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Archive for June 21st, 2012

GO TO PART 8

Point: Sometimes people give excuses for rejecting Christianity and the Church on faulty grounds.  A parable of dental care might expose some of the common excuses and it’s folly.

Parable: A trip to the dentists got me thinking.  This is kind of embarrassing to admit, but I have bad teeth.  Its been years since I’ve been to the dentist.  I finally went to have my teeth checked out.  Going to the dentist, they told me of all my problems–of what I have been doing wrong all these years.  They said I will lose several teeth and finally I asked, “Is there anyway to still save the rest of my teeth?”  The dentist said that he cannot save the rest of my teeth himself–but he would like to introduce to me an Oral Surgeon that can really get the job done.  Showing me the X-ray pictures, the dentist explained that it was not enough to save my teeth at this point by just brushing and flossing.  I need dental surgery.  The dentist also emphasized that even after oral surgery, I should make it a regular habit of regular dental care and going to the dentist to ensure that the great work the Oral Surgeon will be in vain.  I thought to myself, wow, what an illustration of the Gospel truth (our works is not enough to save us, the need for the work of THE Oral Surgeon like Christ to save us, works following what the Oral Surgeon has done, etc).  One can see the Oral Surgeon as Jesus, Christianity/”religion” as dental care, going to the dentist as church and dentist as Pastors, etc.  In that light, when the dentist finally asked me why I delayed all these years to finally go to the dentist, I realized I had no good excuse–and the folly of it if I were to try.

Question for the listener: What would you think, and how would you respond to the following excuses if someone were to use them as the grounds for rejecting the Oral Surgeon, dental care at large, etc?

  1. I was forced to go to the dentist as a child.
  2. I did not grow up with any dental care.
  3. I don’t like it when I go to the dentists and they say I need an Oral Surgeon.
  4. Dentists are so negative–they always talk about how bad other people’s teeth are.  People would be more welcoming to what they have to say if they would be more positive.
  5. I don’t feel like I need major oral surgery.
  6. I don’t see anything wrong with my teeth.
  7. I don’t feel pain in my teeth and my life is going well–so why do I need to have the Oral Surgeon that would bring more pain in my life?
  8. How do I know that the X-Ray pictures are real?
  9. People who make toothbrush, toothpaste and the whole dental business for that matter are only after your money.
  10. I’m okay–I brush my teeth and floss once in a while.
  11. I like to think on my own and be free–so I brush my teeth and go to the dentist whenever I feel like it.
  12. People who brush and floss their teeth are hypocrites—who do they think they are, to actually think their teeth are better than everybody else?!
  13. I don’t believe in organized dental service.
  14. What’s the point of taking care of my teeth if it’s going to get dirty anyways?
  15. There are so many different dentists out there–I don’t know which one to pick.
  16. I used to brush my teeth. It got boring, though, so I stopped.
  17. How about all those people who have never heard of the Oral Surgeon or met a dentist, what will happen to their teeth?
  18. None of my friends brush their teeth.
  19. The orthodontist’s office is never warm enough in the winter or cool enough in the summer.
  20. There is not a dental office near my area, so I don’t go.
  21. The dental office is too small.
  22. The dental office never called me back, so I stopped going after my first visit.
  23. I’ll start brushing when I get older and dirtier.
  24. I can’t spare the time.
  25. “I can’t come in today because I have a toothache!’” (Florida dentist)
  26. “’My tooth hurts too bad to get out of bed.’” (Florida dentist)
  27. Dentists are also humans.  Who are they to tell me how I can take care of my teeth?
  28. My teeth are better than some dentist’s teeth!
  29. I don’t know any dentist that can help me out since they never experienced the bad toothache that I have gone through.
  30. I don’t like going to the dental office because the people who work there–receptionists, X ray tech, etc– are so fake, always smiling their teeth and showing off like their teeth are perfect or something.
  31. I don’t go to the dental office anymore because there are so many people with bad teeth there.
  32. I know some people who had an oral surgery but their teeth are like everyone else.
  33. I don’t like seeing pictures of Oral surgey and bad teeth–they don’t engage the intellect but resort to scare tactic.

Having started this lists, I’m sure other objections could also be added!

POSSIBLE PRACTICAL EMPLOYMENT OF THIS ILLUSTRATION

Christian (C): So what led you to reject Christianity?

Non-Christian (NC): Well, many things.  I was a Christian at one time in my life, so I know what it’s about.  For starters, my parents were very religious and forced me to go to church as a child.  The preachers are church were always so negative–they always talk about how bad sins were in the sight of God and it turned me off.  I could go on and on about many other reasons!

C: If I were to suggest that I believe your reasons are inadequate basis for rejecting Christianity, would you be open at least to hear me out?

NC: Uh, okay.  But you probably won’t be able to change my mind.

C: Sure.  But at least I want you to at least consider that your basis for rejecting Christianity according to your own brief autobiographical account might not be as rational as you think.  You said that you were a Christian at one time and at least understood the Christian message.  You see, Christianity says we need Jesus Christ as the one who saves us from our sins.  In the Christian narrative,  sin is our biggest problem–it separates us from God!  So when you say that you don’t like negative preaching, you can’t rule out Christianity on the basis that there’s some bad news that comes along with it.  That’s like saying dentists are so negative–they always talk about how bad other people’s teeth are and why they need to see the Oral Surgeon.  By the way, do you regularly visit the dentists or brush your teeth?

NC: Of course I do.

C: I find it ironic that you were probably forced to do these things as a kid, and somehow you are still doing them.  I don’t think this really is the issue–it’s got to be something greater.  I just wonder what you think is the real reason why you reject Christianity, and want to hear you out a little more on this.  After this, I do want to also give the explanation that the Bible offer in accounting for unbelief….

GO TO PART 10

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