I often hear people say to me, “ They say ... [fill in any informational statement]. They say you shouldn’t swim for 30 minutes after eating. They say you should only buy alkaline batteries. They say you must always use a debit card at a gas pump. They say.... blah, blah, blah. I don’t know who “they” are. I always ask for their phone number but as yet I have never gotten one. I want to talk with “they.” I really do. But it seems “they” don’t have a phone or an email address. You see, “they” are “them.” Those people out there who tell you something they heard from somebody, who heard it from someone that no one knows but everyone believes. It is like a verbal chain letter. It must be true I saw it on the internet, too!
I really think its just easy believe-ism. It’s true-ish. This type of information used to be called an old wive’s tale. My grandmother had lots of them. “Don’t let that cat near the baby. It will suck its breath away” and things like that. They seem funny now. But it was good old fashioned wisdom back in its day. I might blame Madison Avenue. Advertising and media has assimilated the brains of society and now whatever is said is believed to be true. Well, at least the part they want to believe. News is taken as truth rather than the story it really is as reported. Fact checking and due diligence sorely lacking.
As a professor it amazed me at the lack of depth and the superficial effort made by students. Do I really have to tell you that Wikipedia isn’t an academic resource or Snopes is not an authority on anything? That you cannot just say whatever you want but have to substantiate what you write by citing your research. Politicians and government have intentionally propagated this trend. If you say it often enough... it becomes true... NOT!
Weak theology comes from lazy Christianity. Oh your pastor said it... it must be true then. Nah, you don’t need to look it up yourself. Well, let’s hope the pastor did his diligence and hasn’t made a mistake. You fellow believer, are still going to need to open your Bible and check what was said and what you are saying. After all, God helps those who help themselves! (It’s not in there!) If you don’t work ... you don’t eat.... (it IS in there). Just because you grew up believing something it doesn’t mean you were taught it correctly or that maybe you remember it correctly or that you are interpreting it correctly. Dig in, explore, research and verify. You just might be blessed with a fresh take from the Holy Spirit. You know what “they” say... unless your one of those people!
We live in a world where unfortunately the distinction between true and false appears to become increasingly blurred by the manipulation of facts, by the exploitation of uncritical minds, and by the pollution of the language.
I have a saying... "You are the only Bible some people will ever read!" What are you communicating to those you meet? I have seen teeshirts that send a message that the person wearing it is a Christian but the way they were acting I wanted to ask them to change their shirt. How about the person who has the Ichthus on the car. You know that little plastic fish symbol. Then they drive in a manner that is well, unchristian. Makes you want to follow them and scrape that thing off. But THAT wouldn't be very Christian. If you are going to talk the talk... you have to walk the walk. If you can't do that PLEASE stop saying your a Christian. At least stop advertising that you are a Christ-follower. It's embarrassing and makes it that much harder to win someone to Christ that you have encountered and left a bad impression of what it is to be "Christian." The Bible has a few to things to say about this. One that comes immediately to mind is "Love others like you love yourself" Mark 12:31. Another is "Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another" in John 13:35. Words are powerful. What you say and how you say it carries tremendous power. You can do good or you can do harm. James 3:5,6 says, " So too the tongue is a small part of the body, yet it has great pretensions. Think how small a flame sets a huge forest ablaze. 6 And the tongue is a fire!" So remember as you are out in the community, at a store, in a restaurant, or just walking down the street. "Therefore [you] we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea through [you] us. We plead with you on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God!” 21 God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God. ...Amen?