Third day on Bill Fay’s 5 questions. We might title this one:
Are Bill Fay’s 5 Questions Relevant in North America? (Part 3)
On Thursday, my friend Matt Stephens suggested that Bill Fay’s five questions may not be effective in cultures that have no Judeo-Christian heritage. Here’s the paragraph. Matt is a young thinker that I have great respect for so I want to give his thoughts some serious analysis even though I disagree with him. (For Matt’s complete comment go to Thursday’s initial post.)
 I also think the whole method is pretty irrelevant outside of a Christendom context.  It assumes people have heard of Jesus and heaven and hell, and have a basic acceptance of the existence of an afterlife, if not a conception of it in terms of “place.”  It also requires them to trust that you, or at least the Bible, are a trustworthy source of Truth.  Unfortunately, the majority of Americans consciously deny the latter, along with being overtly hostile to the slightest hint of uninvited proselytization.
I have labeled the sentences with numbers in brackets [ ] to make it easier to follow my comments.
I want to push back a bit on this one because my own experience is contrary to what Matt suggests. But actually before I do, let me point out that Matt’s comments are global in sentences 1-3, and national in sentence 4. This is important. Since my blog is in English and is devoted primarily to the North American context I might just dismiss the first 3 sentences as an objection that is meaningless to the discussion but I can’t do that with the fourth sentence.
But I don’t think Matt’s first three sentences are meaningless; I think they are wrong. Here’s why:
- As a North American blogger, the majority of my audience and the people I train are not living outside of a Judeo-Christian context.
- Most people in America have heard of Jesus, do have some notion of heaven or hell, and do believe in some afterlife etc.
- My questions are just questions. They don’t require anyone to trust me or the Bible as trustworthy sources of truth.
- People’s views are their views and I am getting information about their views with each question. This allows me to be sensitive and clear when the conversation turns and becomes more gospel and Christo-centric.
- Even when the person I am talking to has no Judeo-Christian background, these questions still work because they begin with “their spiritual belief system” not mine.
- If they have never heard of Jesus, I have learned something when they ask me a question back.
- While conceptions of heaven and hell vary from culture to culture, any afterlife question raises ultimate issues. This is a good thing and helps me to learn. (See #4 above)
Now to Matt’s fourth sentence which is more relevant to my blogging audience. Matt makes a good point and I will take that up on Monday with part 4.