A Favorite Story About The Need to Think for Yourself

I am digressing a bit in this post to share a favorite story that I read not too long ago. It is about the need to think for yourself despite what a leader or someone in authority might tell you is true. It can apply to a number of things including courtship and dating but more importantly other spiritual areas.

Charles II Story:

Charles II once stood before a group of scholars at meeting of the Royal Society of England and proposed this question to the august assembly: “Gentlemen, if I place upon these scales a pail of water weighing 10 pounds, and place in the water five live fish each weighing one pound, why is it that the scales still remain precisely at 10 pounds?”

Well the wise men belatedly debated the matter trying to solve the king’s question. One suggested that the fish have air sacs which buoy them up. Perhaps this was the answer. Another muttered something about a “theoretical vacuum.” Others propounded theories of “ungravitating gravitation.”

Finally the king’s voice silenced their discussion: “Gentleman you are all mistaken. When one places five one-pound fish in a pail of water weighing ten pounds, the scales must certainly read fifteen pounds. Your failure to answer my question discloses that you place too much confidence in me, your king.

All too often we accept statement without asking the right questions. Millions accept what someone has told them – without personally analyzing the facts for themselves. And this is probably more true in the realm of religion than anywhere else.

From: “Reach Out for Life” by E. Lonnie Melaschenko Chapter 3

How many of us and how many times do we hear something taught and strive to believe it is true just because someone in a position of authority or who is well respected indicates it is true? Are we doing this even if warning signals in our mind and heart go up questioning what was said? Why do we sometimes put so much faith in what some “respected” leaders tell us without at least questioning it?

Do we sometimes look to explain why the scale would still read 10 pounds when we know that there is no probable way it could? What teaching have you been “taught” that you may be doing something similar on?

Something to ponder.

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4 Responses to “A Favorite Story About The Need to Think for Yourself”

  1. the guy behind the scene Says:

    Interesting post. I have been involved with many types of organizations that have this issue (and it’s not just related to church). There are many times when people are told “that’s just the way it is – accept it” and they move on.

    Particularly this issue crops up within Charismatic circles, usually because the “leader” has been “appointed by God” and is the only one in the congregation that actually “hears from God” and thus, knows the truth.

    I, fortunately, was given a questioning spirit :). I’ve always asked the “why” question, much to the chagrin of those in leadership positions. I call it the “Emporers New Clothes Syndrome”, where everyone surrounding the “leader” just agreed and said what they thought should be said.

    Interesting story – once, I was in a church service, where there was a special singer performing. He had the usual audience participation, in which he would say something like, “say ‘Praise the Lord'” and everyone would. This had gone on for a bit and he looked up to the sound booth to prompt the sound guy to ready his next song. In doing so, he said, “play song four”, meaning for the sound guy to cue up the 4th track on his backing CD. The lady next to me looked at me with fervor in her eyes and robotically repeaded to me “play song four!”…as if that was a proclamation from God Himself.

  2. steve240 Says:

    Guy behind the scene

    I like your story also. It sure shows how we can get conditioned or in a trance and say just about anything.

    Hopefully we all learn to be more like the Bereans who searched the Scripture to see if what was being said was true.

  3. Just the Facts, Please… | The Wartburg Watch 2014 Says:

    […] A Favorite Story About The Need to Think for Yourself […]

  4. Too Much Confidence In Authority | The Society of Phineas Says:

    […] A wonderful illustrative story I’ve found, illustrating what I’ve said elsewhere in terms of truth and how people see authority: […]

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