SHOULD WE STOP ARGUING WITH PEOPLE WE DISAGREE WITH?


In the 1950s, the John C. Winston company, later to become part of Holt, Rinehart and Winston, published “Adventures in Science Fiction,” a series of juvenile hardcover novels that made up a collection of thirty-six books.

Some of the world’s greatest science fiction writers got their start with the series: Arthur C. Clarke, best known for 2001: A Space Odyssey, Ben Bova, Lester Del Rey, Donald Wollheim, and Poul Anderson. The books carried an original price of $2.00. Today, depending on condition and the author, a first edition with a dust jacket can cost as much as $500.00.

In addition to the wonderful stories, the books are worth collecting for the cover art. While the books are dated in terms of technology (the use of computers is minimal), the stories reflect the moral worldview of post-World War II America. In addition, a teenager would find a great deal of worldview wisdom sprinkled throughout the 200+ pages of each book.

Here’s an example from Paul Dallas’ The Lost Planet, a story about how two teenagers avert a war between their home planets. The scene takes place just before the teenager from Earth boards a spaceship and travels to the distant planet Poseida:

As he spoke, the general seemed to become preoccupied with thoughts of the military situation, and he absently deployed salt and pepper shakers with knives and forks on the table, setting up in front of him an imaginary military problem in the field. “It is a basic truism,” he continued, “that wherever possible the best defense is a good offense. Now if we are attacked,” and he brought a piece of silverware in toward the plate that was obviously representing Planet Earth, “not only do we defend the point under immediate attack but,” and here several pieces were quickly moved from the plate Earth to the butter dish from which the attack had originated, “we immediately counterattack at the source of the aggression. After all, if you cut off the head, you have no need to fear the arms.”

Dallas has the General making a crucial point about fighting and winning against an enemy. As we will see, the best defense, no matter how good, requires a good offense. Defending the Christian worldview against unbelieving thought takes an understanding that every worldview has a centralized guiding principle that serves as the head that directs belief and action to the arms and legs.

By going after the head, as David did to Goliath (1 Sam. 17) and an unnamed woman did to Abimelech (Judges 9:52–55), the attacking opposition dies, no matter how strong the arms and legs and the army retreats (Neh. 4). Christians tend to attack symptoms, the rotten fruit of unbelieving thought, rather than expose the root that gives life to the tree. The Bible tells us, “The ax is already laid at the root of the trees” with the result that “every tree . . . that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matt. 3:10; 7:19; Luke 3:9; 13:7; John 15:2, 6).

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