Saturday, November 8, 2008

On Being Polite

So, my husband and I were at this party today. He had been making small talk with another guy (also a homeschool dad) at the party for quite sometime when the fateful question came: "Where do you work?"

My husband gave the guy our standard vague answer: "I work at a science apologetics ministry where we look at the latest scientific discoveries and how they harmonize with the Bible." Almost immediately, this guy starts talking about the supposed "human" and dinosaur footprints in the Paluxy riverbed.

Why is it that so many Christians know about this bogus science, but haven't heard of Reasons To Believe?

This is the point in the conversation where I wanted to crawl under a rock. I didn't feel like getting into a debate. We were at our kids' soccer party.

Some things are just better left unsaid...


havoc said...

"Some things are just better left unsaid... "

I think about this a lot. When we leave those things unsaid, we leave others in error. Sometimes we leave them in life-threatening error.

Likewise, sometimes I find out that I've held a wrong idea for many years. When I discover the truth, I feel joy and liberation (because it's always liberating to be free from a lie)! Joy is incomplete until it has been shared (Piper), and I want to tell people about my newfound freedom from ignorance. Many times I get the response, "Well, yeah. I have been wondering for years when you were going to figure that out."

Stunned silence.

You had the key to a door in my prison of ignorance, and you decided that "Some things are just better left unsaid!" You left me wallowing in ignorance while you knew my freedom! You decided that a safe, comfortable, meaningless conversation was better than taking a risk and showing me light?!

What's wrong with you!


But, I guess everyone doesn't see it that way.

Child of God said...

I guess I don't see it that way. Sometimes it isn't the appropriate time or place to have a controversial conversation of that nature. Plus, I have found it's far more effective in the long run if I try to build some kind of relationship with the person first. They are generally much more open to input as opposed to someone I just met at the punch bowl of a party. And part of it, quite frankly, is a judgment call. Either way, God is still in control. If He really wants us to talk to this guy about these issues, I honestly believe that an appropriate opportunity will present itself. That's just how I see it.

Rusty said...

I ran into the same types of responses when I gave an adult class on Evolution & Creation, at my church. It seems to me (and this may be too much of a generalization) that many YEC tend to put heavy emphasis on the "one-off" or anomalous events rather than focusing on the trends. Human footprints alongside dinos in one location; discordant radiometric dating results; light created in transit; etc.

It's difficult to present a rational argument when the other person thinks all they need is one aberrant piece of evidence to use in response.

ty said...

Actual Conversation....

me: "I do some work at a Christian ministry that shows how the most recent scientific discoveries provide powerful evidence for the God of the Bible"

fellow christian: "Oh I think that's just so great. I heard that if poisonous snakes are placed in a humid environment, which is like the warm vapor canopy before the flood, then they no longer are poisonous. Doesn't that explain so much!?... I mean, isn't that neat..?!"

me: "why, yes... that sure is interesting"
(this is where i quickly and kindly redirect the conversation).

Kevin N said...

As an old-Earth scientist who taught in Christian schools for seven years, I often ran into the same thing. I am a diplomatic person by nature, so often just politely nodded my head when someone talked about young-Earth creationism. I agree, however, with the first comment: keeping silent allows others to stay in error.

I did manage to teach from an old-Earth perspective in school, but had to do it with a lot of tact and diplomacy.

I recently attended a young-Earth seminar at a local church, and I did confront (lovingly) the speaker during breaks regarding things like dinosaur footprints. I wrote about this here.

Anonymous said...

Kevin, I checked out your blog and have added it to my list on the right. May God guide you on your job search.