Saturday, 20 September 2014

What comes first: that something *feels* true, or that it *is* true? How to approach Christian evangelism and apologetics

Truth should feel true and be true - subjective and objective - but which comes first?

'Postmodern' thinking says that feeling true is all that can be had - so all truth is personal, and also labile (changing over time, with mood etc) and temporary (everybody dies, and truth dies with them). This is self-refuting - but also a counsel of hedonistic despair.

Some traditional religion has it that truth is true and it doesn't matter what we feel about it - because feelings are personal, labile and temporary (as above). But, if it doesn't matter what we feel about it, truth is incapable of motivating us, incapable of providing a meaning or purpose to our lives. At most we could passively (and miserably) obey....

So we must have feelings and also objective being - but which comes first?

Traditional Christian evangelism and apologetics has it that objective reality comes first - logic and facts then feelings will follow; but traditional apologetics doesn't make converts.

Evangelical Christians and Mormons say that feelings come first - based upon personal experiences such as revelation and miracles; and then facts and logic come-in to back up the feelings - and evangelicals (including Pentecostals and Charismatic churches) and Mormons are the only ones who are getting significant numbers of converts (especially among the young, especially in China, Africa and South America).

So, the lesson for this, our time and situation, is: we need both feelings and logic-facts: but feelings should come first.