Faith Angles (Part 2)

“Every big news story has a faith angle.” That’s one of the things that CNN learned after its Belief Blog (which is dedicated to discussing how faith factors in the news) marked its first year recently, “after publishing 1,840 posts and sifting through 452,603 comments”. (Source: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/) One encouraging observation: “People are still intensely curious about the Bible, its meaning and its origins… More of us may be reading it on iPhones these days, but the Good Book still matters a lot more than the popular culture lets on.” (Ibid) When Belief Blog posted a guest blog claiming that the Bible was more ambiguous as far as homosexuality is concerned, it got more than 4,000 comments. When a counter-article claimed that the Bible clearly condemns homosexuality, it “brought in an equal number of comments - and was the most popular story on CNN.com on the day it was published.” (Ibid)

For me, this is a great open door for us Christ followers to declare and defend our faith, much like what the apostle Paul had when he spoke before the philosophers at Aeropagus in Athens (Acts 17:16-34). At that time Athens was hailed as the “intellectual capital of the world.” When Paul saw the idolatry of the city, “he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.” (v. 17, ESV) In the Greek, the word “reasoned” means that he would choose a passage from Scripture and then speak from that text. But when he locked horns with philosophers, his approach changed. He “conversed” with them (v. 18). Interestingly, the book of Acts used a different Greek word here. The word “conversed” literally means, “to throw with,” that is, “to toss ideas back and forth” (Bible Knowledge Commentary). When he faced the philosophers, Paul did not actually quote verses (though he presented Biblical concepts) but even quoted from pagan poets.

We really have a lot to learn on how to engage the world around us. I remember my frustration with how Christians handle social and political issues when I was working in the media before. Of course, there are faith angles in those issues. But I saw how we believers tend to fumble the ball. That’s why, as the Reproductive Health or RH bill debate rages on (and other issues are sure to come), let us pray for wisdom that like Paul we would know when to reason and when to converse.

Brethren, there is a time to reason and a time to converse.

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