How important is good reading to a discussion? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I am a strong supporter of good reading. As it stands, right now I’m going through Behind The Scenes of the Old Testament which is a very big book. Why? Because I want to be more informed on the matters that I talk about. I am of the mindset that those who do not read will always be at the mercy of those who do.
Yet I also want to encourage a look at the opposite approach. Sometimes when I am in dialogue with a non-Christian, I will ask them when was the last time they read a book on this topic that disagreed with them. I’m not surprised that I really can’t think of one time that that question was answered well.
If you want to go out there and talk with people who disagree with you, it helps you greatly to know what they really think. You can get some of that from reading comments or maybe watching videos or articles and blogs on the internet, but the fullest treatment to be found is often in the books. Not only should you read books, but you should read books by the best minds that you can find.
Most scholars don’t put out their work for free because like most of us, they have bills to pay as well. If you watch a YouTube video or debate of one of them speaking, you will, in essence, get a picture and a paragraph. You will get a Reader’s Digest version of what they think and why. The fullest treatment to be found is in the books.
When I meet a non-Christian who is not willing to read, I just don’t take them seriously. It’s not a shock that usually the arguments they have then arguments from outrage or arguments from incredulity. Many people who claim to be on the side of reason honor it with their lips, but their heads are far from it.
Let’s also consider the irony here. These are people who often talk about Christians living in their own little bubbles and not wanting to have anything to do with a contrary thought. Sadly, sometimes they are right about that. The problem is when they refuse to read the best books that disagree with them, they’re doing the exact same thing. They are refusing to consider any contrary thought and what a shock that they don’t change their minds.
If you are someone who is out there in the field and doing debates with skeptics, I urge you to know their material well. I urge you to know it so well that if you had to, you could put on the skeptic hat and make a better presentation for their side than their opponents could. If you don’t know a subject matter, don’t argue about it. You’re being just as bad as your opponents are then. Make sure you’re doing the reading about what you believe, but read about what you don’t believe as well. It will help you in the long run.