The Battle Over Feelings vs. Truth: The #1 Christian Trap

Craig HueyCulture, Faith3 Comments

In a recent survey, 60% of Americans agreed with this statement: “Religious belief is a matter of personal opinion; it is not about objective truth.”

 

Of the remaining 40% of survey respondents:

  • 30% disagreed with the statement
  • 10% said they weren’t sure

 

Regular church goers were more evenly split:

  • 45% agreed that religious belief is opinion-based, not truth-based
  • 49% believed the opposite: religious belief is based on objective truth

 

Evangelicals were the only group in which a majority disagreed with the statement:

  • 32% agreed that religious belief is opinion-based, not truth-based
  • 62% believed the opposite: religious belief is based on objective truth

 

For a majority of Americans … and for Western culture ingeneral … objective truth – what is true for everyone whether they believe it or not – exists only in the hard sciences such as chemistry, physics, biology, astronomy, geology, etc.

 

In the areas of religious belief and the spiritual realm, most people believe objective truth doesn’t exist – only relativism exists.

 

Relativism is the idea that what’s true for you is true foryou … and what’s true for me is true for me. And if our beliefs of what is true contradict each other, that’s okay. Both or our contradictory beliefs are“true.” There is no right or wrong – correct or incorrect – religious belief.

 

This relativistic worldview – called post-modernism by philosophers – is the pervasive system of thought taught in government-runpublic high schools and colleges today…

 

It diametrically opposes the classical belief – and the Biblical teaching – about truth … which says that truth is a relation between two things:

  1. the way things are (reality)
  2. the way I take things to be (my beliefs)

 

In other words, truth exists when “the way things are” matches – or corresponds to – “the way I take things to be.”

 

How does one know for sure “the way things are?”

 

From an authoritative source…

 

As Christians, our authoritative source is the Bible – the word of God Himself. The Bible describes all things – God, Satan, nature, the animal kingdom, mankind, sin, salvation, death, judgment – the way they actually are.

 

If we take all things to be just as they are explained to be in the Bible, then our beliefs, our thoughts, our words and our actions will be based on objective truth, not feelings.

 

This forms the foundation of a Biblical worldview.

 

But sadly, a growing number of people – Christians included – begin sentences with, “I feel like…” and then state a belief.

 

For example, “I feel like God answers my prayers.” Or, “I feel like everyone will go to heaven whey they die.” Or, “I feel like gay marriage is okay.”

 

Christians from Biblical times to today who have been tortured and martyred for their faith have never said, “I feel like I believe in Jesus” before they were murdered.

 

If as Christians we talk like this, it’s either because we don’t know what the Bible teaches, or because we don’t believe what the Bible clearly teaches.

 

Tragically, for many evangelicals, the relativistic culture in which we live is more influential in their lives than the word of God.

 

Relativism … and also naturalism – the belief that only physical things exist – form the foundation of a secular worldview.

 

More than half of evangelicals – 51% — believe God “accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.” This despite the clear declaration of Jesus: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

 

Jesus also declared that the church – the “called-out ones” –would be built on the recognition that He is “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and that the gates of hell would not be able to with stand the assault of those who built their lives upon that truth (Matthew 16:16, 18).

 

It’s not surprising that the community of Christian faith in the 21st century is increasingly fractured and less stable than in previous centuries … when so many have lost sight of the foundation of their faith.

 

 

What do you think? Email me at [email protected].

 

 

Here are this week’s articles:

3 Comments on “The Battle Over Feelings vs. Truth: The #1 Christian Trap”

  1. Craig, that was a interesting question which I reread several times before I was able to answer. After I thought about it for a few seconds I realized what I know to be true, that the Bible is the true word of God and if we are truly believers the Holy Spirit will guide us to Him as the One. I believe many Christian people attend churches that don’t do a good job teaching His word the Bible. If we don’t believe He is the true God why do people bother to go to church!

  2. Craig, your analysis is spot-on, incisive even, about the issue of opinion vs. immutable truth. What bothers me in this particular survey is that the drafters phrased their question (and others related to it) horribly! Is the question addressing what the survey-taker believes, what he thinks the average citizen believes, or what one should believe? Extremely poor wording like this skews the entire range of answers so that the results are totally unreliable. I could have answered the question yes or no depending on how I tried to decipher what the survey-taker was trying to find out. If you have any input into what these Christian academia-ensconced survey writers concoct carelessly in these important surveys, please admonish them to be careful in their preparation of the questions! I would really like to know meaningfully accurate results, if only they were truly indicative of what self-identifying Christians are truly thinking. Nevertheless, your article hits the nail on the head, regardless of the tainted results — thanks.

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