Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Watch the Smiles Fade

And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. Mark 7:9

Have you ever visited a church and been greeted with smiles and welcomed with open arms? I mean as a visitor. This has been my experience a number of times. I have had people put an arm around my shoulder and call me brother. Later, they avoid me and will not speak to me. And all for my simple offense of saying that their church might better serve people as a linoleum and rug store.

A major offense could be to ask a question concerning doctrine. Say you inquire if their beliefs are the result of searching the scriptures or have been inherited, perhaps as a family tradition?

My father was an ardent believer in the "authorities". What the nameless authorities said was his law and rule of conduct. It does take less effort to just yield one's mind to someone else's dictates, and concentrate on sports. In sports you may follow your own leanings and be free from authorities.

Now about the smiling, friendly people. The less they know about you, the more they smile. As they get to know you better, the smiles may disappear altogether. That seems to be just the reverse of how it should be. It would make a lot more sense if you were greeted with a bit of reservation at first, then people could warm up to you as they became better aquainted.

I heard a great quote, attributed to Voltaire. He said you can tell who rules over you by who you are not allowed to question. May I say that applies to doctrine perhaps most of all. Deep down many people fear their beliefs are not sound, and will not stand up to investigation.

In fact, this is the age where beliefs are a matter of emotion or prejudice rather than the Bible. It is common to hear people say "You can prove anything from the Bible". If one chooses a particular passage this can be true. Satan is quoted at times, as are false prophets. I sure wouldn't assume their words were true.

So, questions and questioners are often forbidden and ignored. I have found that those whose beliefs are grounded in scripture welcome questions and discussion. Those who have not examined their beliefs shun examination of them as if they were poison. When a question is asked you can see the smiles fade away.

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