Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Personality and beliefs

AVI often writes that our beliefs often precede our justification of them.

I think I can supply an example each way.

I was talking with Middle Daughter yesterday and mentioned that I had lived my life on the principle that it was OK to leave some money on the table. The obvious citation for that is Leviticus 19:9. But I've been like that before I was a Christian, and well before I cared much about details of the old law.

To grab for every last penny in a free-for-all demands a kind of pushy personality (not me), and it seemed rather tasteless to concentrate so much on "relative stuff." When I was young I'd jump for every lost coin on the sidewalk, and when we were squeezing each nickel to make it act like a dime I was thankful for each coin I found. One day I asked myself(*)--"If I don't pick this up, some kid will. Which of us will get more joy out of the discovery?"(**) I haven't picked up lost change since then. I haven't gone so far as to deliberately drop any, though.

I don't like the kind of people or organizations who try to monetize every little detail of your interactions with them. Have you been to a baseball park lately? Any day now I'm expecting an ad offering an (extra-cost) ad-free section. And if pay toilets weren't often illegal... (I get it with ads in online stuff--I'm not explicitly paying for it and they have to earn a living somehow. But I paid for a ticket to the game!)

Realizing that the Leviticus passage held a principle that pertained today simply validated my existing habits of thought.

On the other hand, I remember thinking about immigration issues years ago, and being willing to defend a 2-tier system of natives and non-natives. Then somebody pointed out Leviticus 19:34, and my reaction was "Oh crud, I was wrong."

(*) I remember where I was at the time: a back street in a small Wisconsin town- my wife admiring the gardens and the houses- a bill blew along the sidewalk.

(**) And of course: who knows--the owner might come looking for it.

1 comment:

Tom Bridgeland said...

I had a friend who would drop change in front of gumball machines in stores, in hopes that small children would find it and buy candy. He was a generally unhappy man, and it pleased him to imagine adding pure joy to a small child's life.