we are dealing with the Word of God, and it challenges our beliefs or behavior we have a real challenge.  Sometimes we will try to discredit the Bible, the message, with reason, or with an interpretation that explains away what the text of the Bible says.  We do that in a lot of cases by skipping the first question in Bible study, “What does it say?” and moving directly to the second question, “What does it mean?”  The challenge we will have with that is in most cases the meaning of the Bible is not all that obscure.  It simple means what it says.  When we really don’t like it we either ignore it or say that it does not apply anymore.

Look at the options.  If we do not choose the first, we are either discrediting the Bible or God.  As we are working through this life, engaging in leading our families through the minefields that life throws at us, it would seem to me that choosing any other option but the first is dangerous both to us and our families.

1 comment:

  1. I'd love to give this a considerable response and even enter into some dialogue/discussion on it. This is really quite a large topic and multilayered.

    First off, my position is that if the Bible challenges any belief I hold, my belief needs to come into alignment with the Scriptures. The issue here is authority. I decided this a long time ago and have done my best to live by it.

    This is for me what I would call a basic assumption that I had to come to. And I believe there is overwhelming evidence of all sorts to indicate the wisdom and rightness of my position.

    However, I recognized long ago that it is also quite true that enough doubt exists in many ways that this authority can be rejected on a number of points. Bart Erhman is one of the best examples I know of.

    Why do I hold my position, and many other more religious and intelligent people do not? My assumption is that the Bible is the Word of God. Their assumption is that it's not. We both have our reasons.

    So my position is that if there is a "discrepancy" in the Scriptures, the illusion is clearly mine, not the fault of the Scriptures. If I don't like something, I need to look hard at my definitions and bring mine into line with God's.

    One example leaps to mind: God's goodness. It can't seem good to me what happened in the Holocaust, or to the 60 million who died at the hands of Stalin, or the little girl abducted from her bed and horribly abused and gruesomely murdered. A whole relatively new movement of a heretical (in my opinion) view of God is built on this misunderstanding. I need to bring my definition of "good" into line with how God has revealed Himself.

    And I must hold my positions with great humility and certain flexibility, realizing that at the very least I view them in a very cloudy, distorted mirror. There needs to be a great amount of correction is just about everything. Including, maybe even especially, in what I "know that I know."

    So much for the "theory." How does it work in my own life? Not so much. It takes a long, long, long time (in earthly terms). So I continue to work on, challenge my beliefs and responses against the "Word of our God (which) stands forever" (Is.40:8)

    And I need brothers and sisters and my children and soon my grandchildren to help me.

    And I also realize that God is giving us all of eternity to get to know Him. And in fact it will take just that long - eternity. After all, He is infinite!

    For what it's worth,

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