When Your Life’s on the Line, Accuracy Is More Important Than Sincerity
by J Warner Wallace
Police officers are required to qualify with their service weapons on a regular basis. At our agency, we qualify every month, shooting a standard qualification course in our range. This qualification includes what we call a “failure drill”, testing our accuracy under stressful conditions. When officers use their weapons in the field, it’s in response to a life threatening challenge; their lives are on the line. Accuracy is critical. It’s not enough to shoot at the person who is trying to kill you; officers must be accurate enough to stop the assailant quickly and completely. There’s no room for error. It’s not enough to have tried; in that critical moment, the only thing that matters is accuracy. For this reason, our range masters will not allow officers to work in the field unless they can pass the weapon qualification at a high level. I’ve been in the range when an officer missed passing by a single point (a single missed round). Many have tried to talk their way out of having to practice and take the test again. Many were sincere in their efforts and missed passing by the smallest of margins. Our range masters are unflinching, however. If you don’t pass, even by a single misplaced round on the target, you can expect to start all over again. Our range masters know: When your life’s on the line, accuracy ends up being the most important attribute an officer can have.
It’s no different when it comes to our spiritual lives.
Many of my friends are not Christians. I was not raised in a Christian environment and most of my extended family members are either atheists or Mormons. I also have many friends who claim one version of theism or another, and most of these have developed a rather personal view of God, unrepresented by traditional religious systems or denominations. Our notions of God are different and contradictory. We define the nature of god, the nature of Jesus, the nature of the afterlife and the nature of salvation very differently. These contradictions between theistic worldviews present a dilemma. We can all be wrong about what we believe, but we can’t all be right; our views are contradictory, after all. None of us may have an accurate understanding or one of us may have an accurate understanding, but all of us can’t be accurate, given our conflicting beliefs about God…
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