I read an article on John Travolta last Sunday (Life, March 4, 2005). They asked him about his interest in Scientology - a pseudo religion. He said, "Scientology is for people who want to think for themselves...it's the opposite of other religious philosophies, where you are told what to think." Hmmmm.
I've got two problems with that. First, it's good to be told what to think if you are in the dark about truth. Who wouldn't welcome that? Only the fool ignores truth when offered to him/her. Second, being told what to think doesn't preclude thinking all together. Once you are given the truth, then you can apply the truth in all of your reasoning. Receiving truth doesn't shut down thinking, it should expand it.
Travolta is reacting to what many have observed; that some Christians stop thinking when they believe (or other religious types as well). As much as I disagree with Travolta, I understand what promps his words. Sometimes faith is a cloud that descends on someone. Once that happens, they are worthless. You can guess their response to every question because they have been "programmed" to believe certain things. They simply spit out the "right" answer.
Travolta isn't alone. I recently read Harriette Cole's problem solving column in the St. Paul paper. Two people responded about the close-mindedness of Christians. One said, "I grew up with religion, but when I grew, I began to realize how irrational and unsupportive the whole system of religion is." And another protested, "Athiests believe in a moral society based on scientific truths, not a magical fantasy book that our slave-owning, witch-burning ancestors waved like a flag."
It's easy to discount these criticisms as "anti-God", but I think they are more anti - closemindedness than anything. We can show the world better than this. We don't have to be simplistic. I don't believe Jesus was. Simple answers are easy but God has never made convenience a priority to my knowledge. Some of the world's best thinkers have been strong believers in Jesus Christ. Let's follow their example and bring honor to our faith not ridicule.