Tara the Typical
Tara the Typical holds to the same typical worldview as the majority of Americans. This typical worldview varies some with each individual, but at the core are several commonly held beliefs that were shaped from a variety of sources such as religious background, personal friends, school, entertainment choices (this is a huge factor) and family background.
At the heart of Tara the Typical's worldview is tolerance, individualism, self-expression, self-effort and self-gratification (can you say myspace.com!). Tolerance is the overriding principle that guides everything else in Tara's mind, so she sees all religions, lifestyles, sexual preferences, etc. as equally valuable and valid.
What Tara Believes
About Her Typical Worldview:
Tara believes it is wrong for any one religion to claim they are the only way to heaven, nirvana, etc., and it is also wrong to judge other people in their lifestyle and choices unless they are really bad. One of Tara's highest values is sincerity - as in it doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you are sincere (genuine and honest) in your beliefs. Tara feels that her worldview is what will get her what she wants out of life without hurting others.
Tara believes in God, but her view has been warped by the media and misinformation from family and friends.
About the Trinity:
Tara thinks the concept of the Trinity makes no sense, so she doesn't believe in it.
Tara believes that Jesus was a nice guy who said a lot of important things. She isn't quite sure if He is the Son of God, or even what that means.
About the Bible:
Tara believes that the Bible is a good book that should be treated with a certain amount of respect. Tara doesn't take the Bible too literally, though, because that's what turns people into intolerant extremists. Tara generally picks and chooses what parts of the Bible are true - like the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule.
About the Afterlife:
Tara believes in an afterlife where there is a heaven and hell, and the only people who go to hell are really bad people like murderers and rapists.
Tara believes that a person gets to heaven by having more good deeds than bad at the end of his/her life.
What the Bible Teaches
God identified Himself as "I Am" (Exodus 20:2) - meaning He is the self-existent (never had a beginning or end) eternal Creator of the universe. He is both loving AND holy, meaning He will judge sin (2 Timothy 4:1).
About the Trinity:
There is one God and yet three Persons (Isaiah 45:5; Deuteronomy 6:4; James 2:19). The Trinity is true whether or not it makes sense.
Jesus is fully God and fully man, He is the God of the universe (John 1:1, 14, 18; 8:58 ; 10:30 . Compare Titus 2:13 and Isaiah 45:21), and His death on the cross completely paid for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2). He was 'nice' when He lived on earth, but He was also sad, passionate, angry, tired, loving, and yes, even righteously judgmental of the stuck up religious people.
About the Bible:
The Bible alone is the word of God and is absolute truth. It is without error. It cannot and should not be added to or subtracted from (2 Timothy 3:16-4:4; Revelation 22:18-20), and it is also the ultimate authority on spiritual matters. Every word of it is inspired by God, so you can't just pick and choose what you 'think' is true.
About the Afterlife:
Those who trust in Christ alone as their only hope of salvation spend eternity in heaven; those who reject Christ spend an eternity in hell (John 5:24-30; Revelation 20:11-15). There will be many 'bad' people who trusted Christ and will be in heaven, and there will be many 'good' people who lived a great life but never trusted Christ who will be in hell.
Salvation is by faith in Christ ALONE on the basis of His death on the cross. (John 3:16-17, 36; 6:29, 47; Romans 4:1-5; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5) Good works are a natural result of our salvation, but they have nothing to do with our salvation. Sincerity is not the qualification for salvation...truth is - and Jesus claimed He was the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one gets into heaven except through Him (John 14:6). There are other religions who are sincere, but they are sincerely wrong.
Things to Remember
- Warning - Tara is extremely sensitive towards anything that sounds intolerant and/or judgmental, so approach with extreme caution! The best route to take is to first get her to see the inconsistencies and contradictions in her worldview. This is best done by asking penetrating questions like:
- Every major religion contradicts the others on major issues like who God is and how we get to heaven, so how can they all be right?
- If getting into heaven is a matter of being good and sincere, why did Jesus come to earth, die on the Cross, and come back from the dead?
- Osama Bin Laden claims to be a strict Muslim who planned the Two Towers attack partially out of a sincere religious belief called a Jihad. Do we have a right to judge him for that? Will he be in heaven as well?
- There are many areas in the physical life where there are absolute truths, like mathematics and science, so why wouldn't there be absolute truth in the spiritual world?
- Also, your personal testimony will be helpful in helping establish the credibility of your message.
For Further Research
- Pick up a copy of Greg Stier's book Dare 2 Share (copyright 2006, Tyndale)
- Check out http://media.dare2share.org/pdf/shareyourfaith.pdf