Monday, March 17, 2014

Mislead faith?

Here's one that's a bit ironic. Someone writes in to Billy Graham and he tells them that emotions can mislead one's faith. Really...?
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: A friend of mine admits she isn’t a Christian but claims she feels God’s presence when she does something good for other people. I’m not sure what she means by this, but I admire her for her concern for others. — J.J.
Isn't a Christian, but feels God's presence? Does she belong to another religion?
DEAR J.J.: Yes, your friend’s concern for others is admirable, and we should be thankful for anyone who seeks to help those in need. God in his grace can use even people who don’t believe in him to bring comfort and healing to our hurting world.
So say you. Yes, it is admirable that JJ's friend does good deeds. But that doesn't mean that 'God' is using her. When an atheist or member of another religion does good deeds, it's not because the Christian god is working through them. What it means is that they're just good people. Also, what evidence is there for Graham's claim that God is making use of non-believers. Maybe the Buddha is making use of Christians that do good. Or maybe it's Thor guiding the mistaken Christians toward his righteous path.
I’m not sure, either, what your friend means when she says she feels God’s presence when she helps someone; you might ask her if you have an opportunity. Perhaps doing something good for someone makes her feel good inside, and she believes those feelings must be from God. Or perhaps she’s had people express their gratitude to her by saying that God must have sent her to them, and that makes her feel God must be with her.
 I do agree that it's odd that JJ chooses to ask Billy Graham what their friend means instead of simply asking her themselves. In fact, I often wonder why people ask Graham many of the questions that they do...
But our emotions can mislead us; they can even deceive us into thinking God is with us when he actually isn’t. True faith isn’t just a warm feeling. True faith is focused on God, and on his son, Jesus Christ. Warm feelings won’t save us, nor will they cleanse us of our sins — which is our greatest need. Only Christ can do that — and he will, as we open our hearts and lives to him and trust him as our savior and Lord.
If emotions can mislead one's faith as easily as Graham states, then it falls to reason that Graham himself, or any Christian, may be emotionally mislead in their faith. Emotionally attached to the idea
of Heaven, eternal life, or to the religion of their youth... Maybe emotionally attached to their church and it's fellowship. There are any number of reasons, but if emotions can drive you to pick the wrong religion, then Christians may have picked wrong as well.

Also, the qualifier that Christ is the some kind of exception that shows Christianity to be correct is of no help. Perhaps the emotional attachment to Christianity was the driving factor in creating that qualifier. What if someone else said that the Buddha was proof that Buddhism is correct, or Odin shows that the Norse beliefs are the truth whether influenced by emotion or not?
Pray for your friend, that she will see her need to repent of her sins and turn her life over to Jesus Christ. Then she’ll want to help others not just because of the good feelings she gets, but out of Christ’s love. The Bible says, “This is love for God: to keep his commands” (1 John 5:3).
Or perhaps Billy should hope that he is prayed for, that he shall see and recognize the awesome might of Thor. For without his sacrifice, mankind would have been devoured buy an Earth consuming demon serpent.

-Brain Hulk

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