Avoid Being Shark Bait

Shark advocates are appealing that the word “attack” be changed to “interaction.” The headlines will now appear as, “Lost an arm while interacting with a shark.” Can someone tell those advocates targeted meat cannot request a dialogue during an interaction. Sharks don’t like to chat with their mouths full.

I’m an advocate for correct grammar and accurate word usage. The Bible says in the last days,

What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter (Isaiah 5:20 TLT).

I’m not sure we are in the Last Days or what to do about it if we are. I want to know how we got here. I didn’t have it on my calendar. Scholars say Westerners are building their view of reality on a value-less world. One way that plays out is street-dwellers, homeless, addicts and rioters are given all the room they want while assuming they should have the right to express themselves.

My larger question is why is there no outcry and no insistence about potty habits and stopping burning other people’s property or looting. Why? How did we get to be a value-less culture?

  1. S. Lewis wrote what has been called the most important work of the 20th Century. The Abolition of Man was written in 1943. It is neither a Christian Apologetic or mystical novel. It is about the necessity of self-evident Objective Values. Without a common grasp of Objective Value, sometimes referred to as Objective Moral Value, Abolition of Man is predictable. Lewis says the decision to be value-less demands some value upon which to base that very decision.

God led me to an interview on Art of Manliness Podcast titled “Men Without Chests.” The conversation speaks to this subject precisely. https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/podcast-723-men-without-chests/

From my armchair view, when our culture determined there are no absolutes the end game became predictable. Judges 21:25 captures where we are:

“In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.”

When Objective Value is abandoned or killed, subjectiveness reigns. Everyone makes up their own truth, morality, god and permission to do what they want to do. Jesus said that would mark the Final Days. This is not the first time this behavior has dominated cultures or the world. (“Lawlessness shall prevail…” Matthew 24).

I do believe God is just and He requires His people to practice justice. I’ve been working at figuring out where and how I learned that. So, it would be true for me that my worldview, like everyone else, started collecting parts and pieces long before I went to school. Is God really a “rewarder of those who faithfully serve Him?” Is that component not only real, but true? Is it not only True, but Real?

How do you determine Reality? REALITY? In this season, there is a smorgasbord of options of what is projected to the masses as Real. This is my quest. I thought you might like to join me in my search—look for some lights along the way; see if there were spotlights to direct our paths. At best, my thinking can only be a shorthand edition. My intent is that you will want to pursue the subject on your own journey to understanding how you perceive and determine your reality and what you base Reality upon.

Charles H. Kraft’s books have been a resource for me. He is an Anthropologist, Christian and a teacher at Fuller. When someone referenced his book, Christianity with PowerYour Worldview and Your Experience of the Supernatural, (Wipf & Stock Publishers, 1989) it was not in my library. Most of his other books are. Why not this one? Avoidance of the subject? He writes first about worldview and reality in generic terms, only then does he speak of a Christian worldview. This is not rhetoric or dogma.

Kraft outlines what influences our understanding and grasp of REALITY? These are spotlights that focuses our minds to determine Reality.

  1. Our Worldview, which is the most important in our pursuit of REALITY and reality from which our concept of truth. Our worldview is not constructed by polling world news, history or acceptable community patterns. It begins with the people, events and our reaction/response in our home and within our tribe. I heard a couple teaching about parenting and Secure Attachment. An hour later at Walmart, I saw a young father talking to his three-year old who was sitting in the shopping cart seat. He was talking to her while holding her face in his hands. According to the teachers he was building Secure Attachment in her brain and heart. The little girl was building a section of her worldview. Someone will teach her not to get naked on Main Street and poop in an intersection, which will also be part of her worldview. Not just for her, for all civilized people.
  2. Limitations of Our Experience. “I will not believe it unless I see it!” That is a major definitive rational thinking pattern in our culture. Kraft says, “All of us are hampered to a greater or lesser extent in our attempts to understand the experiences of others that we ourselves have not had.” (Page 21). Western Civilization interprets the world differently than the rest of the world. People in Nigeria, Kraft learned, are opened to the spirit world because they have seen how Dark Spirits can ruin lives or make life painful. Even after accepting Jesus as Lord, the Nigerians turned to their native spirit-guides when they needed powerful spirit impact. They had seen the evidence. Christian leaders could prescribe Western answers while the Nigerians saw a different Reality. They had seen the spirit world. Kraft said he had no experience with the spirit world with which to offer help or power. Before we reject something, we may want to ask, “What don’t I know and what have I not experienced in relation to the question?”
  3. Our Personality or Temperament. A preacher-friend’s granddaughter heard him preach about Jesus walking on the water, which she wanted to discuss. “Can you walk on water?” the grandad asked the four-year old. She replied, “Not yet!” Her calculation of Reality is going to be different than a pessimist or self-doubter. Kraft says our viewpoints are affected by predisposition, motivation, degree of openness to new ideas and how change is experienced. A friend recently felt betrayed. Betrayal has been a reality for her, so when the recent events occurred, it opened access to decades of other betrayals. Her temperament has adjusted to how she perceives the reality for her—she is going to be betrayed—count on and build defense mechanisms to fight back or protect herself.
  4. Our Will. Our image of Reality will inevitably be assaulted or challenged if it contradicts the culture we reside in. Let’s consider the four-year old’s experience of REAL. She is somewhere in her thirties now. If she continued to believe she was going to walk on water for three-decades, she would have to do it or change her beliefs. The will to believe can be stubborn unwillingness to face facts. But then, if she chose to believe that her failure did not affect Jesus’ experience water top, she has set her will toward reality. Our will impacts our perception—the will to consider changing our point of view, but not a larger perception.
  5. Sin. “Human sinfulness affects every aspect of the way people perceive and respond to the glimpses of REALITY they see.” (Kraft page 22). God does not “mete out” punishment willy-nilly. The Ten Commandments, for example, are the result of God looking at REALITY as only He can and concluding this is the best way for a human to live. Breaking these carries its own punishment. I keep thinking about the summer riots of 2020. Listening to reporters from the streets, they experienced the rioting as dominated and functioning in the power of a different Reality that adopted rebellion, deathly motivation, commitments to evil and/or evil spirits.

Let’s pursue that

It is possible to be locked in to an evil or closed worldview.

“…the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron” (1 Timothy 4:1-2).

Another condition is referred to in scripture as a reprobate mind. A phrase among Americans: “God is not even on my radar.” I know people who have never been to church. Their knowledge of or about God is negligible and their interaction with Him is extremely passive. In contrast, a person with a reprobate mind has an active relation based on rejection and rebellion.

“Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done” (Romans 1:28 NLT).

The reprobate mind is no longer able to consider God or God’s truth after passionate and prolonged rejection of God’s voice and words about Him. A person with a reprobate mind has become blind to the truth and unable to think beyond their commitment to a dark truth or demonic influence.

A quiz in Reality.

I like teachers. We have teachers in our family and among our close friends. I have witnessed the tears as teachers told us about kids they teach that are not thriving and my teacher-friends cannot break through or provide resources. I have listened as they considered quitting or retiring—giving up. I do not see aggressive, passive or ignorant spirit-murdering in them.

The past few days we have heard news reports that a portion of the money bill re: infrastructure, will go to finance re-education and rehabilitation of white teachers who are “spirit murdering” black and brown students.

Question: is spirit-murdering a Reality? Look at your answer—determination of your reality. What role did your 1) Worldview have? 2) Experience or lack of it? 3)Temperament? 4)Will? 5)Current relationship with God? Who is the Abolitionist Teaching Network talking about? What is the fruit of either conclusion?

Another question. What about the masses entering the USA by crossing the southern border? Is there a crisis? Humanitarian? Legal? Child abuse? What criteria factors into your Reality? Is that objective or subjective? What would you conclude about the role of Reality—objective values—who have a motivationally different view of reality?

Christianity makes a big deal about TRUTH and REALITY because the Bible does. To hear that we begin to build a worldview pre-school and much of it remains intact through life unless we experience a life altering game-changer. How many classes or sermons have you heard about that offered resources to rebuild that no longer feels valid? The conflict in Western civilization is about worldview and Reality from which we make decisions about truth. Should we not have tools to sort out what is true and real? I do not want to be shark bait!

My purpose is not to change your worldview. My intent is to shift your paradigm and mine from a Me-centered worldview to a Christ-centered worldview and then to adopt and grow into a Christ-Kingdom worldview and perception of Truth.

©2021 D. Dean Benton

1 thought on “Avoid Being Shark Bait

  1. Powerful reflection! Extremely sobering that we have become a society from the era of the Judges….yes, everyone does what is right in their own eyes….

    Your hope to change our society to a Christ-centered society based on God’s absolute Truth is an encouraging way to conclude the blog.

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