The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolving to Speak More "Beneficially" in 2013

While listening to two scientists debunking apocalyptic rumors with great facility in the faux uproar over the end of the Mayan calendar, I was reminded of the apostle Paul's reminder to his followers:
1 Corinthians 10: 23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other.
The reason for this is two-pronged. The first reason is that each scientist had experience with people who were suicidal over the impending worldwide doom purportedly foretold (actually the Mayans were all about cycles of renewal rather than destruction) by the end of the Mayan bactun. One woman called in to say her brother actually did kill himself rather than face the uncertainty of that dread day in December 2012. So, for those of us who have no fear of the various predicted apocalypses and dooms that crop up every decade like weeds, it may be lawful to speak, tongue firmly in cheek, of impending doom, but it is not beneficial to everyone. For the sake of those who do not have the perspective given by long lives and strong history studies, perhaps it would be best to temper our discussions for their sakes and avoid scaring some people to death.

The second reason results from a moment over half way through the interview. Things were going so well up to this moment. During the call in segment one caller remarked with a much less than beneficial tone (I'd say snide, sarcastic, smug [especially for someone who represents a mere 2% of the population worldwide from what I've seen] ... but then I'm biased and happy to admit it) that he felt religion should be in the same class as Mayan bactun apocalyptic worries as religion is just as false (a tiresome drumbeat oft repeated). One scientist handled it brilliantly, stating that since he was not a religion expert he never commented on such things. Wonderfully done sir. The other scientist would have benefitted from Paul's admonition (Paul was an expert in speaking to contentious crowds), but instead jumped in with both feet. He stated that all humans are irrational and hold some form of irrational belief. I groaned. I have been working for many years as a Christian (and now a Christian pastor seeking a flock) to reassure suspicious Christians that most scientists are not out to try to strip us of our faiths and frankly lack the equipment to do so and this gentlemen glibly makes my job that much harder, stating that some of the greatest minds of any century were merely irrational. Scientists, please, try to speak in ways that are beneficial, build up, and are of advantage to others. Stick to what you know and know well, that which you can measure and analyze. You have no training in dealing with things religious and really no authority to discuss these complexities. Try not to let your faith in science inflate the old ego too much. After all, it was only when you guys decided that Pluto wasn't a planet that you actually came up with a working definition of what a planet is. You are hardly the arbiters of all knowledge.

As for me, I've said enough. I'll head into the new year working harder to speak that which is beneficial, that which builds up, and that which is of advantage to others. It will be hard sledding, but I respect Paul's experience and insight enough to strive for his high standard. I'll even make that a new year's resolution.


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