Unless you’re living in a vacuum, I’m sure you’ve noticed that on many major issues of our time, the people of our society are greatly divided. This division in thinking and ideology seems to be widening by the minute these days. But why?
At times, we seem to have the same chance of closing the gap between sharply contested topics like homosexual marriage and abortion as Evel Knievel had jumping the Snake River Canyon in his Skycycle X-2. (If you weren’t around in 1974, Evel Knievel didn’t come close to making it.) There are a lot of good people trying to have conversations to close the gap, of which I’m in favor, but the canyon between us seems to be widening ever further.
The differences of opinions and reasoning behind stances on such hot topics like same-sex marriage can become complicated quickly, but the reason for the chasm between the opinions of such an issue is actually quite simple:
The source of our information. Our starting point.
So much of the gap between the sides of the conversation, or at times the debate, is because we are working through completely different lenses of thinking. If the foundation and framework of our thinking is different, our conclusions can never be the same.
It’s seems so much of the debate ends up with the calling of people with opposing views evil or to have ill-intent. I don’t think that’s the case. At least, not all the time.
So, can we bridge the gap, or, at least bridge it enough to have a conversation?
Since the audience of my writing is primarily Christian, I think it’s a good idea that I begin with us.
Do I think Christians should change the framework of our thinking? Heavens no! But, it may be that we need to change the way we have the conversation. (Before you come to some conclusion that I’m going to suggest we water down truth keep reading).
You see, so many engaged in public debate over these issues seem to think yelling the position they hold louder, or in a more provocative or inflammatory way, will win the argument. But, that’s actually not possible. It only widens the gap between us. Christians on street corners holding signs and screaming that marriage should be between and man and woman or that abortion is murder, isn’t going to change the minds of those who don’t view marriage or abortion the way Christians do.
How do I know? Because all the picketing and yelling about people’s rights to marriage or the woman’s right to choose does absolutely nothing to change my mind. My thinking is resolute.
So, where do we begin?
First, let’s talk about the best place to not begin. With everyone’s feelings.
If we can’t speak objectively, we can never come to a conclusion worth having. We have to have some kind of source for truth and my feelings or your feelings are not a reliable foundation for that. They never can be. They’re subjective.
Christian, if you and I are going to have a conversation worth having with those who may not believe the way we do, we can’t begin with our feelings either. We must begin with the objective truth as it’s been given. And, it has been given!
When it comes to any conversation of truth or seeking truth, the Apostle Paul gives some incite on where we should begin; at our foundation:
that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men. (1 Corinthians 2:5)
But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. (1 Corinthians 2:7)
Tim Keller does a great job in explaining that the “secret” wisdom that Paul is speaking about is not something that’s kept from man.
In the Bible, this word is used to mean not some esoteric knowledge known only to insiders but rather some wondrous, unlooked-for truth that God is revealing through his Spirit.
My conclusions on these difficult topics do not come from how I feel or whether or not I want someone to be able to live out their rights. It comes from questions like these:
Why are we here? Were we created? Do we have purpose? In searching within the truth for these answers we find the foundations that answer so many more questions.
Christian, don’t just know what you believe, know why. Search the truth of the Word and let God, through the wisdom of His Word, found and shape your thinking. It will be through Christians knowing why, that the chasm between the sacred and the secular will narrow through real, profitable conversation.