So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious.”
When Paul addresses his audience in Athens, he does so with respect. He didn’t call the greeks pagans when he addressed them, he acknowledged that they we a very religious people. He showed respect for those he was teaching. A good teacher knows that if they want to be respected and to be heard, they must show respect for those they teach. If we want people to hear what we have to say concerning God’s word we need to start from a place of respect.
Attacking someone for what they believe, and disrespecting something they have understood as true is not the way to reason with someone about the word of God. Knowing something about what they believe and finding some common ground to talk about is a great place to start. That is what Paul did.
It behooves us to know something about other religions, cultures, and churches. Not just what we think they have wrong, so we can prove them wrong, but to know what they have in common with us to help them see we understand them and where they are coming from. When we possess knowledge of other religions, cultures and churches it shows those we are teaching that we aren’t teaching out of ignorance, but understanding. It shows them we have enough respect for them to know something about them and what they believe.
Paul reasoned with and respected Jew and gentile alike. Its a good example to follow.
© 2015 Leo J. Woodman