Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Golden Rule

"But how does the Golden Rule impact apologetic engagement? It applies in that believers need to treat nonbelievers the way they want to be treated. This includes treating other people’s beliefs, viewpoints, and arguments the way you want yours to be treated... It isn’t easy to always treat another person’s views with the same care and respect that you want afforded your own. And this is especially true when the person you are dialoguing with refuses to return the favor. But it is critical that Christian apologists strive for these invaluable intellectual virtues. When non-Christians become convinced that believers in Christ prize truth and intellectual honesty above all else, then the power of the Christian apologetic witness will be greatly energized." ~ Kenneth Samples

I think Mr. Samples has hit on a very important point that we Christians often forget. We feel that it is our duty to convince others that what we believe is correct and that they should believe it too. Certainly we should be prepared to give an answer for the hope that we have (I Peter 3:15). We should certainly strive to show why our beliefs are intellectually sound and not just superstition. We should certainly seek to help others understand the hope that we have for their sake. However, we cannot lose sight of the fact that how we conduct ourselves in a debate is just as important as what we say. We must make a genuine effort to respect the position of those we disagree with and not see it merely as something to be debunked. We must genuinely listen to their position and seek to understand the central points of their argument so that they know they are respected. We must not create straw men just so we can break them down or misquote an opposing viewpoint. As Mr. Samples says above, when others see that we value truth and the other individual more than proving we are right the witness shines like a city on a hill.

By His Grace,

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