Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Selfish Pigs

Today on Watercooler Wednesday, we're talking about books or authors that really influenced you. And I'm going to talk about How to be Your Own Selfish Pig (and Other Ways You've Been Brainwashed) by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay. The book, aimed at teens, was written by the daughter of Christian apologist Francis Schaeffer.

It's a book that is old enough that my parents had it when I was a teen. I bought a copy when I moved out of the house.

I can still remember the day I read the first half. I was supposed to be dusting and spotted it on a book shelf. Mom had tried to get me to read it, but I hadn't been interested because it was non-fiction. But that day, I picked it up and started reading it. (See, things haven't changed. I still read mostly fiction and I get distracted from what I need to do by just about everything.)

Several chapters later, I moved it to my room to finish and got back to work.

There are several things that have stuck with me since that first read. I've reread it a couple times, and really need to do so again soon. Anyway, here's what I took away from the book.

1. It's okay to doubt. It means we're human. It's what you do with your doubts that make the difference. Do you let them crush you? Or do you turn them into a quest for answers.

2. Christianity isn't a blind faith. Now hear me out. I know Hebrews 1. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. And it is by faith we are saved (Eph. 2:8). What I am saying is that a faith in something true will be reflected in the world around us. It will explain why people behave the way they do. And it will be supported by historical evidence. Remember, Muslims and Buddists have just as much faith in their religion as Christians do. Why can we maintain we are right and they are wrong? Because our faith works with the world while theirs' doesn't.

3. There is evidence to back up the historical claims of Christianity. This wasn't a new revelation at this point in my life. But it was nice to read some of these things again.

4. There are people who won't get it no matter what you say or do. Some of the stories she shared in the story were almost funny in how condesending people were toward her. Heck, one of the chapter titles is "I bet you believe in the tooth fairy, too."

5. Logic is your friend. Ultimately, all this comes down to logic and thinking things through. It can be a scary process, but it will make you stronger.

It's funny because as a teen, I never went through a period were I truly doubted. As I said, most of the hard apologetics in the book were nothing new for me. But it was so freeing to read something that said the occasional doubt was okay. That Christianity should be reflected in the world around us, and showed how it was.

As I said, I wouldn't have called my faith weak before. But it was certainly stronger after I read the book. In fact, it was what I learned from that book that got me through my years in public high school.


Audra Krell said...

I'm wondering if I should get this book and casually leave it laying around for me teen to read. ; )

Mark Baker said...

It couldn't hurt. And you might like it, too.