Several weeks ago, one of our Herald-Leader readers emailed me and informed me that I had made a mistake related to quantum mechanics, and he attempted to set the record straight.
I greatly appreciated the fact that he took time to send me the note. But instead of defending my stand or attempting to debate with him, I thanked him for reading my column and wished him a pleasant day. Decades ago, I stopped trying to change people's mind on issues, but simply present truth with enough supporting information and let them decide for themselves what they want to believe. I don't argue and seldom enter a debate, but I thoroughly enjoy an informed discussion.
However, when the man wrote again with a list of things found in the Bible that he strongly disagreed with and was impugning my integrity while demeaning me for believing in the Bible, I realized that he deserved at least some feedback.
I chuckled when he accused me of believing in "Bible BS," so I told him, "I have a Bachelor of Science degree, so, indeed I do have a BS Degree." I hope he saw the humor in it.
He seemed to be heated up about the Bible issues, so I decided not to address them. I told him I didn't want to challenge his integrity, but needed to mention that although he was correct in some of his allegations, he didn't understand the culture or the history behind the situations.
But I also thought it might be a good time to address the concept of quantum mechanics, so I emailed him definitions and supporting scientific information.
I was glad that he wrote back once more and gave me his opinion because, in a negative interaction, I normally want my challengers to have the last word.
As I said, decades ago I stopped arguing. It was around the same time that the Lord healed me of an arrogant attitude I had developed. Believe me: arrogant people know how to argue, fuss, and tear others down. I was good at it!
But I became ashamed of it, asked the Lord to forgive me, and I became a different person. I found it was so much better and much more enjoyable to build others up and help them. Can I disagree with people? Yes, of course, and I do. But I don't disdain anyone.
Several years ago, a man initiated a discussion about climate change. Using geological data, I conclusively proved to him that historic climate change is not caused by man. He began yelling and cursing, hurried to where I was sitting, and came close to slugging me in the face. I didn't make any defensive move, and he finally settled down. He was arrogant and hated being proven wrong, but I didn't hate him.
In my various vocations, some of my friends were atheists, agnostics, and/or homosexuals. I didn't hate them and still don't hate them although we disagreed with each other on important issues. But we all knew how far we could go in our discussions without being offensive, and we had a good working relationship. I don't "shove Jesus down anyone's throat." I merely present Jesus to people.
Please note: I never covered or hid my relationship with Jesus Christ. My friends knew me and accepted me for who I am just as I knew them and accepted them for who they are.
And you also need to understand that when many of my non-Christian friends had serious problems, they often came to me for counsel. Why? Because they knew that I loved them with a love that far surpasses human love. It's the love of Jesus Christ.
But with all that said, I don't receive much negative mail. A little? Yes. But the vast majority of what I hear is gratitude, respect, and joy that people receive when they read my articles.
I've heard often through the nearly 15 years that I've written for the Herald-Leader, "We really enjoy reading your column. Please don't stop. It gives us a lift."
I feel blessed when someone in in town stops me and tells me they look forward to the next issue, or how an article helped them understand life (Bible, science, history, culture, etc.) a little bit better. I enjoy helping people enjoy life.
But life consists of a series of changes, and on September 27 you will read the final submission of my Reflection on Life series. Please meet me here next week for more information.
S. Eugene Linzey is an author, mentor, speaker. Send comments and questions to [email protected].