We often get to a place where we seem to only be able to see truth coming from within the safety of ‘our group.’
To admit that something from ‘the other side’ has any resonance of truth feels like to many people like compromise and giving up ground.
Can an atheist speak truth?
Can we acknowledge that ANYTHING the Koran says resonates of truth? Or something attributed to the Buddha?
What about a secular pop song?
We resist affirming statements have any truth to them when they come from ‘the other side’ of whatever.
But Paul did not.
Paul read – probably studied – Greek philosophy and poetry and noticed touchstones of truth.
We see this clearly in his interaction with the philosophers in Athens…
‘Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for
“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;
as even some of your own poets have said,
“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.’ Acts 17:28-29
These are two quotes that Paul uses positively from outside of the Jewish / Christian tradition. If you were to read the longer works, you’d see it’s all polytheistic(pagan) writing that a monotheist would not be very appreciative of.
When we as Christians read and listen to those who come from a worldview other than our own, we are going to find plenty to disagree with.
But why don’t we also look for and listen for things we DO find to contain at least some truth?
And when we talk with people, why don’t we lead with the things we might have in common instead of first highlighting the things that are in conflict?
That’s what Paul did.
And it worked.
I’m not saying that it will always work, but it will make you a more interesting, understanding and enjoyable person to be around.