In Acts 17 we read of Paul reasoning with the Jews and the philosophers of the day. This is a great chapter and it indicates that men were hungry for the truth, to hear of “new ideas” v.21 and to reason amongst one another.
There is something so healthy and “human” in a passage like this. We reason with friends and family in conversation and gatherings, especially if what we believe we feel is important and life changing, its a natural part of life. I remember listening to a man at the public rec center in the sauna telling everyone the merits of his financial institution and why we should all join. At the time I just wanted to relax, but the fact is the man believed what he was saying and for all I know it may well have been a good financial move, it’s just the human instinct to campaign for your beliefs.
Can you imagine a world without free discourse? Where if something we believed was limited in what we could share if it differed from another’s belief and had the potential to offend. It was offensive for the slave traders to hear that their belief in the inequality of human beings was wrong, but it was debated freely, truth was found and we are better for it.
In a day where relativism is the norm and tolerance is king, we are losing what it is to reason with one another in a common search for truth and purpose. Any truth claim is immediately met with opposition, because if it is indeed “truth”, it therefore has implications for everyone. So it’s just easier to make everyone an island with the only knowable truth being “there is no truth” (which in itself is a truth claim).
This is what the men in Acts 17 were eager to know, “what is this truth you claim to know Paul?” Even the Jews living there searched the scriptures to see if what Paul was saying was true.
The great thing about it was there was free open discourse, Paul never ended up at a human rights tribunal for offending someone’s fragile personal bubble (not in Athens anyway).
If as a society we begin to limit ones ability to act on their convictions to present truth in the public square we legislate against being human, our drive to know truth and to search out the deepest desire of our heart – to know God.
This Oct 12th the Supreme Court of Canada is going to hear a case that deals with religious freedoms. The Court will be asked to decide whether it is permissible in Canada to express religious convictions that others find offensive. Can we enter the public square with our beliefs in biblical truth or will we be restricted in the name of protecting freedom? Where’s my freedom? Do we really have religious freedom to belief and act according to these beliefs, or are we in danger of a reality where these beliefs will be enforced by law to remain private?
To read more about this case check out the EFC page. Please pray for the members of the EFC as they will be presenting the Supreme Court with a case for freedom of religion. I find it interesting that my last post was about persecution, we have as Christians been blessed with relative freedom in Canada free from persecution. Lets us pray for the judges and all lawyers involved, that they will be given wisdom and God would give grace to our nation that religious freedoms will be protected in Canada.