It continues to irritate and concern me when I hear or read the sloppy arguments that critics level at the Church. Take the recent Gleaner Editors Forum (Jamaica) as reported in the Sunday Gleaner of April 24, 2016.
The report opened thus “Faced with charges that the moral decay in society and the level of murders reflect the failure of Jamaica’s Christian community…”
For crying out loud, what is the logical causal or contributory connection between the Church and moral decay and murders in our society?
Would any organisation escape ridicule for idiocy after convening a meeting of lawyers and medical doctors and there charge them with failure in light of increased crime and the rampancy of diseases/illnesses in Jamaica? Like seriously?
There is no logical causative connection between Churches and the negative moral state of a society just like there is no causal nexus between doctors and illnesses in society nor between lawyers and crime. Forgetting lawyers for the time being since they are normally consulted after the fact, doctors like Churches can only prescribe remedies for maladies but people have to take the medicine to get well. Blame the patients and their response to the medicine not the prescribing doctor or church. Sloppy thinking.
Whatever else Church folk see Jesus as it is very unlikely that many if any would readily think of Jesus as being a model in critical thinking. Not because Church folk do not like to think too much, though that is true in part but it is just that critical thinking is not appreciated as a spiritual enterprise hence that side of Jesus is not well known or appreciated.
Sloppy thinking is, in my view, an impediment in understanding the truths of Scripture and is a major factor why some people do not appreciate some of the truth claims of Christianity.
In the gospel of Luke Jesus questions and rebukes sloppy thinking in two incidents that he cites.
Incident # 1 – Lk. 13.1, At the opportune moment when Jesus was teaching about interpreting the times (Lk. 12. 54-56), some folk came along and told him about people from Galilee who were slaughtered at the command of the governmental agent, Procurator Pontius Pilate, while they were sacrificing animals in worship in Jerusalem.
The persons who related this tragedy possibly thought that Jesus would use their story as a sign in line with what he was just teaching about but Jesus turned the tables on them and the others.
Jesus asks a tough question which challenges the sloppy line of reasoning that was forming in many minds concerning the tragedy involving the Galileans. “Do you think these Galileans who were slaughtered were worse sinners than all other Galileans, [you here included]? No, they were not worse sinners! Hear me well unless you all repent [resolutely turn your back on sin and head in the path of right living before God] you too will all perish.”
Don’t misread and misunderstand the words “you will all likewise perish” in v.3 as meaning you will die by slaughter like them. No the force is you too, you also, will perish unless you repent. No false sense of personal security because of your sloppy thinking about people’s spiritual status based on the mishaps in their lives.
Incident # 2 – Lk. 13.4, another story unique to Luke’s gospel, 18 persons killed in the natural disaster of the toppled tower in Siloam. “Do you think they were more guilty and deserving of punishment than all other Jerusalemites, [you here included]?”
“No, they were not more deserving of punishment than all other Jerusalemites, [you here included]! Hear me well unless you all repent [resolutely turn your back on sin and head in the path of right living before God] you too will all perish.”
Jesus’ challenge was a shocker to his hearers because people too easily indulge sloppy thinking in both private and public dialogue.
Let us all determine to think critically and logically before we open our mouths or engage one another in dialogue. The Gleaner Editors Forum needs better content planning.