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Archive for August 30th, 2012

GO TO PART 9

Note: This illustration presupposes the framework of the dental analogy established previously in #9, and to set up the framework some of the contents there are repeated here.

Point: Sometimes people give excuses for rejecting Christianity and the Church on faulty grounds.  Sometimes people can bring in news story of abuses and bad practices, leaders as the ground for rejecting Christianity as a whole.  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: But let’s say I suddenly thought of an excuse why I did not wanted anything to do with dental care.  What would you think, and how would you respond to the following excuses if I or someone else were to use a recent news article  reproduced below as the grounds for rejecting the Oral Surgeon, dental care at large, etc?

Man sues orthodontist for leaving braces on 11 years

A 22-year-old Oregon man has sued an orthodontist for leaving his braces on for 11 years, resulting in straight but rotten teeth, The Oregonian newspaper reports.

Devin Bost, of Portland, claims he suffered serious tooth decay and periodontal disease from having worn braces from ages 7 to 18 while he lived in Eugene, Ore. Two to three years is normal for braces.

Some of Bost’s teeth will need to be replaced with implants, but others cannot be because they have rotted to the jaw, said his attorney, David Hollander.

The lawsuit states that Bost, whose mother is a medical doctor, “received an urgent phone call” in June 2008 from orthodontist Brad Chvatal’s office “that he needed to have the braces removed immediately.”

The paper writes, “As for how Bost could spend most of elementary school and all of middle school and high school years with braces, Hollander is still trying to sort the details out.”

“We aren’t really sure what happened,” he said.

Bost is seeking $185,000 — $35,ooo for dental bills and $15,000 for pain and suffering.

Chvatal told The Oregonian he could not have treated Bost until 2002, when he was licensed as an orthodontist. He has been licensed with the Oregon Board of Dentistry since 1997. He declined to comment on the case, citing patient privacy laws.

The president of the American Association of Orthodontiststold ABC News that it was “extremely unusual” for somebody to wear braces for 11 years and that he “could not think of an instance where that would be the case.”

In the same matter, what are we think of the same train of thought that rule out Christianity on the basis of bad religious or Christian leaders in the news?

POSSIBLE PRACTICAL EMPLOYMENT OF THIS ILLUSTRATION

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

Non-Christian (NC): Well, many things.  I find that religion in general is evil.  For instance, did you hear on the news about the latest atrocity by religious leaders?

C: I’m listening.

NC: Where there’s _________ and then there’s also ________.  Don’t forget about the history of the church.  Think the crusades, inquisitions, etc.

C: If I may respond, I think this is rather problematic in rejecting the message of the Bible itself.  Or the Christian gospel, which I hope I get to explain in a little bit.  Have you ever had dental care before or seen an orthodontists?

NC: Yes.

C: What if I told you that you should not go to any orthodontists at all, or forget about the whole dental care business altogether because I saw this really bad news of an orthodontist that messed people’s teeth up instead?  <Show news story>  Or did you hear about the oral surgeonthat was a rapist?  I could go on and on but I think you get my point.  Do you think it’s still rational to go to the dentist or see an oral surgeon in general?

NC: Yes.

C: Why?  I believe the same argument you give will be the same I give as well in defense of Christianity.  The excuse is not good enough.

 

GO TO PART 11

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