Beyond the Superficial
"What does a stranger look like?", asked Mrs. Judith to her second-grade class. "Can anyone tell me?"
Little Billy raised his hand high before the teacher called on him.
"A stranger is tall, wears all black, and has a thick mustache!", responded Billy enthusiastically.
-A Ficticious Classroom
Not long ago, I had a conversation with a friend. We were talking about inventions, and the following question came up. Of all inventions, which one has had the greatest impact on mankind?
I remembered that similar question being asked on a radio show, a while back. So I told him what they had concluded. According to them, the printing press is the most influential invention of all time.
Upon hearing this choice, my friend quickly disagreed. "Maybe the printing press is one of the top one hundred." he said.
Unlike my friend, I agreed with the "printing press" choice, but it was only after giving it some thought. We then began to think more deeply of how the invention of the printing press has revolutionized the world.
The discovery of electricity is one choice that had come to mind as the most revolutionary discovery. However, without books and the printing press, few people would know of this discovery. Before the invention of the printing press, copies of any written material had to be produced by hand. For this reason, wide-spread knowledge was relatively scarce. However, because of the printing press, not only could knowledge be passed and distributed farther distances more quickly and abundantly, but because if it, knowledge has now also been preserved for countless future generations, much more easily.
When you start to think of the printing press, in these terms, it's easy to recognize just how revolutionary the invention has been.
Many notions seem superficial, at first glance, until you take the time to observe them in more detail. It's only when you "think things through" that you are able to recognize the depth of certain ramifications. After thinking things through, the printing press seems like a good choice.
Here's an example of what I'm talking about when it comes to thinking things through. Most people have heard the following statement. "The Devil is a liar". It's a very popular statement, but few people actually take the time to recognize the deep ramifications of such a simple statement. Many times, we hear the statement, but don't pay much attention to it. This is even true for most of those who believe the statement to be true. There are many statements that easily fall into this category. Here are a few others -- "God is wiser than humans" and "No one knows the mind of God". There are a lot of people who quickly agree with these statements, but few take the time to really think about them. So lets see what happens if we choose to pay special attention to these statements. What happens if we "think things through" beyond the superficial.
The statement about the Devil being a liar, was openly said by Jesus a long time ago. Here's a portion of scripture from the Bible:
"Jesus said to them, 'If God really were your Father, you would love me, because I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own authority, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to listen to my message. You are the children of your father, the Devil, and you want to follow your father's desires. From the very beginning he was a murderer and has never been on the side of truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is only doing what is natural to him, because he is a liar and the father of all lies. But I tell the truth, and that is why you do not believe me. Which one of you can prove that I am guilty of sin? If I tell the truth, then why do you not believe me? He who comes from God listens to God's words. You, however, are not from God, and that is why you will not listen.'"