Swallowing Dinosaurs

I suppose I ought to justify the title of my blog.  What the heck does “Swallowing Dinosaurs” have to do with anything?

I’ll try to explain my admittedly bizarre title with my admittedly bizarre reasoning.  But first, a little about myself.  I’m an undergraduate student studying philosophy.  I’m also a Christian.  I love apologetics.  And I’m a girl.  I don’t know why, but people are often surprised at that combination.  Go figure.

I’ve been informed that the first blog entry is always the worst, so I suppose the pressure’s off to come up with anything profound to dazzle your mind with at this moment.  That being said, I’m going to admit that I chose the title “Swallowing Dinosaurs” mainly because I thought it sounded cool.  But, there’s a little more to it than that.

In Matthew 23, Jesus taught against the hypocritical religious leaders of his day.   He said, among other things, that they were “straining out gnats and swallowing camels.”  That is, they were known to obsess over the little details of their religious practices (like tithing herbs), to the point that they ignored the more important things (like avoiding pride, greed, and lust.)  The Arabians apparently had a similar saying: “He eats an elephant and chokes on a gnat.”

Since the camel was the biggest animal the Palestinians knew about and the elephant was the biggest animal the Arabians knew about, it stands to reason that a modern “dynamic equivalent” of the phrase would be to say that one “strains out a gnat and swallows a dinosaur.”

And we all do it.  Those poor dinosaurs get swallowed up every day [insert corny dinosaur extinction joke here].  We all get obsessed with the little things that we are convicted about, and think everyone else ought to be as convicted as we are.  “How dare you celebrate Halloween!  That’s Satan’s holiday.”  “How can you call yourself a Christian and say that the earth is older than 6000 years?”  “The old hymns are way better than this modern garbage.”  “If you don’t lead at least 5 people to Christ a year, there’s something wrong with you.”

Meanwhile, we tend to neglect the more important things.  Mostly, the gospel — the fact that Jesus died so we don’t have to, and rose again that we might rise as well.
I’m going to mention that I don’t think that the dinosaur-swallowing principle is limited to morality and doctrinal prioritization.  People believe a lot of outlandish (false) things.  I’m not going to name names or cite any weird doctrines.  But I’ve noticed that even while people defend indefensible ideas, they criticize the beliefs of others that are no more (and often less) difficult to swallow.

I intend to use this blog to discuss my thoughts about philosophy, religion, and other things in general.  I do a lot of thinking, and hope other people can benefit from my reflections.  That being said, this blog will be somewhat self-reflective.  It’s hard to talk to people about the gospel when they sense you have a brontosaurus stuck in your throat.  So, part of this writing process is my learning to pick the gnats out of my theology (and the theology of others) only after I pick out the camels, elephants, and dinosaurs.  And hopefully, it’s a process I’ll be able to inspire in others, whether they agree with my beliefs or not.

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