- Rodney Lee Mills
One Plus One Equals Two
I have never been a huge fan of math but the one thing I do like about it is that the results are not up for debate. One plus one equals two no matter who says it or how they say it. Unfortunately, we sometimes miss out on sound advice, additional info we were looking for, or an actual answer to our question simply because we choose to ignore it based on the delivery, deliverer, or both. There are plenty of examples where we ignore or tear down a perspective, opinion, even a truth based on the delivery or deliverer of that perspective. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe it is a two-way street. It is still incumbent upon the deliverer to deliver the message in a respectful manner and living up to the standards of the values or opinions they are promoting. But to simply ignore any information based on the deliver or delivery is naïve.
One of the most common examples I have personally experienced is that people refuse to believe in Christianity because the followers are so called “hypocrites”. Truth be told, there are many hypocrites we will run into in every religion, profession, and in our daily encounters. But if a hypocrite says one plus one equals two, the fact that they are a hypocrite doesn’t change the fact that one plus one equals two. To push the analogy further, if they were to call you a derogatory name before saying one plus one equals two, it also doesn’t change the fact that one plus one will still equal two.
So what is the practical application? My advice is that whenever we receive information, we should “put it to the test.” What I mean by that is that we should weigh the evidence in favor and against said information. Who delivers the message and how the information is delivered should not be the reasons to dismiss it. Allow me to demonstrate this using the “Christians are hypocrites” example.
As stated earlier, I have heard people say, “I don’t believe in Christianity because a lot of the followers are hypocrites.” So let’s break this down. Christianity (a belief system based on the life and teachings of Jesus) is no longer valid because of the “actions or inactions” of the people who believe in this belief system? A few things that come to mind:
1 – Anyone who says this did not mention the actions of the founder of the belief system (Jesus) as their reason for not believing.
2 – They did not mention the doctrine (Bible) of the belief system as their reason for not believing.
3 – They assume that the “believer” is not struggling with the “action or inaction”. (In my experience, many “believers” are mindful of these things and are struggling to overcome them).
4 – Its logical to conclude that imperfect people need a Savior.
5 – Salvation is immediate but the Christian lifestyle is a journey so we don’t know where these people are in their Christian walk (maturity).
As you can see, basing a decision on the actions/inactions of an individual misses out on a whole slew of factors that were not considered. Even if you were to find fault in one of the five I described above, the weight of the other factors should also be considered before making a final decision. So the line of reasoning of the person making the “hypocrite statement” looks like this:
(Bad actions of Christians) or (Inactions of Christians) = (non-belief in Christianity)
When it should look like this:
(Life example/teachings of Jesus and doctrine) = (what I should measure to determine belief or non-belief in Christianity).
If you said, this formula doesn’t prove that Christianity is the truth, you would be right. But it also doesn’t eliminate it from the possibility of actually being the truth. My point is to not dismiss it as a lie based on the actions or inactions of the deliverer of that message or their delivery. You see, truth is not based on what I think or believe to be the truth. I can say that fire doesn’t burn but if I stick my hand in the fire, the truth will be revealed. Christianity is making the argument that it is the truth and that truth is based on the life, teachings, and actions of Jesus. We can’t truly verify that truth until we leave this world but we also can’t dismiss it. We certainly can’t dismiss it based on a few “followers” who are hypocrites.
In my opinion, Christianity leaves no room for discussion. You either believe it or don’t believe it. But nowhere does it say that your decision to follow Jesus should be based on the actions or inactions of other “Christians”. Jesus came on earth to set the example on how we should live and to atone for our sin. So the basis of our belief should be based on the life, actions and teachings of Jesus and not the actions of others.
This line of thinking also applies to many other situations. Maybe you have a favorite sports, radio, TV, or movie personality. They have a cause or belief that you totally agree with. What happens if the character of that individual comes into question? Do you dismiss that belief or cause they were promoting? Of course not! You see, in a perfect world, we would love for our favorite sports, radio, TV, movie personalities and “fellow believers” to always accurately represent the truths of our beliefs and causes. The truth is that we have all sinned and have all fallen short. No one is perfect and we all have our own personal demons we struggle with every day. But these struggles and lapses in judgement should not negate the truths that are in the beliefs and causes we believe in.