In early October, some members of a Cree Indian village approached their chief and asked if it was going to be a cold winter. Not really knowing the answer, the chief replied that the winter would likely be cold, as all winters are to some degree. He advised his people to collect wood to make sure they had adequate fuel to heat their homes.
Their question, however, caused the chief to wonder what the coming winter would actually be like. He called the local office of the National Weather Service and asked, “Do you expect this to be a cold winter?” The man responded, “Yes, we anticipate that this winter will be a very cold one.”
The chief called the people of the village together and told them what he had learned. He urged them to collect more wood than usual so that they would be prepared for abnormally cold weather.
A week later the chief decided to call the Weather Service again, just to confirm the previous prediction. “Do you really expect an unusually cold winter?” asked the chief. “Yes, that is what we are anticipating,” was the reply. The chief again gathered the people of the village and implored them to collect three times as much wood for fuel as they had the previous year. “The Weather Service is predicting an exceptionally cold winter. We must be prepared,” he said.
Mild weather and temperatures persisted through the month and into November, and the villagers gathered a huge amount of wood. One day the chief made another call to the Weather Service and asked, “Are you still confident in your prediction that this winter is going to be extremely cold?” “Absolutely,” the man replied. “The Cree have been collecting wood like crazy, and they always seem to know what a winter is going to be like.”
Friends, there are numerous lessons to learn from this story, the most obvious being that no one but the Lord can be certain about what type of temperatures this next winter will bring. It is also a good illustration of the folly of circular reasoning, where beliefs and opinions are confirmed on the basis of those same beliefs and opinions. An obvious example is someone saying, “I know my friend is not lying because she told me she always tells the truth.”
One of the most common examples of this faulty type of is the claim that “science finds no evidence that an intelligent designer, such as God, brought the universe into being.” However, since many scientists are committed to consider only “scientific and naturalistic explanations,” it is hardly a surprise that they don’t find any evidence for a supernatural Creator. Rather than being focused on discovering the truth, these folks often are committed to finding a truth consistent with naturalistic assumptions. It is much better if we have the courage to follow the quest for truth wherever that leads, even if it leads to God.
Rev. Dan Erickson
Senior Pastor, Chisholm Baptist Church