Holding Minority Opinions

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Jason
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Holding Minority Opinions

Post by Jason » Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:47 am

Brothers / Sisters,

I've been dealing with a general malaise for the past year or so and I think I've figured out the reason for this unease, but not the cure. It occurred to me that all of my fundamental views (about religion, politics, health, relationships, social issues, etc) are widely disparaged by the populace. In other words, every single view I hold is an extreme minority opinion and it's increasingly difficult to communicate with most people about any important issue because they've usually only heard (and accepted) one viewpoint. And those holding minority opinions, no matter how well argued, are seen as silly or even dangerous.

I even set out to study evolution with the hopes of being persuaded by the evidence so at least then I could hold one majority opinion and not be seen as a kook. And yet I wasn't even able to clear that hurdle! The evidence wasn't as persuasive as I'd hoped it would be. Back to square one.

I suppose this is screwing with me because we've all known people are who truly nuts. The kind who wear tin foil hats so the aliens won't read their minds. And that's often the association people make when you hold minority views on many of these subjects. Is this just a matter of caring too much what man thinks? If so, how does one then go about relating to a world filled with such men? Appearing like a kook probably doesn't honor the gospel. But neither does bending to majority opinion against your own reason and conscience.

crgfstr1
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Re: Holding Minority Opinions

Post by crgfstr1 » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:38 am

I am in a similar situation. I am glad though you came to the right conclusion on the evolution front. Rather than seeking the popular answers, instead I have been trying to find those with the truth whether popular or not. I am trying to find a church that I feel teaches correctly or even just some people near where I live that had similar beliefs to mine and who want to have rational discussions where they differ. I find no one to fellowship with in that way.

I find most Christians who attend church hold more firmly to their traditions of men then the true love we were taught to have for everyone. This is often more true of the church leaders then its member who do wonderful works out of love but are ignorant as to where the church is wrong. I don't understand how one can be in a denomination which it seems quite clear the bible is against. Christmas isn't in the bible and churches shouldn't celebrate it because it is a pagan holiday. The problem to me is that if a church has anything to do with Christmas which isn't in the bible then their teaching isn't biblical. Some argue what is the harm? The focus is on Jesus at least in the Church? The harm is anyone who has even read the bible at all knows Jesus wasn't born in December. Christmas therefore is a false tradition of men. If some in the church wanted to on their own celebrate Christmas then I would be happy for them to attend the same church. That isn't the issue. The issue is that the church is suppose to seek only the truth and teach only the truth. If any part of its teaching is a complete fabrication then how can you trust anything that it teaches?

It isn't even like it is a minor part of the church. Most churches are already actively preparing for their Christmas service. I saw signs up more than a month ago asking members to signup for the Christmas choir. If it were a minor mole on the church then whatever but for most churches I see it is the biggest thing they do all year.

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Jason
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Re: Holding Minority Opinions

Post by Jason » Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:44 am

crgfstr1,

Thank you for responding and sharing an example from your own experience. Not to derail the discussion, but I also spent some agonizing years looking for a church that seemed entirely biblical. In my experience, they don't exist. Or at least, not for long. I actually attend a Catholic church now, not because I'm Catholic, but because I grew tired of the dog and pony show. I disagree with my church on many doctrines, but it's the least offensive of the nearby churches (including my former protestant church). This gathering spends less on superfluous things, they help the poor and genuinely strive to love one another as Jesus commanded. I won't be following the catechism anytime soon or praying the rosary, but I gladly join them at the cup of fellowship. It's wearisome and even sinful to fret over matters of conscience (1 Cor. 10:23-33).

Having said that, I raised a much broader issue in the opening post and I'd prefer not to drill too deep into our personal grievances with the church. We all have them and there are plenty of healthy discussions about it on this forum.

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Paidion
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Re: Holding Minority Opinions

Post by Paidion » Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:17 pm

Hi Jason, you wrote:I also spent some agonizing years looking for a church that seemed entirely biblical. In my experience, they don't exist.
The problem is, "How will you know that any given church is entirely biblical?"

Each of us has his own understanding of what he reads in the Bible. So we think that if a church's beliefs and practices are the same as our own, it must be a totally biblical church. Someone else who holds to a different understanding can meet with that same church and pronounce it non-biblical or at least not entirely biblical.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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Jason
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Re: Holding Minority Opinions

Post by Jason » Thu Oct 20, 2016 1:25 pm

Paidion wrote:
The problem is, "How will you know that any given church is entirely biblical?"

Each of us has his own understanding of what he reads in the Bible. So we think that if a church's beliefs and practices are the same as our own, it must be a totally biblical church. Someone else who holds to a different understanding can meet with that same church and pronounce it non-biblical or at least not entirely biblical.
Right. That's actually my understanding as well. What I was looking for (and didn't find) was a church that stressed the things that Jesus stressed. Things like theological agreement on all points have never been on my list. Otherwise, I wouldn't be currently worshipping at a Catholic church.

But the point of this post is getting away from us. I posted this because I've recognized that holding minority views on every subject is causing me to appear like a kook to the rest of the world. And I'm not sure if that's really an issue or not.

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Paidion
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Re: Holding Minority Opinions

Post by Paidion » Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:50 pm

Why be at all concerned about what the rest of the world thinks of your opinions?

Jesus' teachings were quite at variance with that of the officials of the predominant Pharisee sect of the Jews. But it didn't seem to bother Him. He just went ahead, doing what He knew the Father wanted Him to do.

John 5:30 "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

Mark 3:35 Whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 82.

crgfstr1
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Re: Holding Minority Opinions

Post by crgfstr1 » Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:01 am

I don't think there has been a time in history where truly doing what God wanted wouldn't make you a kook. Many times in history it would get you persecuted or even killed. The challenge we face is we are moving in the wrong direction in America making it harder and harder.

We are supposed to rejoice when we suffer for his names sake. Having people think we are kooky is pretty minimal suffer though harder than it might sound. I just wish I could find more kooks or at least lead my own family down a proper path of kookiness.

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Jason
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Re: Holding Minority Opinions

Post by Jason » Fri Oct 21, 2016 9:01 am

Looking strange in the eyes of the world wouldn't be an issue if I were not also, in some minor respect, also carrying the gospel with me. I suppose the fear is that if I hold so many minority opinions, then the gospel gets associated with folks who are a bit nutty. I know people who are a bit "off" and it wouldn't matter what they told me, I'd disbelieve them on principle. Should we not give this any thought? Is it akin to worrying too much about the opinions of man, even as we seek to reach them?

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Paidion
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Re: Holding Minority Opinions

Post by Paidion » Fri Oct 21, 2016 11:44 am

I want to tell you about two eccentric people I met during the year I attended Bible school in Winnipeg, Manitoba. My thought and feeling at the time was that these two people, a man and a woman, were really "strange" or "queer." Now I know that both of them were walking so close to the Lord that they appeared to be abnormal. Each of them gave a talk. I don't remember the man's name or any part of his talk. The woman was Gladys Aylward.
Gladys May Aylward (24 February 1902 – 3 January 1970) was a British evangelical Christian missionary to China, whose story was told in the book The Small Woman, by Alan Burgess, published in 1957, and made into the film The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, starring Ingrid Bergman, in 1958. The movie was produced by Twentieth Century Fox, and filmed entirely in North Wales and England. [from Wikipedia]
To give you an idea of Gladys' unusual thinking, I remember one thing that she said. She stated that she had never married. However, she said, God had appointed a man to be her husband, and told hie that he was to go to China as a missionary, meet her there, and marry her. But the man refused to obey God. (She had never met the man; this was all a revelation that God had given her).

A couple of years before I met Gladys, when I was working with an engineering department who were constructing a railroad spur line to an iron mine, I recall one of the workers saying to me, "Don, I know you don't go to the movies, but there's one movie now playing a the theater that would be worth you while seeing; it is called "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness." So I went to see it. I never dreamed I would some day meet the woman about whom the film was made!

You can view the movie by clicking on this link:The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 82.

Singalphile
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Re: Holding Minority Opinions

Post by Singalphile » Fri Oct 21, 2016 11:50 am

Pardon the length of this. It's an area that I get passionate about, because unity among us is very important for lots of obvious reasons, not least of which is situations like your own.

Among Christians, if in fact "every single" view that you have is an "extreme minority opinion", then maybe there is something wrong with you. But I doubt it. If you are a Christian, you agree that God exists and rewards those who seek Him, that Jesus came in the flesh and died and was raised from the dead, and He is the Messiah and Son of God and your Lord, and that you have sinned. Those aren't "extreme minority opinions" among us.

Furthermore, Paul's examples of what is contrary to sound teaching/instruction (or "doctrine", as some translations put it) consist of murder, kidnapping, perjuring, sexual immorality, lewdness, greediness, boasting, pride, seeking dishonest gain, and forbidding to marry and abstaining from food, and slander, and such (1 Tim 1, 1 Tim 4:1-3). Sound teaching/instruction is to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, love, and perseverance, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, showing yourself to be an example of good deeds, non-corrupt in teaching/instruction, dignified, self-controlled, and the like.

The fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control - will lead us into that truth. As Jesus said, if you love Him you will keep His commandments, and the Holy Spirit will teach us to do that, directly, I think, and through the apostles' written records (John 14:21-26).

You agree with all that, and those aren't "extreme minority opinions" among Christians, and those are among the most important teachings/instructions of Christianity, given how clearly and frequently they are given.

It may be that you are in circles where the most important things are theological and scientific propositions or theories about the distant past or the future or metaphysics and philosophy. If that is the case, then maybe you can distance yourself off from that, if you want to get over your general malaise.

After all, Paul warned against "profane old wives' fables", "pride", "obsess[ion] with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions", "idle talk", "divisions", "quarrels", "words taught by [mere] human wisdom", and "exceed[ing] what is written".

Really, it doesn't seem that God cares much about your (or my) opinions about such things (provided they don't deviate from the above) given how little attention they are given in Scripture. I think it's worth remembering that your opinions don't make you good or bad. Being incorrect is not a sin and being correct is not a virtue.

Whether we have a majority opinion or minority opinion, we should be careful to not flaunt it or dwell on it and not insult those on the other side. I realize that it can be more difficult when you have a minority opinion.
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

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