Keith Wishum: Fish heads and faith
Grocery store owner Greg Green gained a reputation for quick wit and intelligence. He could converse easily with any customer about any subject. One ambitious young man, wanting to improve his own lot in life, asked one day, “Green, what makes you so smart?”
“I wouldn’t share my secret with just anyone,” Green replied. “But since you’re a good customer, I’ll let you in on it. Fish heads. You eat enough of them, you’ll be positively brilliant.”
“You sell them here?” the customer asked.
“Of course,” said Green, “Only $4 apiece.”
The customer bought three and hurried home to try out this new secret. A week later, he barged back into the store complaining, “Green, those fish heads tasted awful, and I don’t feel one bit smarter!”
“You have to give it time,” Green explained. “It takes more than three.” So, the young man bought 20 more fish heads and left. Two weeks later, he stormed back in, obviously furious.
“Hey, Green!” he yelled, “You’re selling me fish heads for $4 apiece when I can buy the whole fish for $2. You’re ripping me off!”
“See?” Green calmly replied. “You’re getting smarter already.”
People often too easily believe whatever they are told. Over the years, many have believed in God, Jesus, and the Bible simply because a parent or preacher said that it was true. In recent years, however, the more prevalent trend is just the opposite.
A professor proclaims the Bible to be a fictitious compilation to provide an “opiate for the masses,” and his students take him at his word. The claims of Jesus’ deity are said to be just an invention of the early church, and a culture anxious to reject tradition believes without investigation. The “enlightened” announce that creation is a myth, and much of the Western world says, “It must be so.”
Neither God, nor the Bible asks anyone to believe blindly. We are asked instead to think, to evaluate, and to investigate. The apostle Paul held intellectual discussions with “a group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers” (Acts 17:23). He argued that observing nature provides compelling evidence of God’s “eternal power and divine nature” (Romans 1:20). Christians are to “always be prepared to give an answer (a logical defense)” for their faith. (1 Peter 3:15).
Fish heads won’t likely make you smarter. Faith resulting from a careful evaluation of the evidence will.
Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church, Americus.