There is this guy in my sociology class. Just by looking at him I could tell what kind of person he is. Conservative Christian. Republican. Probably a good chance he was home schooled. Kind of geeky. And every time he opens his mouth, he confirms my opinions of him.
He opens his mouth a lot.
It’s not like he doesn’t have good things to say. His contributions are always intelligent, if not a tiny bit biased. It’s just that he talks so much.
My teacher is also slightly biased, though I don’t think he realizes it. As much as he promotes the scientific method and decreasing bias in scientific research, he has a slight overconfidence in his own ability to reason and think. This has made me less likely to contribute to class discussion, because it is annoying how he puts his own spin on everything I say.
For instance, in one class we were talking about how social media has changed the world. I brought up the area of fashion, saying that globalization of information has fostered creativity in dress, because people can pick up fashion inspiration for a multitude of different blogs and pinterest pictures.
“Oh yes,” said the teacher. “Now days fashions change so quickly because of the media. Do you have a teenage daughter?”
“No,” I said. Do I really look old enough to have a teenage daughter??
“My daughter is thirteen. She says, ‘Dad, I need to buy new clothes.’ I say, ‘but we just bought you some!’ She says, ‘but they are no longer in style!”
As much as I wanted to say that I was speaking of real fashion, not 13-year-olds fashion trends, I held my tongue. That teacher has a habit of doing this sort of misrepresentation of what people contribute, twisting it to fit his own opinions. Now I just take notes and let the others do the frustrating talking. Like the Republican/Christian/possibly home schooled kid.
So, now that you have a clear picture of the two key players in the story of believing vs. doing, I will get on with it.
The teacher was lecturing on the roles that families and schools play in raising a child. Sometimes these roles come into conflict. For instance, a parent might not want her child learning about evolution in schools. What is she to do? Send the kid to a private school? Home school the kid?
“They could talk to the teacher,” said the boy who talks. “Ask him to teach evolution as a theory.”
The teacher kind of brushed this idea off as a bad one, and tried to change the subject, but the boy persisted. “I did that to my teacher,” he said. “I went up to him and was like, ‘listen. I am a Christian. I believe that God created the world, and that the earth is only a few thousand years old.”
The teacher’s eyebrows were up and there was a little smile on his face. “You still believe that?”
“Yes,” said the boy. Giggles went up from various parts of the classroom.
The teacher argued with the boy a bit, but the argument was somewhat inane and the teacher steered the topic elsewhere. I never stood up and said I agreed with the boy or anything, partially because I like to avoid controversial discussions in class.
Now the class talked about media, and the effect it had on children. People in the class had had varying amounts of TV exposure. I, for instance, never watched TV growing up. But when the teacher asked if anyone had watched seven or more hours of TV a day as a kid, who should raise his hand but THE TALKATIVE BOY.
Yep. I was a wee bit shocked.
The boy watched discovery channel and cartoons growing up. But I was more disturbed to hear what his family’s attitude toward video games was. He and his two brothers were playing M rated video games constantly by the age of ten, games where they would violently kill other human figures.
“My parents would approve of every game before we played it,” he said. “They would explain that killing people is okay in a video game, just not in real life.” And then he described one such game, so gruesome it made my stomach turn.
Just like I didn’t stand up and argue for Creationism, I did not stand up and argue against violent video games. Likewise, I am not going to argue either of those things in this blog post. Instead I am going to ask a question which digs a little deeper.
Which is more important: BELIEVING the right things or DOING the right things?
On the surface, of course, believing trumps doing. After all we are saved by grace through FAITH, not by WORKS least any man should boast.
However, I’m not talking about believing in Jesus. I am talking about believing the right theology. Is it more important for people to believe the right theology as a Christian, or to do the right actions as a Christian?
It seems to me that the two should be inseparably linked, but they are not.
Discussion and opinions would be appreciated.