Monday, February 8, 2010

How helpful are taxonomies of unbeleif

How helpful are books and materials that tell you 'what unbeleivers think'?
I really like books like Tim Kellers 'the reason for God', or some of alister mcgraths books, but I wonder if they make us jump to conclusions about people. Truth is, I don't really know what my non christian friends think, or why they think it. I know very very few people who fit one of the boxes neatly, who is genuinely influenced by liberal theology, who would happily accept jesus as a moral teacher, but not as God. In fact, my hunch is my unbeleiving friends probaly don't have coherent reasons for not beleiving. I'm sure some haven't really thought about it, and don't really want to.

My worry about the taxonomies is that they give us a gun and tempt us to pull the trigger too quickly, before we have actually listened to people. Even our assumption that people are not beleivers, often based on our observation that they dont go to our brand of church, may be completely wrong.
Hmm, dont know where I'm going with this

1 comment:

byron smith said...

Hmm, dont know where I'm going with this

Listen? Pay attention to what people actually think? These are good places to go. And I agree with you about the incoherence of most people's beliefs. What might be a more interesting question is whether it is more fruitful to highlight such inconsistencies in order to shame people into conversion (I remember Francis Schaeffer advocating this approach, and talking about tearing away people's umbrella of protection by highlighting just how silly and inconsistent their beliefs are in order to force a moment of crisis in which conversion might occur) or whether a it might be better gently and gradually to model and commend the coherence of a life of faith, hope and love.