The problem with flawed premises is that they lead to flawed or failed results....
I sat through a presentation recently by someone I respect, but struggled throughout it. Much of the content was good and true, but it was based on two flawed premises such that it made it hard for me to focus and receive the good which was being shared.
One premise was that all world wars are based on religion. I’ve heard this many times before. Unfortunately, it’s just not true. The following is just a partial list of wars based on something else entirely:
War of 1812
Us Civil War
French & Indian War
Chinese Civil Wars
Namibian War of Independence
Most World Empire Conquests/Battles including Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Babylonian Conflicts, Greece, and wars fought by and with the Roman Empire.
The list goes on and on, but most of the well-educated people in the room nodded in agreement with the statement that most wars are fought over “religion.”
The second premise was that all religions teach basically the same thing. As a Pastor with 2 graduate degrees and an undergraduate degree in Theology, I could write VOLUMES in disagreement on this one, but here are some basic questions to challenge this widely-accepted premise:
How can a religion that says there is one God be identical to a religion that says there are millions of Gods?
How can a religion that says we should love and do good to people who disagree with us or even consider us “enemies,” be the same as one which teaches people to kill those who don’t agree with them?
How can a religion which teaches salvation by grace through faith alone be the same as one which teaches a series of works or acts of obedience as prerequisites to reaching God’s promised favor in the afterlife?
How can a faith which says we can be assured of our standing with God and have security for eternity in Him be the same as one which makes no guarantees and suggests that we’ll have no idea until after we die?
How can a religion which says that our ultimate goal is to be enlightened be the same as one that says our ultimate goal is to live in heaven with God and others who trust Him?
I could go on and on….
The law of non-contradiction makes it IMPOSSIBLE and logically hypocritical to postulate that two ideas which contradict each other are both true and thus equal or equivalent. The contradictions between Christianity and Hinduism or Islam for instance, make it impossible to suggest that they are the same or that they are both “equally right.”
So, while it makes us feel better to suggest these things, the truth doesn’t change and our global conflicts such as our battle versus Islamic Extremism for instance, continue! Furthermore, blaming religion for all conflicts allows us to continue fighting about politics, economics, territory, greed, selfish interests, etc., because we aren’t addressing the REAL issues based on fact.
So…my suggestion is that of the old Sargent Friday character from the show, “Dragnet.” We need to make decisions and take positions based on, “Just the facts Ma’am…Just the facts.”
To that end,