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Friday, March 23, 2007

Making Your Own Convictions

As I become more conscious of being healthy and trying to eat healthy, I see that there are lots of opinions on lots of things out there. Some topics have a consensus: vegetables are good, exercise is good, Nazis were bad, Han shot first (!!!)... But even while there are absolutes like that, there are many related details that are hotly debated.

One thing I've read is that canola oil is purportedly not as good for you as people think. Apparently in the past there had been e-mails circulating, talking about all the horrors of canola oil. There are dissenting opinions left and right, but most debunking sites like Snopes and About.com reassure people that canola oil is fine. But who's to say those sites are infallible? I will say that I sure hope that canola oil is NOT bad, because we use it in baking or whenever we want to make french fries.

Some people say that organic food has no such nutritional or chemical advantage over conventionally grown foods.

Other dissenting opinions are on finances. Some people, like Dave Ramsey preach a message of getting out of debt as soon as possible, to the point of not contributing to your company's 401(k) and thus not getting the company match (if one exists). Others like Clark Howard say that while you are paying off debt, you still should contribute to the 401(k) in order to get free money. I've read some financial books that suggest you use credit cards to get out of debt, making sure to make your minimum payments on time to build up your credit score. Some sites say that ETFs are the way to go, others say mutual funds. Others say forget the stock market completely: real estate is the place to invest. Personally, I like ETFs, then index funds; I don't care so much for relying on a emotional (and sometimes irrational) human managers to try to beat the market. Matching the market gains is fine with me. Dave Ramsey fans will probably think I'm crazy, but I'm really not sure why he doesn't like ETFs. Anyways, I'm not infallible either, so if anyone has any really good reason why ETFs are bad, please let me know.

So what to do? All these differing opinions running around all over the place! I'd say you should look at all sides of the arguments, and then come up with your own convictions on the matter. Like the other topics, Christianity has absolutes as well as details. Jesus IS the Christ, and God is the ONLY god (etc.). Jesus was not just a good man or just another prophet, as false religions state...He was either a liar, lunatic, or Lord. Credit to C.S. Lewis for the trilemma apology "hinted" here. However, there are many many areas where there are dissenting opinions. Some believe that baptism is not necessary, some believe baptism by sprinkling is acceptable, some believe in strong pacifism, some believe that instrumental worship is sinful, etc. etc. etc.

In the case of the Bible, it's probably best to study up on the topic-at-hand, then try to hold to the belief that most closely matches up with the proper exegesis and/or hermeneutics. Basically, instead of making your own convictions (as you would with other topics like finances and food), here you want to have the convictions set forth in the Bible. And best not to make divisions and condemnations over areas that are not explicitly condemned in Scripture.

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  • Birdie

    "Basically, instead of making your own convictions (as you would with other topics like finances and food), here you want to have the convictions set forth in the Bible And best not to make divisions and condemnations over areas that are not explicitly condemned in Scripture."

    Very well said.

  • Tammy L

    Very true! :)

    I'm thankful for my husband... he helps me see things in a balanced way when I get tempted to run after a new idea. :) Although... he has plenty of his own ideas, and I guess I do the same for him at times. ;)