Don’t Take My Word

Listening to an episode of the Ridiculous History podcast this morning, one of the hosts said, “Don’t take my word for it.”  A common phrase; we’ve all said it.  A wise and sensible thing for sensible people to say.  A standard line or rule of thumb really for scientists, philosophers, explorers, skeptics, etc.

Someone makes a statement, tells a tale of a personal experience.  We’re intrigued and curious, maybe incredulous.  They see the look on our face and matter-of-factly say, “Don’t take my word for it, go see for yourself, think for yourself.”

This got me thinking:  What if throughout religious history we heard this phrase repeated?  The “faith founders” emerge from their forests, mountains, deserts, caves and tell their fantastic stories, followed by “Don’t take my word for it.”

Can we imagine Jesus teaching the crowds, telling his parables, then shrugging his shoulders with a smile, “Don’t take my word for it!”

That would probably alter the entire history of religion.

 

4 Thoughts

  1. Chris. Just read your post on “Don’t take my word for it”. Religion would indeed be different as would political speeches and lectures in universities. I don’t know about you but in an intense discussion I find myself just wanting to get some kind of consolation, a word of acceptance like, “that’s a good point”. But it is so rare to hear. I try but not “religiously” to point out comments that I do agree with when discussing contentious issues. “Don’t take my word for it” seems to be a way of saying that my position at this moment may seem incredulous so stand back from this moment of mental competition and look to others who are on my side. This momentarily breaks up the more contentious stance of both parties and provides an outlet. Not sure if Jesus ever really argued with his audience, he usually asked a Socratic question, that made a unbeliever think again or quoted past prophecies to gain leverage. I don’t think leaders of all types of movements want to pause to have the audience think more deeply about anything. They want to blast a sound bite for the media which is only a bite not the whole meal which may be harder to digest.

    1. Sounds like you have wider experience than many people initiating constructive dialogue including the essential skill of Listening, Marty. I completely agree that moving away from “mental competition” is the healthy way forward, probably the only way! Thanks for your reasonable response.

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