A modern application of the Socratic Method

by Max Maxwell

All Rights Reserved.

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John: It seems to me that either you believe the Bible or you don't. But if you feel the need to ask questions, I will try to help you the best I can.


Socrates: Thank you. If you were sick, whom would you want to help you make decisions about your medical care, just any man or woman, or would you want a doctor?


John: A doctor.


Socrates: If you wanted to invest money in the stock market, whom would you want to help you make decisions about your stock portfolio, a man, a woman, or someone with knowledge of the stock market?


John: I would want someone with knowledge of the stock market.


Socrates: If you were in legal trouble, whom would you want to help you make decisions pertaining to your case, a man, a woman, or a lawyer?


John: A lawyer.


Socrates: In all these cases, specific knowledge and skills grant the ability to make decisions.


John: That is true.


Socrates: Isn't all authority founded upon specific knowledge and skills?


John: Not all authority, no. There are rulers who use force to impose their will.


Socrates: Will the man who acts with God given authority be like a dictator who uses violence to establish his authority?


John: No, not at all. Out in the world when technical issues need to be decided, then one must have technical knowledge and skills. But the home is a different place. God's word tells us that the man is the head of the home over his wife. He does have the authority to be in charge, because God said it.


Socrates: I imagine that the Christian husband's authority still carries the power to make decisions in the home?


John: Yes.


Socrates: I would like to look into that. If we have a married couple, say the man is a carpenter and the woman is an emergency room doctor. If one of the kids falls from the backyard swing and is seriously injured, who has the authority to make decisions about the treatment of the child?


John: What is it with you and ship's captains and doctors, carpenters and lawyers? I am talking about the biblical authority that God has established. You keep talking like its career day at the High School.


Socrates: I hope you will have patience with me. You already know these things. I, however, am unfortunate in that I am ignorant. I know nothing about this authority, which God has established.  So please help me.  Do you honestly think that if the child is lying in the back yard with life threatening injuries, the husband's God given authority supersedes his wife's medical expertise?


John: No.


Socrates: In every area of life, do you believe that we should allow those who have greater knowledge and skills to make decisions which pertain to their expertise or allow people with little or no understanding to make those decisions.


John: I suppose that the people with expertise should make the decisions that are in their area of expertise.


Socrates: Then if the wife is a stockbroker and the husband is a forest ranger, who is more able to make decisions about the couple’s investments?


John: The wife.


Socrates: And if the wife is a lawyer and the husband is an artist, who is more able to make decisions about any family legal issues with regard to interpreting the law.  Is it the husband or the wife?


John: The wife.


Socrates:  If their car needs to be fixed, and the wife is an auto mechanic but the husband is not, who will be in a better position to make decisions about repairing the family’s car?


John: The wife.


Socrates: It looks like not all the decisions in the home fall under the auspices of God-given male authority.



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© Copyright 2008 Kenneth J. Maxwell Jr.