I'm scheduled to preach, speak, or hold a Q & A session a total of 22 times in Romania. That includes being the keynote speaker at an Apologetics Conference and the main speaker at a week-long evangelism camp for youth. I also have one engagement with the science faculty at a Romanian university--I'm looking forward to that one!
Much of the goal will be to strengthen the faith of Romanians who already follow Christ--helping them to realize how reason and evidence combine to make the Christian worldview the uniquely accurate understanding of the universe in which we live. But some of my time (at the university and the youth camp) will involve sharing the Christian message with those who are currently skeptical about it. I'll be "sharing the gospel" or "evangelizing."
Which reminds me of a claim made several years back by an elderly lady friend of mine, someone whose opinions and thoughts on most other subjects I had come to respect...
We were in a small group, and another gal was talking favorably (apparently as a fellow-believer) of some missionary friends who were helping members of a South American tribe leave their superstition and animism and embrace Christianity. My elderly friend remarked,
I would never do that. It's wrong to try to change someone else's religious convictions.Now, there are several problems with this claim, of which I'll mention just two.
The first is that my friend could only say this because she didn't take Christianity seriously or believe it to be true. If, as the Bible claims, the only hope for human beings--for this life and for eternity--is being made right with their Creator through the work on the Cross of His eternal Son Jesus, then we who know this should be sharing it with those who don't at every opportunity. My friend was not able to fairly enter into the discussion by assuming for the moment that the missionaries' worldview might be true.
But there's a more basic problem with my friend's claim--a logical flaw, an error in thinking. And that is that her claim is....
[At this point, regular readers of my blog ought to be able to supply the hyphenated word that completes my sentence.]
That's right! Her statement is SELF-REFUTING, or self-referentially absurd.
To anyone who truly seeks to follow Christ, the call to share the good news about the reconciliation available only through Him is itself one of the most fundamental "religious" convictions. So when she said that it is wrong to seek to change another person's religious convictions, my friend was guilty of trying to do just that. She was sawing off the branch upon which she was sitting, disqualified by her own criterion, run through by her own spear. Her making the statement put her at odds with the content of the proposition she was seeking to convey. And she, of course, didn't realize it.
But you, dear reader, have by now learned to avoid making self-refuting statements yourself (they are, after all, necessarily false) and have finely-tuned your baloney detector to spot such absurdity from a mile off. Keep up the good work!