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Independent minds (09/16/2012)
From: T.M. Schoewe

The conventions are over and now we wait for the debates which will be about change, whether to make a change or whether not to change; to follow the lead buffalo right over the cliff or to break away from the herd and follow your own intelligence and do your own “fact checking” about which candidates will preserve this country’s legacy. This country is blessed with many independent minds and their decision will likely determine the election outcome this fall.

Speaking of debates and independent thinking, for a number of years in the church it’s been argued that religion and reason are incompatible and that belief in God clashes with reason and science and you therefore cannot be religious and also think for yourself! This matter of faith article disagrees whole heartedly!

Here are some examples just from Old Testament scriptures, which both Jews and Christians accept as the word of God and which show religious people can and do have independent minds. In the Old Testament we find the very basis of their faith exists in their need as humans to search out what is true and to hold onto their independence to act as they see fit.

Look at some of the heroes and heroines depicted in the old scriptures who are independent minded, sometimes even disobedient and contentious! Here is a whole list: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph’s brothers, Moses and Aaron, Gideon, Samuel, some of the prophets, Elijah and Elisha, Daniel, and Esther, all confront authority, even break the law and the commands of Kings, for which they are even praised.

But you say these figures are just disobedient to human institutions because they receive commands from God to do so. This is not true! This disobedience we see in the scriptures is initiated by humans with no Word from God. The midwives Shiha and Pua resist Pharaoh’s decree to murder Israelite male children in the Nile. Moses‚ mother, and sister hide infant Moses even though it was against the law. Later Moses grows up and slays the Egyptian who is beating the Hebrew slaves. Neither of these misdeeds is ordered by God! Well you say those are examples of “independent mindedness” within humanity, but when believers deal with God directly, they are real pushovers. This is not true either! Watch as Abraham argues with God over the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. David, Isaiah, Jonah, and Job all argue with God.

Finally there is Jacob, on his way home to make amends with his brother from whom he stole the birthright, wrestling all night with the Lord Who gives up in the morning but cripples Jacob’s hip, laming him for the rest of his life, all while changing his name to “Israel,” meaning “you have contended with God and men and have prevailed!” Reread that last sentence and know God loves independent-minded men and women. For Jews and Christians this should end the debate between religion and reason.



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