Thursday, May 26, 2011

But He Was Sincere

One common claim is that it does not matter what you believe as long as you are sincere. But does this make sense? If I jump off a cliff and sincerely believe I will not fall, I will still fall. If I know nothing about mechanics, but sincerely believe I can fix a car, will it necessarily work when I am done? Will an atomic bomb not work if I sincerely believe it will not? In the physical world, we realize that certain things are correct and other things are not and that it is possible to be sincerely wrong.

But what about the world of morality? If one man kills another, are we more likely to excuse him if he sincerely wanted to kill that man? Are we not more likely to see it as a mitigating circumstance if it was unintentional or done on the spur of the moment while he did not intend to do it beforehand? If a driver hits a pedestrian, are we mollified if we learn he sincerely meant to hit that pedestrian? Adolf Hitler seems to have been a very sincere individual; does that justify his actions?

Why, then, are we willing to take this idea, which makes no sense in any other situation and apply it to the worship of God? It is possible to imagine a God who does not care it you worship Him through chastity and respect for life or cult prostitution and the sacrifice of infants, but this does not seem obvious. It is conceivable to picture a God who does not care if you regard Him as perfectly holy and all powerful or as a hen-pecked husband who goes around seducing young women, but it does not appear inevitable this should be true. Certainly, this is not the God of the Bible (Isaiah 43:10,11; John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Also, such a God would be impossible to obey because anything you did could be construed as obedience to Him. How would you decide what to choose? And how would you sincerely believe this was the right thing if it could just as well be something else? This, when followed consistently, must lead to insincerity, because how can you be sincere about being and doing something if you think another position, sincerely held, would be just as good.  For what do we mean by sincerity if it does not mean believing that this particular view is true as opposed to some other view? The whole thing becomes a mind game that ends up justifying everyone except the person who holds it. Therefore, this viewpoint refutes itself.


  1. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. - John 14:6

    I 'sincerely' believe what Jesus said to be the truth. My eternal destiny rests upon His words.

  2. I agree, sincerity like faith depends on what its object is and sincere faith in the wrong object gets you nowhere and in the right object (Jesus Christ) is the way to God.

  3. "how can you be sincere about being and doing something if you think another position, sincerely held, would be just as good"

    Good stuff Mike! I sincerely believe that . :)