20 October 2010

Here I go again...

The other night, I stopped at our local Goodwill to drop some things off.  I know that they sell books there, so I snuck over quick to see if they had anything.

I found a copy of a beloved childhood story book that I remember, and I thought it might be cool to read to my kids.

I also found a book by Greg Boyd, titled Letters From a Skeptic.

And then I fell flat on my face.  Not literally.  I would have preferred to fall literally, rather than how I did.  It started at the checkout counter, as the person behind the counter rang me up.

He looked at the Boyd book, and then at me.

"This book is not what you think it is."  he said.

"What do you mean?"  I asked.

"Well, this Greg Boyd, he's not a skeptic.  He's a believer."

"Well, I'm curious about the book."  I said.  Nothing more.

I didn't say that I knew Boyd was a believer.  I didn't say I was well aware of his religious position, and aware of how hard it was for him to come to such a position.

I negotiated for peace from my weakness when God told me to fight with His strength.

I didn't say that I myself was a believer in Christ.  I didn't say that I had heard Dr. Boyd speak at my church, and have been reading his blog and his other articles since then.  I didn't say that I found his perspective on things impressively well thought out and intelligent.

I whitewashed the walls of my tomb.

By the clerk's manner towards the book and me, I could tell he assumed I was a skeptic as well.  I didn't even correct him.

I washed my hands of this.

I did not water the mustard seed.

The clerk went on to explain that the entire book was basically Pascal's Wager, and that said wager was really more of an "ad hoc" argument that "isn't that good, as far as arguments go."

I didn't tell him that I agreed that Pascal's Wager is based on outmoded and older assumptions on the nature of God that we may not have today.  I didn't tell him either, that Dawkin's counter argument is based on the same outmoded religious model.

Neither did I tell him that Pascal's wager wasn't really an ad hoc argument, but was based in sound logic and reasoning.

Nor did I explain to him that the idea that a transcendent, supernatural deity could be explained by reason and logic alone was absurd.

I did not land on good soil.

I did not suggest to him, as I thought later, that perhaps a man of Boyd's obvious education and intelligence and background would probably not use said wager in convincing anyone of the validity of his beliefs.

Instead, what I did was go along with the clerk's assumptions about me and the book, not shedding any light on my views and beliefs.

I simply stood there, giving approval to the clerk's views without offering my own.

On the way home, a small voice inside my head talked to me.  "Hey you." it said, "Cock-a-doodle-do."
I'm pretty sure somewhere, there are rocks crying out praises to our Lord.

Who will save me from this body of death?



JustWonderin said...

I think you are too hard on yourself. At the checkout is not a good place to debate the merits of Pascal v Dawkins, or to develop the worldview of Boyd. And it's not too late to go back to Goodwill and invite the guy out for a Starbucks. Or a beer.

The Wingnut said...

I probably am being a little harsh. I know that the checkout line isn't the best venue for that sort of conversation. You are right, those conversations are best over an hour or two, sharing a drink or two, maybe even a meal.

But that's not the reason I shied away from saying anything, and that's why I feel so down.

I backed off, not because of improper timing, but because of cowardice.

I could have said, "I am a believer, and I enjoy Dr. Boyd's work, and I would really like to explain it to you, but perhaps now isn't the best time."

I could have said, "I am a believer, and you should not simply assume I am not because this book has the word skeptic in the title."

But instead I chickened out. I completely bailed, and that's why I feel so bad.


-Tim said...

I haven't been around your blog (or my own for that matter) for a months (and apparently neither have you) but I did want to chime in on this post, having just read it.

Thanks for writing it. I've found myself doing the exact same thing (in equivalent circumstances) and I always hurt when I realize it afterword. But I rarely do anything about it later, either. I too wash my hands, far too often.

So, I applaud you, sir. It takes courage even to write about this. And it gives all of us something to think about. Thank you.

The Wingnut said...

Thanks Tim!

The fact that I still do have at least one reader is encouraging.

Eventually, I will begin posting on a more regular schedule. In the meantime, I'm not quite convinced that I want to give up an hour of sleep in the morning to do so. 5 am comes early enough!