Summary: Spiritual myths are abundant. My goal today is to acquaint you with some introductory information that will help you navigate these spiritual myths.
I have really good news this morning. We won’t have any financial concerns for quite some time to come! We’re going to have enough money to do anything we’ve ever dreamed of doing.
The good news came to me by an email at the end of this last week. The email is from a Christian widow in Nigeria. Her husband was a doctor and worked for a foreign embassy there. She told me in her email that she wanted to give several million dollars to a Christian cause because she is dying and has no children. She heard about us from an unnamed acquaintance.
I’m glad to hear that our church’s reputation has reached world-wide acclaim. And I’m trying to reach the lawyer she told me to contact. Now, this opportunity may cost us a few thousand dollars upfront, but we will certainly make up for it when we get the millions of dollars she is going to give us in the end.
Why do most of you have a look on your face that says, “You’re kidding, right? Didn’t your parents ever teach you that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is? Haven’t you heard about all the hoaxes just like the one you mentioned that are being passed around the Internet? ” Yes, I have.
Can you believe some of the things that people accept as true? There are a number of urban legends that have become part of our culture. Two of the most well-known ones are alligators in the sewer system of New York City and the mysterious, vanishing hitchhiker An urban legend is a story that appears mysteriously and spreads spontaneously in various forms and is usually false. It is basically contemporary mythology.
This morning, we start a sermon series called Mythbusters. A myth, for our purposes, is defined as a widely held but false belief or idea. Do you see the tie between myth and urban legend? It’s the word “false.”
The opposite of “false” is “true.” Jn. 8:31-32 – To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Human beings have always been gullible and quick to both believe and spread false stories that they have heard told by other people. Even when there are websites dedicated to debunking these false stories, they continue to flourish and spread. Even though conscientious people inform others concerning the difference between fact and fiction in these stories, people continue to pass them on to others.
There are beliefs that are true. They are trustworthy and accurate. There are beliefs, though, that are false. They are deceitful and untrustworthy.
I’m calling todays message “Mythology 101.” In college, introductory courses are marked by the designation number of 101. My goal today is to acquaint you with some introductory information that will help you navigate these spiritual myths.
It isn’t a breaking news story that smart people can do some pretty dumb things. But it’s also important for us to understand that smart people can also believe some pretty dumb things.
What would lead a military genius like Napoleon to believe his troops would not be severely affected by a harsh Russian winter? Yes, they were well-trained and well-equipped but there was a major flaw in Napoleon’s strategy. He assumed his troops would not be impacted in a major way by the Russian winter.
Why would an otherwise brilliant leadership team at IBM put all their eggs in one basket and focus on computer mainframes while practically giving away the PC – the personal computer – and its operating system to a young programmer named Bill Gates?
These mind-boggling decisions (and many more besides) were made by people far smarter than us. But in hindsight, they all look idiotic. So what happened? What caused smart people to make dumb decisions?
In each case, an otherwise intelligent person badly misinterpreted the facts, made an incorrect assumption, or relied upon information that we now know to be completely false. Their assumptions were flawed and the consequences were disastrous.
Sometimes they were confused by cultural bias (which at times can be so strong that it literally blinds us to the truth). In other cases, their underlying assumptions were so widely believed and accepted that no one thought to question those assumptions. Sometimes these people were done in by a bad case of wishful thinking. But whatever the cause, they weren’t alone.
History is full of examples of otherwise intelligent people who acted upon amazingly goofy assumptions. And they paid a high price for doing so. Flawed assumptions lead to wrong conclusions.
The warning for us is that as Christians, we aren’t immune to faulty assumptions. Even a highly moral, deeply sincere, smart Christian has no guarantee of protection from the consequences of a bad decision based on flawed assumptions.