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Have You Listened To The Other Side?

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thinking questionDo you have strong religious beliefs and convictions? If so, great! But are you honest and well informed in your beliefs, or are you ignorantly (or worse, dishonestly) clinging to uninformed convictions?

See, it is one thing to have convictions. It is another thing to have confidence in your faith because you have weighed all the arguments and have diligently pursued the truth.

The easy thing to do is to only listen to people who agree with us. After all, considering criticism and opposing arguments requires intellectual bravery and critical thought. However, if we only listen to the arguments we want to hear, we will be vulnerable to groupthink and unable to answer the best arguments against our beliefs. If this happens, then we will be inadequate at being able to “make a defense” for the truth (1 Pet. 3:15-16).

Genuine, God-fearing faith is an intellectual pursuit of truth. God wants His children to be people who are reasonable in their beliefs (Isa. 1:8). Loving God means loving Him with all of one’s mind (Matt. 22:37). 

Why do you believe God exists? Why are you a Christian? Why do you attend that church? Why do you worship God that way? How do you know you are saved?  If your answer begins with, “Because I feel…” or, “Because my preacher…” or, “Because that’s how I was raised,” your answer is not good enough. 

It matters what you believe, and why you believe it

I believe what I believe because I have listened – and continue to listen – to the opposing arguments.

I believe in restoring New Testament Christianity – not Reformed theology or Calvinism – because I have listened to the other side’s arguments and compared them to Scripture. 

I believe that baptism is essential to salvation – that it is impossible to worship God with mechanical instruments in faith – that denominationalism is sinful – that the Holy Spirit does not lead us apart from Scripture – etcetera – because I have weighed the arguments and continue to study God’s Word.

To faithfully pursue God, we need to get in the habit of asking, “Have I listened to the other side’s arguments?” As Christians, we must be firmly dedicated to the truth. The truth will always prevail amid honest, critical examination.  

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One Response to Have You Listened To The Other Side?

  1. Robert Guinn February 25, 2014 at 11:01 AM #

    One of the most difficult things about listening to the other side is to do it in a way that still Christ-like. Reading the materials produced by others and weighing their arguments is a great way to keep oneself informed and growing in his or her faith. How about taking this to the next level? What does this look like in a face-to-face interaction? We have to listen carefully to what the other person is saying so we may know how to respond properly (Col. 4:6). Sometimes we can make the mistake of listening to respond rather than responding to what we have heard. We might not have an answer or be able respond immediately. There is nothing wrong with studying more and comparing notes. Just like when we read someone else’s material and weight their arguments. Great thoughts Ben!

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