Dr. James Emery WhiteJames Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina; President of Serious Times, a ministry which explores the intersection of faith and culture (www.serioustimes.org); and ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture on the Charlotte campus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Dr. White holds the B.S., M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees, along with additional work at Vanderbilt University and Oxford University. He is the author of over a dozen books.
- 2011 Aug 22
Have you seen the wildly popular show on the Discovery Channel called “MythBusters?”
Hosted by Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage -- and co-hosted by Tory Belleci, Kari Byron and Grant Imahara -- the MythBusters “mix scientific method with gleeful curiosity and plain old-fashioned ingenuity to create their own signature style of explosive experimentation.”
Over the past nine years and 189 episodes, they’ve conducted 2,391 experiments in order to explore 769 myths, such as:
*Does the color red really make a bull angry?
*Can drinking coffee help a person sober up?
*Do most people really use only ten percent of their brain?
*Is finding a needle in a haystack really that hard?
*Can you be killed by household appliances falling into your bath?
*If an elevator suddenly falls, can you survive by jumping up at the last minute?
*Could someone really knock your socks off?
*Can your cell phone interfere with a plane’s instruments?
*Is talking on a cell phone while driving as dangerous as drunk driving?
*Is Chinese water torture effective?
*Can you really freeze your tongue to a pole in cold weather?
Let’s imagine a season where all they did was explore “myths” about the Christian faith in order to determine whether or not they were true.
What should be on the list?
The easy choices would be events, such as:
*Was there an original Adam and Eve?
*Could any boat hold two of every animal?
*Can a woman conceive in her nineties?
*Does long hair have any effect on human strength?
*Can loud noise bring down city walls?
I know, a purely empirical approach would be hard-pressed to explain the supernatural.
But imagine going deeper into the myths that people believe that we knowaren’t true. Such as attributing the following statements to the Bible:
”This, too, shall pass.”
“God helps those who help themselves.”
“God works in mysterious ways.”
“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”
And what about false ideas?
*You wouldn’t be having these problems if you were a better Christian.
*Some people can’t be forgiven.
*Some prayers go unanswered.
*God’s love must be earned.
*Because I’m a Christian, God will protect me from pain and suffering.
*God won’t accept me until I have my act together.
And then there are the questions that are often posed as true suggesting an automatic indictment of faith:
*Doesn’t evolution disprove God?
*Isn’t the Bible full of contradictions and mistakes?
*How can a good and loving God allow so much pain and suffering?
*If Christianity is true, why are there so many hypocrites?
*How could a loving God send anyone to hell?
The world of Christian apologetics is in need of a major overhaul. It is either too concerned with method (such as the divide between an evidentialist or presuppositionalist approach); too fixated on “winning” a debate (even when it means losing the person you are debating); or too inclined to bark up the wrong tree (answering questions no one is asking anymore).
Perhaps we should take a cue from the “MythBusters” and employ “plain old-fashioned ingenuity” and provide our own “signature style of explosive experimentation” for a winsome and compelling demonstration of what really is true about the issues people wonder about.
Then we might find out what the Discovery Channel did.
People will actually tune in.
James Emery White
The official site for “Mythbusters”
Of related interest: Mark Mittelberg, The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask (Tyndale); Will Davis, Jr., 10 Things Jesus Never Said (Revell).
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