“Then the messenger who went to summon Micaiah spoke to him saying, ‘Behold now, the words of the prophets are uniformly favorable to the king. Please let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.’ But Micaiah said, ‘As the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I will speak’” (2 Kings 22:13,14).
We Couldn’t Be the Only Ones Right The truck arrives every other Monday to pick up recyclables. Yet, sometimes a a husband and wife have difficulty remembering whether it was the Monday one week, or two weeks, ago that they had last set out them out. If they fail to put them out when they should, they will miss the truck and have to wait another two weeks, which might bring their bins to overflowing. Yet, putting them out on the wrong day will not only make unnecessary work for them but might also subject them to the ridicule of their neighbors. So, they resolve this difficulty with a simple solution: they check to see if their neighbors have put out their recycling. The wife expressed the rationale behind this with the words: “We couldn’t be the only ones right.” Indeed, her reasoning is logical. It is unlikely that, out of so many families living on their street, they would be the only ones who remembered. Therefore, it is reasonable for them to rely on the actions of their neighbors as a cue as to what they should do. If their neighbors have their recycling bins at the curb on a Monday morning, then they should assume that it is “recycling Monday.” In short, they can safely depend upon their peers as a reliable indicator as to the correct action to take in this matter. Now, someone might ask, “Why can’t that same reasoning be applied to religion in order to determine what is right there?” The first answer is that it is! In fact, this might well be the primary reason people believe what they believe, whether in religion or other matters. However, there are two related reasons why it would be wrong to apply this reasoning to religion. The first has to do with people’s perceptions of the repercussions of a bad choice. The average person probably thinks that it does not matter, or that it is virtually inconsequential, whether a person gets it right in religion. He thinks that he will be saved in his religion even if he gets it wrong , as long as he is sincere in his belief, and perhaps even if he is not. The problem with this is that it is born of wishful thinking. Indeed, it is selfish thinking! People would like to believe that it does not matter whether what they believe is right because that relieves them of the need to get it right by relieving them of the consequences of getting it wrong. Of course, this also relieves them of the incentive to get it right. The other problem is that the Bible itself plainly does not support this view. When Jesus was asked, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” He answered, “Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Lk. 13:23,24). That answer sounds like a “yes.” The second reason why the idea that religious truth is not determinable by the majority is that there is no immediate feedback to tell those who get it wrong that they are wrong. Again, then, there is no incentive to be sure to get it right. There is no obvious correlation between Bible interpretation and the interpreter’s quality of life. In other words, his “recycling bin” does not overflow nor do his neighbors laugh at him. Recyclers can depend on one another to tell each other when the recycling truck comes because, unlike religionists, they have no incentive to be wrong! It just doesn’t work that way in religion, because God wants people to get it right, not because they see it is in their evident physical self-interest, but because they trust what He says. Micaiah was outnumbered 400 to 1, but he was the one who got it right!
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We Couldn’t Be the Only Ones Right The truck arrives every other Monday to pick up recyclables. Yet, sometimes a husband and wife have difficulty remembering whether it was the Monday one week, or two weeks, ago that they had last set out them out. If they fail to put them out when they should, they will miss the truck and have to wait another two weeks, which might bring their bins to overflowing. Yet, putting them out on the wrong day will not only make unnecessary work for them but might also subject them to the ridicule of their neighbors. So, they resolve this difficulty with a simple solution: they check to see if their neighbors have put out their recycling. The wife expressed the rationale behind this with the words: “We couldn’t be the only ones right.” Indeed, her reasoning is logical. It is unlikely that, out of so many families living on their street, they would be the only ones who remembered. Therefore, it is reasonable for them to rely on the actions of their neighbors as a cue as to what they should do. If their neighbors have their recycling bins at the curb on a Monday morning, then they should assume that it is “recycling Monday.” In short, they can safely depend upon their peers as a reliable indicator as to the correct action to take in this matter. Now, someone might ask, “Why can’t that same reasoning be applied to religion in order to determine what is right there?” The first answer is that it is! In fact, this might well be the primary reason people believe what they believe, whether in religion or other matters. However, there are two related reasons why it would be wrong to apply this reasoning to religion. The first has to do with people’s perceptions of the repercussions of a bad choice. The average person probably thinks that it does not matter, or that it is virtually inconsequential, whether a person gets it right in religion. He thinks that he will be saved in his religion even if he gets it wrong , as long as he is sincere in his belief, and perhaps even if he is not. The problem with this is that it is born of wishful thinking. Indeed, it is selfish thinking! People would like to believe that it does not matter whether what they believe is right because that relieves them of the need to get it right by relieving them of the consequences of getting it wrong. Of course, this also relieves them of the incentive to get it right. The other problem is that the Bible itself plainly does not support this view. When Jesus was asked, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” He answered, “Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Lk. 13:23,24). That answer sounds like a “yes.” The second reason why the idea that religious truth is not determinable by the majority is that there is no immediate feedback to tell those who get it wrong that they are wrong. Again, then, there is no incentive to be sure to get it right. There is no obvious correlation between Bible interpretation and the interpreter’s quality of life. In other words, his “recycling bin” does not overflow nor do his neighbors laugh at him. Recyclers can depend on one another to tell each other when the recycling truck comes because, unlike religionists, they have no incentive to be wrong! It just doesn’t work that way in religion, because God wants people to get it right, not because they see it is in their evident physical self-interest, but because they trust what He says. Micaiah was outnumbered 400 to 1, but he was the one who got it right!
image attribution: <div>Icons made by <a href="https://www.freepik.com" title="Freepik">Freepik< /a>from <a href="https://www.flaticon.com/" title="Flaticon">www.flaticon.com</a></div>
“Then the messenger who went to summon Micaiah spoke to him saying, ‘Behold now, the words of the prophets are uniformly favorable to the king. Please let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.’ But Micaiah said, ‘As the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I will speak’” (2 Kings 22:13,14).
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