Putting to Rest the Subjectivity of Faith and Truth

You have probably heard people say that “faith is blind,” that it cannot be proven or that it is subjective; and that is the reason many people such as atheists, agnostics, scientists and others who don’t live according to faith find it hard to believe in and submit to. Truth is the Word of God, the Bible. These same people profess and believe that truth is relative, that it is measured according to the individual and that it holds no absolute, distinctive place in the world.

What does it mean for something to be subjective? It is when an idea or beliefs are based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes or opinions. What is wrong with this way of thinking and living is that feelings, tastes and opinions are unstable. They are constantly changing—both for the good and for the bad—and are affected by many sources which have no absolute basis; by absolute, I mean things which are independent, firm, trustworthy, unchanging, and are not relative or comparative. G-d’s truth and Word are absolute. They are tried and tested in each believer’s life. Christian testimonies bear witness to this fact. They are stable, immovable, fixed and an anchor for one’s life and soul. If we live our lives, make decisions and place faith (trust) in things which do change, our very lives and beliefs are unstable and unreliable and, in turn, can and do make our lives chaotic. Who wants to live this way? I don’t truly believe anyone does.

In contrast to something being subjective, is when an idea, belief or word is considered to be objective. This represents something which is not influenced by personal feelings or opinions, but is instead taken to be factual, measurable or observable. We are beings currently living in a physical world and we have been created with senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste) to help us relate to the things in creation. But that is not all we are. We were created for eternity, and that’s why we also have souls and spirits. You might say we are three-part creatures.

Atheists are people who claim to believe that God doesn’t exist. They, as all people, are intelligent beings. The Lord says in Romans 1:19-20, “For what can be known about G-d is plain to them, because G-d has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” And Psalm 53:1 states, “The fool says in his heart ‘There is no G-d.’” From their choice not to believe and the evidence of the Lord in the physical world all around us, we must infer the atheists’ reasons are subjective, rather than objective.

Agnostics profess to neither believe nor disbelieve in the existence or nature of G-d because, they claim, nothing can be known or is known about Him beyond the physical realm. The previously quoted passage from the book of Romans addresses this issue as well. So their stance is unstable because, for some personal or undisclosed reasons, they straddle the line between belief and disbelief. One cannot balance forever on a fence. One cannot stand on an imaginary line between the shore and the ocean. They, eventually, will fall off the fence, and must choose dry land or opt for immersing themselves in the water.

So what are the reasons behind the atheists’ denial, the agnostics’ indecision and all other unbelievers’ lack of faith? Is it from personal experience? Is it from rebellion? Is it out of ignorance of the truth? Or is it something else? My bet is, at the root and beyond the symptom, it is most assuredly due to something subjective, something which changes and is tied to or based on a feeling, emotion or opinion. I understand. But remember that such things are unstable and fluctuate. They are sometimes up and sometimes down. Have you ever been in the position of having to make a decision (especially an important one!)? Monday, the information or issue presents itself. Tuesday, you’re mad or sad about something and so you start to make a choice about Monday’s issue from that “down” mindset. Wednesday comes and you find yourself in a cheerful mood. When pondering Monday’s issue, you see things in a different light and your decision starts to alter because your perspective is different. It doesn’t necessarily follow that good moods lead to wise decisions or that bad moods lead to foolish ones. It’s better to have an even, balanced approach (where you can hear from the Lord, and gain wisdom) which is unaffected by the winds of emotion, opinion, idea, outside manipulation or something else.

Faith and Truth are not SUBjective. They are OBjective. And, as such, they should guide our lives. Unfortunately, many people wrongly believe that they cannot be proven, tested or measured and so claim, profess, live by and teach to others that they are fallible, subjective (vary from person to person, relative), unsubstantiated and cannot be authenticated. I am a Christian and I can tell you emphatically from a measurable, objective viewpoint that the truth of G-d and His Word, and faith that is grounded in both is very much verifiable from within (the changes that the Lord brings about in my heart and mind that I bear witness to) and from without (the testimonies of others who know me– believers and unbelievers alike—can substantiate changes in my attitudes, speech, habits, character, integrity and so forth). Psalm 34:8 exclaims what I would also counsel you to do, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!”

The following scriptures are objective in a very real sense in the physical world. Malachi 3:10-11 is trustworthy concerning our command to pay the tithe (10% of all our increase- money, time, talents, etc.) to the Father who owns and gives everything. It says, “Bring the full tithe into my storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put Me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, and see if I will not open the windows of Heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts.” I have done this for years and I have never had my needs unmet.

Psalm 37:25 testifies once again to the concrete, objective truth (not blind faith) in which believers correctly place their trust, “I have been young, and am now old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children beg for bread.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 is a wonderful, sure, measurable (within and without) promise. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” This talks about how, after having given your life to Jesus and placed your trust in Him alone for the salvation of your soul, the old person that you were who was dead in his sins, will inwardly die once and for all, and outwardly fade as your new life in Him will show forth. The prophet Ezekiel echoes this objective reality in chapter 36, verse 26 when G-d says, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit will I put within you. And I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh [a soft heart].”

There are many more I could cite. Perhaps the atheist, agnostic, scientist or university professor (not all of the last two, but most) may question the manner in which I test and prove my claim. After all, they may argue that my results have not been authenticated by means of something made by human hands such as litmus paper, a machine or invention of some sort. This is true. But I remember in high school an experiment called the “borax bead test.” The essence of this cool exercise was to use a very simplified “tool” (a handle attached to a wire with a loop at the end) and to hold at its end (the looped portion) some powdered borax. When dipped in various liquid chemicals such as Chromium, Copper, Manganese, etc., and subjected to a flame via a Bunsen burner, the chemical forms a bead and turns color. It is thereby identified through its association with its blue, red, green, yellow, brown or other hue.

I mention this because the analogy of 1) the unknown substance from 2) the casual observer, which is then subjected to 3) fire to produce 4) an objective result, is quite apt for our discussion. In the Word of G-d, the Bible, many times the illustration and truth of the Father using “the furnace of affliction” (Isaiah 48:10) and “it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done” (1 Corinthians 3:13) and again, “these trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold” (1 Peter 1:7). Notice the physical and measurable and objective terms used: affliction, revealed, show. That which is objective may be so even if the observer doesn’t know where to look or what he’s really looking for. If he doesn’t understand or has never seen it before, he will easily overlook what is obvious to others, but that doesn’t mean by any stretch of the imagination that it isn’t so, that it should be dismissed or even mocked.

Finally, 1 Samuel 16:7 assures us, “…for the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Faith is not blind and it IS objective. G-d bless you and grant you wisdom.

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One thought on “Putting to Rest the Subjectivity of Faith and Truth

  1. Very well said. The problem the world has with absolute truth is that it then holds them accountable. And no one really wants to be accountable to anyone.

    Like

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