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A Dialogue with My Friend “Mike”

02 Jun

Friends: I have been corresponding with an unsaved friend of mine for years. We’ll call him “Mike.” You might find the following dialogue interesting. I’m open to your comments or questions:

Hello Larry,

I take you up on your last sentence: “I think that a genuine friendship gives the other permission to share his thoughts and deepest convictions”.

You understand my frustration….

You understand my request…..

Do you really???

We both believe in a higher authority that governs our life. We give it different names, but it is the same authority. It is the same authority that all the hundreds of different religious belief systems are based on. You enhanced your conceived system with ideas that are not shared in the same way by all the other different religions. This does not change the fact that there is only one authority and it is wrong to take the position that ones own interpretation is better than every other.

I fully accept the Christian value system, but cannot accept the detailed descriptions of paradise, the creation of mankind, the original sin, the love of God, etc.. similar as I cannot accept the idea of a Santa Claus, or an Easter bunny.

Whenever you talk to me in terms of converting me to your views, it always implies that your views are better than mine. Do you think this is right?

You talk about my world view. I don’t have one!

I simple accept the higher authority without having any thought of trying to understand. I know without doubt, that this knowledge is outside my capability.

Hope you will not give up on me for being blunt with expressing my views.

“Mike”

Good morning, Mike.
I received your email and wanted to jot down a couple of thoughts to you. On some things we agree; on others, not so much.

1. On the issue of “a higher authority” — If you mean “God,” then on the surface you are right. All religions claim to believe in “God” (although Buddhism believes in many gods or none at all). The Bible talks about “false gods” and bluntly says that those who don’t worship the God of Israel are worshiping idols. Your comment reminded me of a long conversation I had with a leader of the Ba’hai movement. He believed that all religions were really believing the same things.

But that’s not true, is it, Mike? Apart from the specifics of Jesus, etc., the various conceptions of God (a Trinity? not a Trinity?) differ dramatically. To say that all religions believe the same thing when it comes to “God” is actually not taking those religions seriously in what they claim.

2. I would love to know what you mean by “I fully accept the Christian value system.” Which parts? On what basis do you pick and choose which parts you will believe — and consign the others to the level of the Easter Bunny?

3. Thank you for your honesty in asking me the question: “Whenever you talk to me in terms of converting me to your views, it always implies that your views are better than mine. Do you think this is right?” I’m sure some of your views are better than mine, and maybe some of my views are “better” than yours. What’s the problem? Isn’t dialogue and discussion a way to get to “better” views (those more consistent and in tune with reality)? For example, isn’t the Christian idea of love not better than the Hindu practice of sati, the forcibly burning to death of a widow on her husband’s funeral pyre? Mike, I’m certainly not saying that you hold to sati, but if you did, wouldn’t love dictate that I try to dissuade you of that idea?

4. You write, “You talk about my world view. I don’t have one!” Au contraire, mon ami! Every person has a way of looking at life, of understanding reality. Your worldview does not include recognizing Jesus as God’s Son who gave His life for you. Mine does. That’s a pretty big difference in worldviews, wouldn’t you say?

5. Lastly, you write: “I simple accept the higher authority without having any thought of trying to understand. I know without doubt, that this knowledge is outside my capability.”

Mike, don’t you see that this is an assumption that you make? What if that higher authority has revealed Himself to man in order to draw people into a relationship with Him? Of course an exhaustive knowledge of this “higher authority” is impossible. But our knowledge need not be exhaustive to be sufficient. I don’t ever want to be one who has given up the pursuit of the knowledge which He has revealed.

I will not give up on you for being blunt about your views. And I hope you won’t give up on me. But please don’t expect me to leave my Christian convictions outside, to stop praying that you will understand and believe the gospel, that you will come to know my Jesus.

Blessings.
Larry

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2020 in evangelism

 

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