When Is “Good” Good Enough?

th (1)Your son walks in, test paper in hand. You glance over and wince, seeing the big “60” in red ink at the top.

“Don’t worry,” he says, “I did good on this test.”

You ignore the faulty grammar. One problem at a time, you think, mulling over in your mind just how long you will ground him.

“No, really,” he persists, “you should have seen the other scores. Mine was really good!”

“Good,” you think out loud, “how can you call a sixty good?”

“Check it out,” he calls out over his shoulder as he walks away, “you’ll see.”

He’s seems confident and he may have a point, so you call the teacher. After all, without knowing more about the class and the test, how can you really know?

After the call, you head to the family room, where you find your son on the couch, legs propped up while he’s staring at the tube.

“I’ve got good news and bad news,” you begin. “The good news is that you did, indeed, get the highest score in the class. Congratulations. The bad news is that you all flunked!”

What does this little parent’s nightmare have to do with apologetics? Well, the young man in this story bears a pretty strong resemblance to many of the secularists you will encounter today. They have a pretty strong intuitive notion that they’re doing pretty “good” on this little test called life, so if there is a God – and they’re not granting there is, mind you – well, they’re just not that worried about it. After all, they think, they’re not doing anything really bad, like killing people or stealing, and more importantly, they’re just like the rest of the “class” – all of their role models, their friends, their acquaintances. Each of them can think of a gazillion others who would be much worse than themselves.

If you are trying to present the Good News of salvation to such a person, you might find them a bit less than interested in hearing what you have to say. Even if you are presenting an intellectually solid case, you may not get much traction. After all, you are in essence offering to tutor him when he thinks he’s already getting an A. Or, more precisely, you’re asking him to study harder, maybe do some extra credit homework, we he thinks he is simply auditing the class, or that everyone passes. He doesn’t need your answers, your solution to the problem, until he first begins to realize that he may well be “flunking” the class. This analogy, and others like it, can be a pretty good starting point to get the modern-day secularist thinking about what he may not have thought about before:

just where did he get this notion that he would be graded on a curve?

In my next post, I’ll try to flesh out in a bit more detail how you might go about doing that.

Posted by Al Serrato

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