“Prove all things.” (1 Thessalonians 5)
As a preacher/teacher I must have support for all that I say from the pulpit. I cannot simply make a statement and expect serious Bible students to accept what I say without chapter and verse. That is one of the problems in Christendom today; a preacher will make a claim or statement without Scriptural support and the hearers take him at his word. This is why the Lord said in His sermon from the mount, “ye have heard it said; but I say unto you.” Much of what was believed and accepted in His day was error ridden tradition passed down from one rabbinical generation to another.
This is another reason why so many believers are caught up and imprisoned in legalism. One legalistic minded man will speak of something he dislikes, say women in pants and then it becomes a tradition which then grows into Biblical doctrine and then causes one Christ-ian to be judgmental of another that does not hold to said false doctrine.
In my preparations to present the Word of God I must also “foresee” objections and answer them before they grow in the mind of my hearers. Once an objection begins to grow in a mind most of what is said afterwards goes unheard.
There is much that goes into a thought before it should be stated to others. There is a proverb that teaches it is a fool that answers a matter before he heareth it.” That can be expanded to a person who makes a statement before having proper back up or support.
I am somewhat active in comment sections that are hyper critical of the church, Christ-ianity, fellow believers and most of all attacks leveled against Christ. I have read some of the most outlandish and false comments in these comment sections. I have learned the one way to shut the critics down is to simple ask them to cite their source. This, of course can’t be done because their is no source. Their silly comment was based on fact-less emotion.
Peter said that one should always be prepared to give a reason for the hope one has. This means give reason or support for your hope. Paul said to “Prove all things,” John said, “Try the spirits.” In others words put every thing you would say or hear on trial to see the veracity thereof. Our Lord said over and over, “Take heed to what you hear” and “Take heed to what you see.”
It was reported on Thursday that a study revealed that much of what one reads on Face Book is false. I did not need a study to reveal this. I see so many “news clippings” on Face Book and I doubt so many of them but am saddened to see how many persons pass them along as fact and they do so because they believe them. I see quotes attributed to persons that do not seem in character. If one were to “prove” this quote, “try” this quote, or “take heed” to what they see and read one may find it baseless and false. I am not claiming to be smarter than anyone else (I am ignorant of so many things). I have studied much on the art and science of logic and critical thinking in many, many books and truth be told the Bible would teach many this art if they would “Take and read.” Mystery fiction is another “text book” one could learn much from. If one were to read Sherlock Holmes or Hercules Poirot, Nero Wolfe, Uncle Abner or The “Thinking Machine” Professor Van Dusen as a text book and not just entertainment one would grow critical in one’s thought process. A thorough study on the syllogism would be invaluable, as well.
Speaking of Face Book, We recently had a run in with a woman that attempted to manipulate another person’s thoughts by making an unsupported statement. We challenged her on this and she then replied with criticism of my grammar, punctuation error, and a word not capitalized. This is what persons do. They try to manipulate another’s inference(s) and or conclusions by making statements like, “Just say’in” or “Did you see…” or “did you hear…” This is a fallacious, underhanded and deceitful way to manipulate another’s thoughts. Another famous fallacious manipulation was, “Hath God said…..” this is a quote of Satan. I kept speaking to the issue at hand and this woman continued to speak about grammar! Then she accused me of having a sense of superiority. After that accusation she said she does not tolerate ignorance, which made her superiority personified! Then this person stated that our whole discussion was comical to her. That is the equivalent to a person laughing in your face when they have no answer or support to back themselves up. This person was using fallacy after fallacy after fallacy. My grammar and punctuation may have errors but my logic is sharp and precise. Besides that even with grammatical errors a point can still be understood even though one’s logic may not.
An analogy we could use is math. When we were in school the teacher (God Bless the good and faithful teacher past, present and future) would tell us to show our work. That is true today of comments and statements one makes…be prepared to show your work…or source if you want to be taken seriously.
The responsibility to prove and test what others say is vital in the realms of faith and politics. This is one reason people say that religion and politics should not be discussed. The real reason is people run their mouths with unsupported dogma and when they are called on it by someone intellectually honest their recourse is anger and fallacious attacks. A person’s folly is pointed out and pride rises and mixes with anger and embarrassment which makes for a volatile cocktail, indeed. When someone parroted the “don’t talk religion and politics” rule to G.K. Chesterton he laughed and said “That’s all I talk about.” This man always had support as he was a great journalist.
The proverbs also teaches that a fool will be thought wise if said fool keeps his mouth shut. The other side of that is the fool betraying his folly by his much speaking.
P.S. Please forgive any grammatical or punctuation errors. Thank you.