14 replies

  1. I don’t think one should ignore that presenting a message lovingly i.e. with kindness and indeed genuine care for that person can make the rational arguments for religion ever the more potent.

    Within what frame we use to understand the message will most likely determine how one expresses that to others and therefore how they comprehend it.


    • I agree. But I’ve noticed that much Christian preaching is very emotional, and the intellect is downgraded in favour of sentimental invitations rather than thoughtful and rational considerations.


    • Sadly this is true in my experience as well. Well meaning as it is i’m sure all that kind of approach ever truly gains is either converts who run out of steam in no time at all (seeds landing on the rock) or incredulity from skeptics.

      There needs to be balance between telling people what your ideas are and showing people what it means to believe them by acting in such and such a way.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I would recommend that you read the sermons of St. Francis de Sales. Very intelligent preaching.

      Liked by 1 person

    • So Allan would you say that the use of emotional arguments to try an convert people to Christianity are ineffective? This seems to be at the heart of Christian apologetics. Tim Keller eventhough he is certainly no intellectual slouch still cannot avoid the temptation to ‘love bomb’ people.


    • That’s a loaded question because human emotion is in every activity that we do. I’ve never heard anyone say: “If you become a Christian it feels good.” I was just stating that intelligent preaching is apparent throughout Christian history. St. Francis de Sales is only one example.


    • While it is true that human emotion factors into much of what we do (we’re not robots after all), should that mean we ‘love them into belief’? Its not so much that people say that becoming a Christian makes you feel good but rather that if you become a Christian you will achieve such and such success in this life as many evangelicals preach.

      Do you want to go to heaven? Believe in Jesus
      Do you want to find meaning and purpose in life? Jesus will give it to you.
      Do you want to live morally as opposed to being debauched? Follow Jesus’ teachings and he’ll get you there.

      Can you not understand that tugging on peoples heartstrings in order to convert people perverts the intellect and reduces religion to simplistic at best?

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree they are very good quality


  2. Here’s a great example of this intellectualism in action…



    • D, this is a shia practice of mourning the death of the Prophet’s grandson. Sunnis completely reject this this practice. Sunnis would see this as ‘un-intelligent’ as well.


  3. Note the two assistants turning to the congregation telling them to hit themselves on the head too.


  4. Indeed it is a terrible thing when con-men who while taking on the appearance of a virtuous man are in fact doing nothing more than indulging in their twisted power trip fantasy. There is no excuse for it whether they be a minister or imam.

    However i wonder whether or not such things are more easily done within Christianity due to it being so individualistic these days and therefore no longer truly learn together about religion but only follow their own interpretation (each one their own scholar) thereby not being able to exercise their ‘knowledge’ in the real world when confronted by such con-men. The Bible at one time was considered the ‘book of the church’ and like Jews and Muslims would have been primarily recited within the community and carefully interpreted in light of other learned people.


    • Patrice

      That’s an interesting point. I think that there are probably good and bad outcomes to having diversity of opinions and egalitarianism of interpretation.

      Overall, I would say that it is better to have egalitarianism in one’s relationship to our religions – after all despite there being diversity of opinions in christianity and perhaps even forms of worship, the foundational premises have and do remain constant.

      All we have to do is look at medieval europe and the monopoly that the church and its clergy had on the ability to read, interpret and determine doctrines. I probably don’t have to tell this crowd about the abuses stemming from this monopoly. This is how unscriptural traditions that do not abide by the spirit of revelation come about.

      We can even look at the ministry of jesus and see that he spoke against tradition and man-made doctrines. It is at the heart of christianity to break the monopoly of self-proclaimed experts and allow individuals to read and understand the holy book.

      I don’t view islam as a faith that encourages individuals in this way.


  5. I would agree in the need to recognise that as much as there is such a thing as ‘folk wisdom’, as much as there is also ‘folk folly’ to quote NT Wright. It is just as possible for people to lead one another to make great strides, however that can also end up going off a cliff as well.

    However I must object to your saying that such differences are still within the ‘mansion’ as C.S Lewis says due to the simple fact that it depends upon how one defines Christianity in the first place. Take for example the debate between James White and John Shelby Spong where both had very different understandings on what it means to be a Christian while both self identify as such. Spong even disbelieving in a personal God and the sufficiency of Scripture while White is both an Inerrantist and a defender of the Trinity and the Deity of Christ.

    John Henry Newman once observed the reality of this chasm and asked the question about authority stating that Scripture alone was insufficient due to the wide variety of interpretations that could and indeed do exist. The Church Fathers were also insufficient as an authority to interpret Scripture due to the fact that they are long gone and cannot speak on new issues. He had ended saying that the Church required a living voice of authority to act as a sort of referee ensuring the debates go on but to also make sure they are done within the rules of the game.

    This position has however certainly been abused by aforementioned con-men however I think one should not determine a philosophy by its abuse unless it is inherent within the ideology to do so. Like democracy its success depends on the collective intelligence and moral conscience of the voters (in my opinion) authority in religions success is only as good as those who are both noble and well learned. So I am uncertain as to which is best. You are right that Jesus condemned the false wisdom of the elders by appealing to Scripture, however doing so assumed that both were under its authority and would view it in the same way if spoken.

    This is not the case anymore as there are many Christians who deny its authority or are effectively cut off from its original meanings due to a lack of education within the Churches. The Qur’an while read within the Ummah cannot be simply interpreted by anyone but requires a level of education if they want to be taken seriously by anyone else. Sure people are free to make up their own private interpretation but who says that such influence anyone else?

    Liked by 1 person

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