Why Sincere Belief Is Not Enough. I mentioned in a previous article that I had been in a conversation with another Christian that didn’t believe that there was evidence for certain aspects of the Bible. He made the following statement to me on a post:
History relies on certain proofs like artifacts and written documents from the time. The Bible has very little scientific proof in it (creation, the resurrection, are two examples). And while some historical evidence can be found, there isn’t much for the OT (no evidence of the Hebrews being slaves in Egypt, and not even any archeological evidence that David ever existed). BUT the Bible IS a book of faith which I completely embrace as the guiding principal of my life.”
What’s The Problem?
While this statement may sound very inclusive and open minded, it is factually incorrect. I try to extend grace in situation like this. The other person may simply not know about the large amount of corroborating evidence for the historicity of the Bible.
I think there is danger is holding or passing along this misconception, however. If the Bible is “Just a book of faith”, then it is no different from any other religious text. Under this view, no one religion stands out. Everyone is good as long as they have a sincere belief.
Sincere Belief And The Two Story House
This is a dangerous presupposition. Why dangerous? Because it treats religious claims as less valuable than scientific claims. It basically creates what Francis Shaeffer referred to as the two-story house.
On the first level of the house we have things like Science, math and logic. The things in the first story of the house are cognitive ideas that count as real knowledge. These can be known with great certainty. The statements made in these fields are either right or wrong. They do not change based on the feelings of the person that makes the claims.
The second story of the house is where the non-cognitive ideas live. Most of the people in our postmodern culture place ideas like religion, beauty and even moral claims on this level. These are ideas that are personal. They cannot be found to be right or wrong. The truth of them lies with the individual.
Are Religions Subjective Or Objective?
So what’s the problem? Well, as long as all religions are subjective, there isn’t one. Whatever your flavor of ice cream is, go ahead and pick it! Good for you! You found something that works for you. Awesome!
But what if there is truth in religion? Then things are very different. All of a sudden, what we believe about God, the nature of man, sin, right and wrong and salvation all have consequences. We would be foolish to think that whatever lies on the other side of death changes with each person’s desires. In other words, you could be sincerely wrong!
Why Sincerity Doesn’t Matter
This is why religion matters. If Christianity is true, then there are inevitable results to what we do in this life. How we choose to see the world in this life carries on to the next. If this is true, it ought to be something we should concern ourselves with. As C.S. Lewis put it:
“ Again, Christianity asserts that every individual human being is going to live forever, and this must be either true or false. Now there are a good many things which would not be worth bothering about if I were going to live only seventy years, but which I had better bother about very seriously if I am going to live forever.” From Mere Christianity
How do you feel when someone make a claim that religions are all subjective? Have you ever thought about it? How have you responded?