Testing Truth Claims: Thinking versus Feelings
by Rob Lundberg
We live in days where many people operate on feelings and do not do much thinking. However humans feel as well as think, and should think as well as feel. This is because God has designed us in such a way that we have emotions. These emotions manifest themselves in our joys, our anger, our remorse and other feelings that we might experience.
Emotions can be good or they can be bad. They can be good when it comes to anger at sin or bad when the anger is manifested in things like bitterness. As with good things, emotions must be kept in their proper context. But in our culture, we see feelings overstepping their God intended bounds because we put those feelings ahead of reason.
There are many ways that people determine truth, but emotions should not be one of them. Emotions also do not determine right from wrong. Just because one feels good does not suggest that something is true. The same is true about feeling bad determining something to be false. In fact, emotions contain no content, no information by which to evaluate truth from falsehood. Our reasoning capacity performs that function. Emotions are a part of the soul that appreciates and responds to life. Expecting them to identify truth is like asking your eyes to taste and your ears to smell. Each sense has their respective functions; and emotions and reasoning capacities are no different.
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There are many religious groups that are dangerously dependent on emotions. Cult groups like the Mormon church are an example of a group that depends on emotions to think. The Mormon missionary will invite a person investigating their books to read the Book of Mormon and then ask God if it true or not. This is moving a person to make an emotional decision. One also does not have to pray about something being truth, because truth is not determined in an emotional “burning in the bosom.” Also the sincerity of the Mormon missionary has nothing to do with the accuracy or lack of accuracy of the Book of Mormon.
Today, millions of people experience sincere contradictory emotions about their religions. Those viewpoints cannot all be true because each religion makes mutually exclusive claims about God, the universe, salvation and the nature of man. But that is another posting.
Some Christians come dangerously close to a similar kind of spiritual operation. Some believe that their faith validates the Bible or other truths to be true. Some believe that God speaks to them outside of His Word, even using audible voice to communicate. While this may be true, the test for truth and authenticity should not be based upon their feelings but in agreement with God’s written Word, the Bible. Biblical historical Christianity does not ask people to make a decision or take action based on feelings…