Intent Precedes Content...
Running this blog has been a great joy to me. During the past months I have been able to dig in and research the different aspects of Christianity, as well as tackle some of the different types of evidence across the board in various scientific fields. One of the things I have noticed quite a bit recently, as I have been browsing back over some of the comments that people have been posting to my articles; is the notion that if someone has truly made up their mind already, there is no changing it.
Take a simple example to begin with. Lets say that I grew up in a household that venerated the tradition of eating pizza every Friday night, no matter what. Throughout my early childhood and even up into my teens, I rarely missed a Friday night pizza dinner. It was a good opportunity for my parents to take a break from cooking, and we all really like the pizza place down the road. But later in life I began to increase my sphere of knowledge, and was introduced to the idea that there was something better out there than pizza... that there was such a thing as Peking Duck (don't worry this is just an example. I haven't lost my mind and abandoned pizza!). And not only was Peking Duck available at numerous restaurants around town, but that I could eat it whenever I needed to, not just on Fridays!
Sound silly? I think this is close to what happens when people refuse to listen to God's "still, small" voice. They do not follow the evidence, the history, or the witness of others to their logical end. Sure we can have different views on how to interpret the evidence, even among Christians there are disagreements. But the issue runs deeper than this. In this sense, Intent can come prior to Content. If I don't allow God at the outset, then guess what? There is no room for God within the construct or paradigm of how I interpret the evidence. I am finished before I even begin. I have decided not only to avoid Peking Duck altogether, but I won't even drive past the Chinese restaurant.
Now this can work both ways of course. Couldn't someone presume the supernatural where it doesn't exist? This is what makes new converts to "religion" so interesting. They haven't had the bias of growing up Catholic, or Baptist, or whatever. They have come to believe based on their own understanding of the arguments. In a sense, they have "earned their stripes" in the school of independent study. We should admire this determination. Because if you are going to believe in something, you should know why. Are you certain that God doesn't exist? Or are you simply driving past the restaurant, without even stopping?