Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Eye of the Beholder

Good Lord Boyet, my beauty, though but mean,
Needs not the painted flourish of your praise:
Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye,
Not utter'd by base sale of chapmen's tongues.
- Shakespeare, Love's Labours Lost, 1588

Remember that episode of the Twilight Zone?

It was about a woman who wanted plastic surgery to correct her "horrible deformities", but the nature of her problem was so terrible that surgery was not indicated, but rather "experimental" treatments. The woman recounts how one of her first memories is of another little girl screaming at the sight of her. The whole thing is shot in the shadows. You never see any of the doctors or nurses, just hear their patronizing remarks about how pathetic and ugly she is.

At the end of the episode, we discover that beauty is, as the saying goes, in "the eye of the beholder".

So it is with just about everything.

People of good will earnestly disagree about many topics, especially politics and religion. Their position makes sense to them, they believe it to be reasonable, they may even believe they can back it up with facts.

That there are homeschoolers, pro-lifers and Christians who can support Obama for President on any level is incomprehensible to me.

But I don't want to talk politics today.

Just perception.

Politically, some people are "liberals", some are "conservatives". Some are "individualists", and some are "collectivists". Some are "constitutionalists", and some are "revisionists" What do those words even mean? People bandy them about, without realizing that they may mean something different to the people who are listening.

People believe a lot of things about God that I will not recount here. But for the purpose of this discussion, some people believe "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Others believe in the Big Bang theory.

Some believe that God intervenes in the affairs of men, and more specifically, that He intervened in the history of the United States. Some don't, and more specifically, the curriculum committee at the University of California.

I have written here at length about the lawsuit by Calvary Chapel Christian School against the University of California. In the sidebar, there is a list of prior posts about this topic. Some of them take the position that UC discriminated against the Christian students because they refused to accept certain texts that took the positions listed above. Several of them contain rebuttals by someone associated with the University. Finally, I was persuaded that the University was not mandating a secular education in order for a student to be considered to matriculate at UC.

The other day, I came across this document while looking at my Google Alerts about UC and this lawsuit.

I probably would never have written the original article from the perspective of Christian persecution had I read this first.

The eye of the beholder.

This document served as a reminder to me to be very careful to read all the opposing views and any source documents before taking a position about anything. All the articles I read that were written on this topic were heavily slanted one way or the other.

Which further reminds me in this political season not to believe everything I read or every out-of-context sound bite I hear - on the internet or anywhere else. Paul commended the Bereans for "they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." (Acts 17:11)

How much more should we seek out the truth, in this "time of universal deceit."

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