Sometimes our cultures can program our brains and thought patterns to the point that we can be deceived into misinterpreting the BRI results. The worst thing about deception is that usually we do not know that we have been deceived. These viruses, if left untreated can be dangerous for BRI techs. Matthew 24:8-11.
Here is one logical virus that infects many of our thought patterns.
"Unless you approve of my actions you do not love me (or you hate me)."
This is called a False dilemma (False Dichotomy Black or White Fallacy) The above statement gives only 2 choices.
Either 1. approve my actions OR 2. hate me. This assumes that there are no other alternatives. One option is very bad (hate) and so the only other choice is to approve of my actions even if they violate your conscience or religious beliefs. Given these two choices most people will feel pressured to approve of actions that they normally would find objectionable.
Here are Other Alternatives:
- If the actions are beneficial, one can approve of those actions because they want their loved ones to benefit. (I approve of my wife taking vitamins because they are good for her).
- If the actions are harmful, one can approve of those actions because they want their enemies (those they hate) to be harmed. (I’m sure that Hitler’s enemies approved of his suicide, they probably wished he had done it thirty years earlier).
- If the actions are beneficial, one can disapprove of them because they do not want their enemies to benefit from them in a way that will make them more stronger and more dangerous. (I do not want ISIS to get rich by selling oil).
- If the actions are harmful, one can disapprove of them because they do not want their loved ones to be harmed. (When my son runs out into the street without looking both ways, I disapprove of this action because I love my son and do not want him to be harmed).
Examples of Alternative #4.
Smoking cigarettes is probably harmful physically and there may be some spiritual harm (from addiction). "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything." 1 Corinthians 6:12.
Since smoking is harmful I disapprove of the action of smoking by my loved ones because I do not want them to be harmed.
Heterosexual promiscuity/adultery may be harmful physically (STDs) and it is very harmful spiritually. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Since promiscuity/adultery is harmful, I disapprove of promiscuous/adulterous actions by my loved ones because I do not want them to be harmed.
Homosexual activity may be physically harmful and is definitely spiritually harmful. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Since homosexual acts are harmful, I disapprove of those actions because I do not want my loved ones to be harmed.
If you smoke cigarettes, or commit promiscuous, adulterous, or homosexual acts, I disapprove of your actions because I love you, I sincerely believe that these actions are harmful to you, I do not want you to be harmed.
I will approve of and support any efforts you make to quit but whether you choose to quit or not my love for you will not change.
If you are unwilling to change and you still want my approval of your actions, here are some possible actions you may choose to take.
A. You can try to persuade me that your actions are beneficial. If you are successful you can get my sincere approval but it is highly unlikely given that my reasons are based on Scripture. But, maybe I am misapplying these Scriptures so it's worth a shot. I won't be offended if you give it a try.
B. You can try to persuade me to hate you so that I can sincerely approve of your actions based on #2 above.
C. You can try to bully, threaten, sue, and even torture me to the point that I will say that I approve of your actions but this will not be sincere approval.
But, if you truly love me, could you resort to options B or C? Wouldn’t it be better to accept sincere love from someone who disapproves of your actions than approval from someone who hates you?
Proverbs 27:5-6 "Better is open rebuke Than love that is concealed.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy."
Proverbs 9:8 "Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you,
Reprove a wise man and he will love you."
Proverbs 3:11-12 "My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord
Or loathe His reproof, For whom the Lord loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights."
Romans 1:28-32 "And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them."
This logical virus can also infect our thinking about other important issues.
Unless you believe in evolution you are anti-science.
Unless you support abortion you are anti-woman.
This virus can cause divisions among Christians:
Unless you agree with me about this (non-essential doctrine, practice, personal conviction, political issue, or denominational distinctive) you are (not a Christian or you are not a good Christian).
Romans 14:4 "Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand."
One way to detect this virus is ask yourself. Does this opinion bully or pressure people into agreeing with it and/or insult those who don’t? I try to remind myself that, "satan is the father of lies" (John 8:44) and "satan is the accuser of the brothers." (Revelation 12:10)
Is Sola-Scriptura a False Dichotomy?
Sola Scriptura should not be presented like this: "Unless you believe in Sola Scriptura you are a (insert insult)."
Instead I try to present it like this.
- If there is a Creator God.
- If the Bible is God’s Word.
- Then, according to the following verses (see article) the Bible claims to be the only completely reliable way of knowing God’s will.
- If we accept this claim, then here’s how we can live by it.
I try to leave space for people who are not totally sold on sola-scriptura to try it out without feeling bullied or insulted if they are not totally convinced. If the Bible truly is God’s Word, then I believe that eventually many people will be persuaded of that without any bullying, insults, or pressure from me.
Is the Gospel a False Dichotomy?
If we present the Gospel as “Turn or Burn”, most people will see this as a false dichotomy and this can harden their hearts against the Gospel.
To avoid this misunderstanding, I try to present the Gospel in this way.
- If there is a Creator God. Here is the evidence for why I believe this is true (take it or leave it).
- If the Bible is God’s Word. Here is the evidence for why I believe this is true (take it or leave it)
- If Jesus Christ really lived, died, and rose again as the Bible says. Here is the evidence for why I believe it is true (take it or leave it).
- Then, according to the following verses (insert verses) the Bible says the following about sin and salvation (take it or leave it).
Those who reject the Gospel will have to suffer the consequences of their choice, there is no need to add insults do anything which would make it more difficult for them to resume communication with me and complete the journey later. Salvation is too important for people to be pressured into it. We cannot persuade anyone very effectively after we have insulted them.