3 Ways Christians Don’t Love Truth
By Erik Bennett, April 6, 2016
Christians are supposed to be defenders of truth, but we are not. In reality, we tolerate lies and perpetuate falsehoods because they reinforce our presuppositions and help us justify our worldview. We embrace lies about politicians we don’t like. We use fallacious arguments to attack worldviews we oppose. We tolerate lies because we are lazy thinkers, and in spite of what we say, truth is not a priority.
These are strong words. and I do not write them lightly. I write these things because I am guilty. In fact, this post is more than just an evaluation of our Christian culture; it is a testimony of my personal journey. Everything I write I have been guilty of doing at some point in my life and ministry. Though it has not been easy, I have made a commitment to change. I have made a commitment to seek truth, wherever it may lead, however, difficult it may be.
The purpose of this post is to call other believers to join me in my journey by shedding light on three ways Christians do not love truth. I hope to challenge my brothers and sisters in Christ to start loving truth, to start seeking truth, and to start fighting for it. I guarantee this journey will not be easy, or comfortable, or without cost, but if we are to honor God, we cannot tolerate falsehood.
We don’t love truth when we tolerate lies
Christians tolerate lies regularly, and sometimes we even celebrate them. These lies can be false information about politicians we don’t like, untrue facts about topics we care about, or unscientific evidence we use to support our ideas. Many of these lies are easily exposed, but even when we are confronted with evidence, we refuse to listen.
We tolerate lies in order to justify the narrative of how we view the world. I see this illustrated in how many conservative Christians have treated President Obama. A small percentage of Christians still believe President Obama wasn’t born in the USA, and many Christians still believe he is a Muslim.1 Even though these beliefs about President Obama are demonstrably untrue, we accept them because they fit within our presuppositions about politics.2
We tolerate lies because we often see disagreements as a struggle between good and evil. The lies we believe help us think we are on the side of good. However, there is nothing good in believing lies about people or views we disagree with.
We don’t love truth when we tolerate Unsound thinking
Christians can fight dirty. We often tolerate fallacious arguments and biases if they can be used to support our beliefs. Fallacious arguments are misleading and unsound. When we attack an opponent’s character instead of their ideas, we are committing a fallacy (ad hominem). When we misrepresent someone’s argument to make it an easier target, we are committing a fallacy (strawman). When we judge something as bad based on where it comes from or whom it comes from, we are committing a fallacy (genetic). When we appeal to an authority, appeal to emotions, or claim that A will lead to Z (slippery slope), we are committing fallacies (For a simple guide to fallacies check out https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/)
Christians also need to guard their thinking against biases. A common bias that Christians regularly succumb to is confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is when one listens only to evidence that supports their view, ignoring all opposing evidence or arguments. I sometimes speak to Christians who immediately discard any evidence that contradicts their views on political issues, scientific issues, or theological issues. When we will not listen or take into account evidence or arguments that oppose our views, we do not love truth.
Fallacies and biases enable us to feel assured in our presuppositions and our views, but they are misleading and ultimately lead to sloppy thinking. We will never find truth if we allow ourselves to be guided by fallacious arguments and unsound biases. If we love truth, we will choose to follow its path even it leads to roads that stretch us beyond our where we feel comfortable and secure.
We don’t love truth when we tolerate lazy thinking
It is unlikely that even a great apologist would claim to be able to “destroy” atheism in one minute, yet we have all probably seen videos or posts of Christians who think they are able to do it. Most of the times these videos or posts are all rhetoric and little substance. The Christian who loves truth will understand the work it takes to have substantial, intelligent interaction with atheists. It is lazy thinking and pride to imagine that worldviews can be “destroyed” with such little effort.
I’ve heard Christians call evolutionists stupid for their views and call other Christians foolish for their theological positions. Many times these type of statements come from people who are unwilling to put in the effort to study and think through opinions that differ from their own. The pursuit of truth is hard work and many are too lazy in their thinking to actually seek it out.
Pursuing truth is not easy, and often after much effort and struggle, we still do not fully grasp it. While we may not always have answers, we should always fight for truth. Christians must realize that we really do not love truth when we tolerate lies about people who disagree with us. We really do not love truth when we tolerate sloppy thinking or laziness in how we evaluate the views of others.
Many Christians do not pursue truth because they love the false sense of comfort and security we have inside our Christian bubble. I know because at one time this described me, but I am learning to confront my own fallacies and biases. This journey has been extremely challenging as I change the way I think and how I deal with others who disagree with me. In spite of the difficulty, my journey to truth is worth the struggle because it has brought me closer to God. Truth honors God, and as God’s people we must learn to fight the lies, fallacies, biases, and lazy thinking that keeps us from drawing near to Him.
While the statistics mentioned in this link refer to conservative republicans I assume a number of Christians fall into this category, especially since I have heard these ideas mentioned by Christians repeatedly over the years.