THE TRUTH DIALOGUES: Episode 1

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“Sir, you are on record of saying that one cannot be a good American and a good Christian, and that one must choose one or the other. Is that true?”

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“Well, I never said that. I said something some may think is related to your incorrect characterization, but not according to those terms.”

“What did you say?”

“I said there are times when a Christian must choose their Christianity over the desires of their ruling authorities.”

“But what does that mean exactly?”

“It means the same thing that Peter and John meant when they said real believers must choose the Lord’s will and preach the real Gospel instead of obeying opposing authorities.”

But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.” And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened… [Acts 4:15-21] [1]

“Why would you use that passage? I don’t understand your reasoning or the application of that case in this discussion. We have complete freedom of religion in this country. How does Peter and John’s quote apply here?”

“Do we really have complete freedom of religion in this country?”

“According to the Constitution of the United States we do.”

“But is the Constitution actually being applied to uphold the beliefs and values of Christians? And for that matter, is the Bill of Rights actually allowed expression in churches? If Constitutional rights are not allowed in churches and if governments can bypass the Constitution as well, then where is legally-granted spiritual liberty actually allowed? Don’t we have reams of recent data in the political realm over the last few decades in which it is obvious that Christian beliefs are being attacked or at least not being supported as they should be, and that Constitutional support for freedom of religion is only being applied selectively, usually against Christianity but in favor of other religions and beliefs?”

“I am not sure what you are referring to unless you mean segments of far right Christianity or even forms of Christianity which the majority of Christians are against.”

“So, by characterizing those forms of Christianity under attack in America you agree that it is okay to violate the Constitutional rights of those particular Christians?”

“No, I do not mean that. I mean that some forms of Christianity are not supported by Scripture.”

“But who makes that decision? Where is the grand tribunal that decides such things? Who is the final arbiter of what constitutes the actual correct interpretation of Christianity? And who gets to decide which Christians have no rights and which Christians do? Should not all Christian individuals and groups have the same exact right to freely believe in and practice what the members thereof believe to be correct? Isn’t that what freedom of religion actually entails?”

“Although there is no great Christian Law Court which decides which form of Christianity is correct, I think that Christians themselves usually decide who is right by the sheer numbers believing in particular interpretations.”

“You mean the bigger the denomination or church the more likely it is right?”

“Not exactly, but it would appear that, if all Christians read the same Bible, that majority groups would appear to have the best grasp of what the Bible actually states.”

“So you are saying that one of the true tests of correct interpretation is that a majority must prevail and that Christian minority opinions and interpretations do not hold as much weight regarding their beliefs and should therefore not be granted the same degree of rights to protect their beliefs and practices?”

“Technically, the Constitution protects all Christian individuals and groups, even minorities. But when the large majority Christian bodies reject such minorities, it must mean something significant.”

“Is the something significant fair? Is it just? Is it legal? Is it supported by the Lord? Is the coming together of large bodies against the smaller bodies proof that the larger bodies are more correct in their beliefs? Or is it simply the case that the larger bodies are more powerful, influential, and therefore prejudicial?”

“How is it even possible that the larger bodies could be more prejudicial? Isn’t it obvious that the larger the Christian body the more likely such a body is scripturally correct? And doesn’t this then justify any partiality or bias it may possess against smaller Christian offshoots?”

“Do you hear what you are saying? You are stating that might makes right. I am not here defending non-Scriptural Christian beliefs though I will always side with the truth regardless of church or denomination size. Not only that, but freedom of religion is most directly applied to individuals, and must be. Your original query involved the question of whether or not a Christian must sometimes make a choice between his or her beliefs and authority figures who oppose his or her beliefs, and whether such authority figures, either religious or secular, including one’s prevailing government, can be allowed to censor and hinder the beliefs and practices of Christians. I never said a Christian must choose between his beliefs and his country, as you have implied.”

“But are not those two the same? Is not the government of a country essentially and effectively the same as one’s country?”

“Okay. I know you’re playing dumb here for the sake of argument or whatever, and you are trying to get me to say something in such a way that you can twist for your own purposes.”

“I’m not saying that at all. I understand perfectly well the difference between one’s country and one’s current government, but one’s current government in free countries who vote for their leaders is placed in power by the people who vote which means the government reflects the will of the people, which means one’s current government is essentially the same as one’s country at any given time, right?”

“No. Wrong. You could not be more wrong and I don’t believe you are shooting straight with me at all because that’s an asinine argument. One’s country is one’s country. It has in many cases existed a long time, often centuries, and is an entity completely separate from any government of that country which exists at any given time in its history. Also, people change. People become corrupt. Sometimes, if not most times, the corruption begins very small and escapes detection. The corrupt, through inside influence based on money and power, get away with things and continue in their corruption. When no one notices the corruption or no one successfully rises up to stop the corruption in its early stages it metastasizes and eventually grows to a place in which it cannot be stopped. But the corruption does not exist in a vacuum. It exists in the hearts of people. If the corruption, the evil, is not dealt with by the good, then the corruption prevails. We have seen this happen in many countries, in that a small cabal of corrupt ones masquerading as good guys deceives the people into believing in them and supporting them. Entire countries have thus become corrupted merely by deceiving the majority. The same thing happens in churches and denominations. So no, majority opinion means absolutely nothing as an arbiter of truth.”

“Though I don’t necessarily agree with all you are saying, you have brought up some very interesting points about how Christians must live out their faith in this changing world. Would you care to continue this dialogue in another segment soon?”

“Sure.”

“Okay. Thank you.”

© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. 


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

THE TRUTH DIALOGUES: Episode 2

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Posted on December 1, 2017, in Current Events and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. What’s unfolding in our own country is ominous. Thank you for helping us, encouraging us to prepare.

    Like

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