Several weeks ago I posted a commentary about Mormonism and whether or not it might be a cult, which came up as a result of the furor over Mitt Romney as a Mormon presidential candidate. Since that whole episode, the Mormon PR team has covered the country with billboards and other ads promoting their faith. One online ad caught my eye in particular, but not in a favorable light. It had a picture of a very attractive young woman with the quote, “I feel God is proud of me for who I am.” (or something very close to that).
The problem with that ad is a cultural issue endemic in mainstream Christianity and the culture as a whole, and is not unique to the LDS church. Simply put, it is deriving truth from emotion.
God gave us emotions and intuition. In fact, I am a fairly intuitive person much of the time. However, I view our emotions primarily as spice, or seasoning in the decision making process. The “meat and potatoes” of clear thinking are truth, wisdom and logic, in that order.
Belief, or faith, by themselves, are insufficient for determining what is real or true. I can believe I’m taking an antihistamine with all of my heart, but if it is rat poison, the relief of allergy symptoms becomes excessively permanent.
This poor woman in the ad can feel that God is proud of her all she wants, but what does God say about his approval? He loves us because He created us. He requires us to do justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with Him. He has provided a path to reconciliation and redemption through His Son, and taking that path is the sole means to that redemption from our rebellion from Him.
Of course, it isn’t clear just from her statement what she means by “feel,” “proud,” or ‘who I am.” I don’t know if it is just wishful thinking on her part or a feeling based on the evidence of Scripture, and so on. I’m not trying to critique this woman specifically. The fact that this quote is the heart of the message the creators of the ad wanted to convey, and believed would connect with the audience is the object of my critique. God is under no obligation to bend His character to accommodate our misconceptions about Him. In fact, it is patently clear that He will not.
If I am going to base my life, both here and hereafter on something, I am going to darn sure base it on more than my feelings, my wishful thinking. I want assurance. I want to have evidence demonstrating that the object of my faith will sustain me both before and after I have nothing left. If discouragement and indigestion are powerful enemies of wishful thinking, then Truth is its nemesis.
Day 18 Praise: Praise and thanksgiving to the Father of Truth that He never demands blind faith. Nowhere in Scripture can I find a time where He demand obedience without going to great and even humbling lengths to demonstrate His worthiness as the object of our faith. His faithfulness in the past is the basis for our faith in Him in the future.