Whatever You Say

When Julie went away to college, she made a point of witnessing boldly to her three roommates, who listened politely and seemed supportive. Julie was excited--they all seemed open to the Gospel. But to her surprise, they responded just as warmly when Sally said she was into the New Age movement and believed in "the god within all of us." And when Amy said she believed God is a "force," like in the Star Wars movies. And when Ruth said she was a "very spiritual" person but didn't believe in any God at all. What really baffled Julie was that the others agreed that "we're all saying the same thing" in the end. How can Christian students like Julie make sense of the bewildering range of beliefs they encounter in our post-Christian age? In a new book called "How to Stay Christian in College," J. Budziszewski explains that Julie had run into the powerful myth that "truth is whatever you sincerely believe." If you believe it, then it's true for you--and the ordinary rules of logic and evidence don't apply. The myth of sincerity is especially potent when it comes to the big questions of life--questions about God and morality. Consider abortion. A few years ago, abortionist James McMahon said, "I frankly think the soul or personage comes in when the fetus is accepted by the mother." In other words, an unborn baby actually becomes human when the mother sincerely believes he's human. Christian students often encounter the same reasoning on the college campus. If a classmate sincerely believes her unborn child is human, friends will call the child a "baby" and congratulate her. If she doesn't, they call him a "fetus" and encourage her to have an abortion. This is such an obvious fallacy, Christians ought to be ready to rebut it wherever we encounter it. Can we really make something true just by believing it? Let's take a few simple, concrete examples. If you sincerely believe your onion rings are french fries, do they become fries? If you sincerely believe you're a diet coke, do you become a diet coke? Of course not. When it comes to concrete, familiar objects, no one falls for the sincerity myth. We all know there is an objective reality that exists on its own, despite what we believe about it--no matter how sincere we are. And if we accept the idea of objective truth when dealing with trivial questions, then logically we ought to accept it when dealing with the big questions of God and morality as well. When Christian students like Julie leave home for the college campus, they need to learn how to counter the myths they will face there. J. Budziszewski's "How to Stay Christian in College" is one of the best resources available. If you contact BreakPoint at 1 800 995-8777, we'll let you know how to get a wonderful College Survival Kit, including Budziszewski's marvelous new book, for your own college-bound son or daughter. Christian young people don't need to be baffled about how to respond to their roommates or their teachers. With a little help, they can learn to cut through the fog of common myths with the sharp edge of biblical truth.


Chuck Colson


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