Unequally Matched

Why Isn't the Media Inviting Thoughtful Christians?


Writing for the Washington Post in 1993, journalist Michael Weisskopf had the temerity to say that "followers of the Christian right" are "poor, uneducated, and easy to command."

In subsequent polls, it was ascertained that Weisskopf's assumptions were wrong. Christians are well educated and well employed. However, the sentiment that Weisskopf expressed decades ago, is still prevalent in the minds of the media. Christians, in their minds, Christians can't provide a "reasonable argument for their points of view."

Commenting about a fall 2010 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, philosopher Francis Beckwith suggested that instead of matching articulate well-educated Christians with well-educated priests for atheism (like Bill Maher), the media call well-meaning Christians who don't posses the same intellectual caliber as the guest. If the media did match the guests, Beckwith maintained, atheists would be quickly out smarted.

I agree, but the question becomes, how do we ensure the press calls the right people? Do we provide the press with a list of Christians who are experts in their fields? Perhaps we can think of strategies to get such a list of experts into the hands of the media.

Comments:

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Guys, Are You SURE That’s a Duck?
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Things aren’t always as they seem….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U0oYms67HE&feature=related

“Yeah…”
Looks like Daffy is wondering who stole all his corn.
Oh, I think so. :-)

http://www.gifbin.com/bin/082009/1249634361_daffy_duck.gif
One of the major differences between species is how they react to various stimuli.

The duck, for example, relaxes with wings folded behind his head and says to himself "Shucks-a-doodle, I can make her laugh out loud without even breaking a sweat!"

The squirrel, on the other hand, is doing a credible knock-off of Hammie in the "Over the Hedge" movie, panicking and thinking at hyperspeed "Laugh out loud?? How would I hear it? What about just a chuckle or a snork? Oh no there's a typo in my regular expression - the first question mark should be a doublequote!! How could I know *before* hitting Submit that she'd laugh?!? Is there an app for that? A Gina 2.0 widget?? Where would I download it? Why doesn't anybody *tell* me these things?!!!?" all in roughly 1.264 seconds.

Well, *think* about it: have you ever seen a stressed-out-looking duck?
To Quote Phil Collins:
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“I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life.”

(Maniacal drumroll right about...NOW, Regis!)
Okay, new rule: Any comment that can make the editor laugh out loud doesn't have to be on topic!

(What am I letting myself in for??)
When I was in Athens, just before their first big public riot, I was working with local software engineers - Greek geeks. Or geek Greeks. Or as we ourselves put it, using regular expression notation, ?[g|Gr]eek[s]?".

Topic? Oh, well, um, ah - regular expressions are used in pattern matching, so some text is, uh, "unequally matched" when its pattern is written incorrectly. (Whew!)
Rolley, it is entirely appropriate that Greek and geek sound similar, given that the first geeks were Greeks.
Phillip, being a Philosopher and a Theologian is indeed a worthy pursuit for any Christian. However there are lots of worthy pursuits for Christians. I can in fact be a Philosopher. I do not have the conceit that I can therefore be a missionary. Nor do I think I can be a mechanic. Or a doctor. All of these are also worthy pursuits. I am an Epileptic and a mild Aspie. That does not mean I despise physical health or social grace.

My point is simply warning of the opposite danger. Intellectual snobbery is still snobbery and carries it's own penalty, for a faith must appeal to the heart as well as the mind. Over philosophized belief systems never really get out of the coffeehouse . Indeed the first philosophers knew that; Socrates was capable of holding a shield in a phalanx with any man in Athens and could expound on philosophy at a drinking party. It is harder to imagine modern intellectuals doing either of these things.

When revelation first came it came with rituals, festivities, tales, and details about how to apply their faith to commerce, agriculture, and even physical functions. It was made for everybody.

I am not downplaying philosophy. I am saying that to some degree it is a calling. In one sense, everybody can be a philosopher; indeed the greatest ones were amateurs. However my point is that only a few can be expected to be particularly talented or particularly interested in philosophy. That is not an insult to mankind. Noting that is a protest against the disproportionate prestige of intellectualism and aestheticism.

It is true that we should be ready always, etc. It is also true that we should not worry overmuch if Christians can't debate. It would be a far greater worry if Christians could not heal the sick, minister to the dying, visit the captives, be good citizens, work at the vocation they are given, be faithful husbands and wives and raise up children in the admonition of the Lord. Amazingly, given the spirit of the age, Christians are still capable of doing these things, on the whole quite well. That most Christians cannot be Philosophers is indeed regretable. But no more regretable then that most Christians cannot be astronauts.
If ... Then
If you live a life totally devoted to loving and serving God,
Then people will ask you what the source is for the hope you have.

If people ask you for the hope you have,
Then be prepared with an answer.
Ar ar ar
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“Of course; both geeks and nongeeks need to be saved.”

Heh. Jason, that sounds almost like a word-for-word paraphrase of the apostle: “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the non-Greeks...” (Romans 1:14a)

Oops, my mistake, didn’t see the ‘r’ in there.

-- Olley Haggad
Unequally Matched
I agree with Dennis; only their agenda many times may be more mercenary than sinister, even though materialism is the prevailing worldview of many in the media. They are, first and foremost, a for profit venture. And stoking the fires of controversy and extremism gets viewers, even if they preach to the choir many times. Plus it makes it easier for viewers to pigeonhole others based on caricature. Too often the problem lies with us. We allow ourselves to be "lobotomized" by the media instead of being willing to think through issues. This is true of most of us, whether Christian or not. But as Christ has called us to engage the totality of our being in loving God to the uttermost, it is inexcusable for believers to become so intellectually lazy. There are many resources out there if we will but put forth the effort to investigate. And, in response to Jason, I am convinced that being a philosopher and a theologian is a worthy pursuit for any Christian. After all, the root Greek words for these terms mean to love wisdom and to study God. Who shouldn't desire those pursuits?
"Jerry, I agree, but I fear too many of us, in spite of ourselves, look at this issue with an “either/or” mentality just because it’s easier to do so. "

Of course; both geeks and nongeeks need to be saved.
Good Dialogue
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Jerry, I agree, but I fear too many of us, in spite of ourselves, look at this issue with an “either/or” mentality just because it’s easier to do so.

On important issues where we are inclined almost reflexively to polarize and gravitate to extremes, it seems to me that a more desirable course of action involves lovingly ministering with “real knowledge and all discernment” (Philippians 1:9). This puts us, I think, somewhere between extremes and will manifest itself in a strong and balanced inclusion of both the “sermon-in-shoes” AND our being able to give a compelling apologian for the hope within us.
"While rational argument may plant a seed, it is the evidence of a loving and sacrificial life which will bring the increase."

I agree with you, Jerry. It's a life lived with the hope/assurance that Jesus' promises are true that will cause others to ask us what our cause for hope is. I'm not saying a Christian has to "win" every argument they are in; far from it! I'm simply stating that we must be ready to answer questions honestly from the heart. The Holy Spirit is the one Who contends with their spirit as to whether what we say --and live-- is true or not.
Jason, I'm not expecting everyone in the church to be a philosopher. But, according to 1 Pet 3:15, we are all supposed to be ready and willing to give an answer for the hope we have within us when someone asks.

I think my favorite Biblical witness of what Jesus did in his life is the blind man in John 9. All through the chapter he repeats himself, "I am the man born blind. Jesus put mud on my eyes, now I see." (paraphrase) He simply told, whenever he was asked, what Jesus did in his life.
Yes, Ellen and Lee. My point is that if we expect everyone in the Church to be philosophers we shall have an awfully small Church.
Sometimes conducting a debate comes in the midst of raising a family.

Last summer while my atheist/agnostic sister was visiting, my son asked when God made trees. I replied that God made them when He made the world. My sister cooking at the stove overheard and asked,

"Are you ... are you ... a, a .. [i]creationist![/i]

"Yes, I am." I replied. Honestly, I was surprised at her incredulity.

"And Todd.... is he (whispers) a creationist too?!?"

"Yes, he is."

Some muttering ensued about how she thought we had always liked science. We proceeded to discuss the origins of things and natural processes. While I comfortably and rationally continued the discussion responding to her questions and asking my own, she became less and less comfortable with questioning the ultimate beginning of creation.

"...but nature has such processes for growth and change."

"How did those processes get there?"

Soon she was mentally scurrying off to other subjects and changing the topic of discussion.

I found it sadly amusing that her idea that only simpletons who don't understand science could be creationists had run smack up against the evidence of her intelligent, educated, and knowledgeable younger sister not only believing in Creation, but willing to calmly discuss and debate the topic as well.

As iron sharpens iron, we must sharpen each other. When the opportunity arrives to discuss and defend our faith, we shall be the better ready to give an answer for the hope we have in Jesus Christ.
The problem with teaching "history from a Christian perspective", Lee, is that you are teaching propaganda, not history. It is no different really then teaching history from an Officially Oppressed Subculture Of The Week perspective.

While much of history IS in fact propaganda, and all of it is modified by the historians biases, intellectual honor demands that one at least make a nominal effort to avoid blatantly being a propagandist.
Quite so, and we are made with differing gifts. Being able to conduct a debate is not a more noble talent then being able to fix a car and certainly not more noble then being able to raise a family.
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