Can Religion Bear the Weight? or, Choosing to Withhold Final Judgement

One day we will decide. Until then we withhold final judgement. Even those who already voted in a primary caucus or election. Maybe there is merit in a system that illustrates why we do not make final judgments when candidates sprint out of the gate. Already several stumbled and now find themselves watching, sidelined.

With the primary season moving into the Southern states I thought it might be good  to reprise this podcast interview with Greg Horton. Religion still plays an important role in the process. All sorts of fallacies abound in defense of this candidate or that. The conversation I have with Greg is helpful, if not insightful.

If you listened the first time, let me encourage you to listen again, this time consider the implications for the Pastor-Theologian or those interested in the intersection of pastoral work, pastoring with theology. Think through how you lead those in your congregation to think better about the issues of life and faith and that dangerous subject, politics.

What Is Religion?

In the podcast Greg reminds us religion may describe the practice of a faith where a person sells all she has for the poor. And the same word may point to a group who believes it proper to throw the female spouse on the burning funeral pyre of her dead husband.

Greg suggests the word religion hardly bears up under the weight of its expectations. For the Pastor-Theologian one must work to understand Religion, religion, and religions.

Should We All Be Skeptics?

If elections prove anything it is there is a rush to judgment. Everyone wants to get out in front touting his or her candidate. The system demands it. Unless your candidate wins the nomination it requires an adjustment, a re-evaluation, a different choice.

Could it be a willingness to withhold final judgment is not a weakness but a move that underscores our finitude. Pastor-Theologians live in the tension between confidence and the certainty required by the role. Some will choose the latter when the former is more faithful.

Make Better Arguments

Maybe we avoid formal fallacies, we Pastor types. But we often get mired in many an informal fallacy. My friend Greg recently noted in a phone conversation the informal fallacy, No True Scotsman, tends to show up among the religious early and often. When faced with the realities of the differences within a given group the temptation is to suggest others within the group are not really part of the group. Greg is doing a series of guest posts on common fallacies. Here is his first in the series.

The religious are not alone employing this fallacy. Here in our State it is not uncommon for some to believe that only true fans are those that may lay claim to his or her preferred team as alma mater. All others are not true fans.

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About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.

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