Recently, a friend and I were at a local book and coffee shop talking about our faith. We both tend toward what I think of as having an “evolving faith.” That is, one which is both willing to question the traditions of the Church and also to incorporate other perspectives.
We talked about the value of various faiths, the importance of new information and a variety of other topics that aren’t welcomed in as many churches as they should be.
They are the kind of things that are ultimately seen as a threat to “faith” because in the traditional point of view, “faith” requires a leap of “trust.”
Said differently, in a large proportion of Christianity, “faith” requires a leap of logic or, at the very least, the ignoring of it.
During our conversation I noticed a guy who stayed fairly close by for quite some time as he perused the books. Eventually, he came over and politely apologized for overhearing the conversation (in the small room, he really had no choice but to hear it) and asked if we’d mind if he joined us.
Of course, we said, “yes” and at that point the conversation really took a turn.
My friend and I were no longer opening new horizons for our personal faiths, we were defending them.
At first I really wasn’t sure what we were defending them from.
He wasn’t being very straight forward. It was nearly impossible to tell if our new conversation partner was trying to gently steer us toward fundamentalist Christianity or the Islamic equivalent. But, ultimately, it was toward Christianity.
He spoke of how the Jesus in the Q’uran and Jesus in the Bible were very different characters and, therefore, weren’t actually the same person.
Honestly, it was wonderful to be able to respond in a knowledgeable way. Having read the Q’uran, I was able to respond in an informed manner. So, II also pointed out ideas like how the Jesus in Matthew and the Jesus in John could easily be seen as different Jesus’ using his logic.
It’s good to be well informed.
And that’s the point of this post.
There was a point in the conversation at which I realized how astoundingly uninformed I was about certain things. Important things. I mean, I had at some point reviewed the informations needed. I was personally convinced by it and had built my belief system upon it as a reality.
But when what I knew was challenged with differing “facts,” I wasn’t able to do much more than say, “Well, that’s not what I learned.”
Friends, “that’s not what I learned,” is not a valid point in a discussion unless the point of the discussion is to define how we have learned different things.
It’s important to be well informed.
The issue at hand was evolution. (How ironic is it that my friend and I were having a discussion about evolving faith and I come up short on the question of evolution?)
Our new conversation partner was denying that there had been any clear evidence over the long term for evolution.
Now, I knew that there was evidence. I had studied it. I had considered it. I had come to my conclusions about it. I had incorporated it into my perspective.
I had forgotten it.
So my response was, “Well, that’s not what I learned.”
It’s a lesson in the importance of staying informed. It is simply not good enough to know that you know. We need to continually make sure we know why we know.
With that in mind, I’d like to share with you a little refresher course in evolution.
Stay informed my friends.