I spend a lot of time thinking about why I think the way that I do. It is fascinating to me that my pattern of thought did not originate with me. It has changed the older I’ve gotten, and it has changed the more I’ve listened to other voices and other patterns of thinking. My whole life I have been learning how to think! If I had read other things, watched other movies, listened to other music, had different parents, gone to a different school, I would, in some ways, be a very different person. The raw material of me would be the same but the shape that was formed from that material would be essentially different. It is an intriguing concept to say the least. I also know that in a few weeks, months, years, I may not think, or feel as I do now! In the past couple of years I have come across systems of thought that have radically altered the very way my mind works namely Calvinism, and the Prayer Movement.
I heard a man say once something along the lines of, “Listen to one voice and you will be a clone, listen to two or three voices and you will be confused, listen to many voices and you will find a voice that is your own.” I believe that. I am always searching for new voices; not because I want to become like them, but because I want to know where I stand and where I do not.
This whole spin of thought and this blog post come from listening to a historical perspective on the idea of life. What is the “spark of life”? What is the difference between something that is alive and something that is dead. These historians were not trying to find out the answer to the question they were merely talking a long look at the history of ideas about the question. I was amazed at the things people believed and often because of their Christian faith. When their ideas about these things were disproved people were angry and upset or in despair and many abandoned their faith! How foolish it seems to me to abandon your faith just because it’s been proved that frogs do not spontaneously generate out of the mud!
As always I tried to point this kind of thinking at myself. What ideas / theories / theological imperatives do I have about, life, God, or existence that if they were disproved would shake my faith and threaten my relationship with God? I call the actions of my predecessors foolish but are they not just like me?
Honestly as I ponder this more I realize that all of the things they believed that caused them to be on shaky ground were extra-biblical. They were not from the Bible. They were superstitions or conjecture but not there in the scriptures themselves. We must get back to the Bible and ground ourselves in scripture! It protects us from so much error! Oh God THANK YOU for the gift of your Word!
So I said all that to say that I love history. It reveals the blind spots of our current age and protects us from the errors of the past, but only if we know it!