Noticing that the hair on the top of my head was somewhat thin, an acquaintance contributed the dubious bit of wisdom that it is now a proven fact that if you eat six bananas a day, you will have a full head of black hair. “Ah, come on,” I countered. “Nobody but a monkey eats six bananas a day.” “Have you ever seen a bald-headed monkey?” the person—now a former friend—chided, adding, “That is proof that it works!”
OK, so much for that. It’s the same genre as the story about the man standing on the tarmac of an airport waving his arms for all he was worth. “What are you doing?” asked a policeman, wondering why he was there. “I’m frightening away the elephants,” he said calmly. “There are no elephants around here,” rebuts the policeman. “See, it works!” replied the man.
Surely there must be a term for such logic, apart from the word “absurd” or even “totally absurd,” yet it’s rather amazing to me how often we refuse to accept the obvious and attempt to convince ourselves that things are different from what they seem.
Long ago, Paul stood on an outcrop of rock in the shadow of the Acropolis in Greece and took on the skeptics who denied the reality of a living God who controls the affairs of our world. He talked about the absurdity of man’s wisdom, something which the Athenians took great pride in, and told them that it is the living God who sustains us and controls what happens in our world.
From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. “Go on up, you baldhead!” they said. “Go on up, you baldhead!” 2 Kings 2:23
When time allows, read the first couple of chapters of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians and notice how the situation he confronted parallels life today. Such as? Well, try these accepted and widely-held bits of wisdom.
- I am the captain of my soul, the master of my fate.
- If I really want something to happen, if I believe that it will strongly enough, it is bound to take place.
- It is not truth that is important, but the perception of truth. This means if you say something often enough and loudly enough, people will believe it—yourself included.
- It’s impossible for a person to be moral in an immoral world.
- All roads lead to God, so one religion is as good as another.
- Surely God wants His children happy, so whatever it takes to find happiness must surely square with His outlook.
- There are times when the end justifies the means.
- If everybody is doing it, surely it must be OK.
- If God could prevent evil and He doesn’t, then either He’s not in control or doesn’t care about you.
- Because God is love, He could never send someone to hell.
The fact is that most people believe the ten statements that I just made, all of which are in conflict with what the Bible says. What you believe to be true—whether it is that waving your arms overhead scares away elephants, or that eating six bananas a day will restore your hair—doesn’t alter the reality of how it is. Believing something doesn’t make it true.
That’s why you need to know some things for yourself because only then will you have the spiritual strength and protection you need. To be perfectly honest with you, I have no intention of checking out the six-bananas-a-day-hair-restoration idea. But I will continue to evaluate what I hear from the framework of truth and reality. That’s why God gave us the Bible, a sure ruler by which we can evaluate what is happening in our world and to our lives.
Until then, I guess I’ll still have to pay $20 for a haircut—$5 to cut it, and $15 to find it. Forget the bananas.
Resource reading: 1 Corinthians 1:1-31