“Coloring Book Christianity”?

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again…¹

We have all heard that curious little rhyme at some point or another. After all, it’s been popular since its original publication in Juvenile Amusements by Samuel Arnold in 1797.² When we hear this catchy little tale, our minds invariably conjure images of a stout, perhaps jolly Egg, perched precariously on a wall, who ultimately meets an unfortunate end. We see this, but where in the rhyme does it tell us that Humpty is an egg? We all get used to given images and preconceptions, yet how many times are they shaded incorrectly or tinted with misconception?

In the same way, many of us suffer from an affliction I call “Coloring Book Christianity.” We hold in our minds a very simplistic view of some of the grandest events in history, in part due to our watered-down introduction to these topics. Traditions – and the expectations borne of them – are dangerous in that way. We see this with the creation account, the Noahic Flood, and others, whereby we have been mislead – however benignly – in such a way that these things are not realistic to us, and not really applicable in any meaningful way. They are just cute stories. In truth, they are dramatically more…

Moving along with our exploration of the Book of Genesis, it becomes quite clear that the second day of creation is perhaps the most difficult to fully capture within the confines of our understanding. As one commentator pointed out, this is not because of the dynamic between faith and science, but rather a battle personally waged for many between false teachings and the truth. We all are – to some extent – products of our environment, and who we are is shaded by what we have been taught, what we have learned ourselves, what we have experienced, and what we expect. Amongst all of that is found quite a bit of nonsense and garbage intellectualism. We have been led to believe many a lie and instructed to embrace half-truths with the same openness as we would indisputable fact. In order to truly accept the nature of creation, we must learn to tell the difference between those things we have been “told” are true and those things which are demonstrably so. We have to approach the whole matter not only with an openness of mind and heart but also with the knowledge that what we may yet embrace could in fact be faulty grounds upon which to establish a stronghold of truth.

In our quest for that truth, there is no better place to begin that that place in which the truth resides, fully and eternally. That most accessible of all locations is our Bible, our Holy Scriptures. Once we have found our footing there, applying the insights of high technology, history, philosophy, and others will come naturally and in far more obvious ways than one would oftentimes expect. Through the developing confluence, truth will shine forth, highlighted by nothing less than the very intellectual pursuits that critics have long applied – fruitlessly – towards the internment of faith.

Truth prevails in spite of all attempts to swaddle it in darkness.

Truth lives though all else perished.

As we explore the world around us for it, let us never make the mistake of embracing the finality of a matter before undergoing a thorough investigation of it first, for therein may reside grand treasures and a wealth of insight beyond our expectations.

 

References:

  1. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), ISBN 0-19-869111-4, pp. 213–215
  2. Upton, Emily, 24, April 2013,”The Origin of Humpty Dumpty”, What I Learned Today, Retrieved 19 September 2015

 


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