-Rev Melissa Fain-
8 The boy grew and stopped nursing. On the day he stopped nursing, Abraham prepared a huge banquet. 9 Sarah saw Hagar’s son laughing, the one Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham. 10 So she said to Abraham, “Send this servant away with her son! This servant’s son won’t share the inheritance with my son Isaac.”
11 This upset Abraham terribly because the boy was his son. 12 God said to Abraham, “Don’t be upset about the boy and your servant. Do everything Sarah tells you to do because your descendants will be traced through Isaac. 13 But I will make of your servant’s son a great nation too, because he is also your descendant.” 14 Abraham got up early in the morning, took some bread and a flask of water, and gave it to Hagar. He put the boy in her shoulder sling and sent her away.
She left and wandered through the desert near Beer-sheba. 15 Finally the water in the flask ran out, and she put the boy down under one of the desert shrubs. 16 She walked away from him about as far as a bow shot and sat down, telling herself, I can’t bear to see the boy die. She sat at a distance, cried out in grief, and wept.
17 God heard the boy’s cries, and God’s messenger called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “Hagar! What’s wrong? Don’t be afraid. God has heard the boy’s cries over there. 18 Get up, pick up the boy, and take him by the hand because I will make of him a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well. She went over, filled the water flask, and gave the boy a drink. 20 God remained with the boy; he grew up, lived in the desert, and became an expert archer. 21 He lived in the Paran desert, and his mother found him an Egyptian wife.
Genesis 21:8-21 CEB
Let's clear this up before I continue: It is super easy to be a Christian in the United States today. If you think I'm talking about being a Christian in 2000's USA, just put that away. People might not like that I'm an ordained female minister, but no one is trying to kill me for this fact. People might groan when someone starts evangelizing in public, but that's not a life threatening statement. When we start this crap about being a disenfranchised group we are completely demeaning real disenfranchised groups who stand for their faith in the face of death.
Okay- I'm putting my soapbox away.
This is about understanding logical fallacies. I lived in this topic while on Reddit. The straw man, the Fallacy Fallacy, and the Black and White were some of the favs used to poorly make a point. My daughter is a master of the straw man and Black and White. She loves to take my initial point, create a straw man, and suggest I'm actually trying to destroy her. Poor girl doesn't realize I spent 5 years dismantling those adolescent arguments online.
The fallacy I want to talk about specifically is called the Band Wagon Fallacy. This is the belief that something is true because most people believe or follow it. It's an easy one to fall into, because deep down inside we find comfort in the crowd. Only, we have historical events where following the crowd was not only wrong but deadly. In the Victorian era people were dying in their own houses because everyone was buying items with a vibrant color of green. That vibrant color of green was made using arsenic. Babies would put their green toys in their mouth, and minutes later die. Women were growing sick while lying on their green couches. There was something causing women to faint in their green drawing rooms.
The common thought for the time period was to say this shade of green was an important color to add to the home, that women were prone to fainting because of being women, and babies had to be at least one before they were strong enough to survive. The truth was that it was arsenic really killing the population. It was an unpopular view, but it didn't make it less right being unpopular.
That's an obvious example, but a not so obvious example lies in the pews. The church is living in the Band Wagon Fallacy. If they are meeting with people who think like them, than they must be in the right. Right? General agreement doesn't mean something is truth. The Israelites had a general belief that they were doing the right thing, and a few prophets later they're mourning in Babylon.
We want to believe God lives in the climate controlled church, because so many will sit beside us on a Sunday morning. We want to believe we have the higher ground because there are a few voices willing to back us up. God doesn't choose the loudest voice. God doesn't stand with the crowd. God is right, wherever right may be. God is not the popular choice.
Let us pray:
Dear God, Help me see when being with the crowd is wrong. Help me walk the right path, not the popular one. Amen.