Some friends of mine were vacationing not too long ago and thought of me when, on their journey, they found a refrigerator magnet that read, “Think! It’s not illegal yet.” I have the magnet, in fact, on my refrigerator today. I appreciate my friends thinking of me, but I am more thankful that my friends, upon seeing this magnet, did actually “think.” Certainly the magnet reminded them of me because (to the point of aggravation, of myself even) I continuously remind us about the gift – our ability to think – and the necessity of our use of this gift.
As a pastor, obviously, I am concerned about rescued souls. As a member of the Church, of course, I am interested in its healthy growth. Certainly I care about speaking the Good News into the life of humanity. But I believe that the most effective way to do these things is by insisting that humanity utilizes its God-given gift to think (exercising logic and reason, which are from the mind of God).
Case in point: The notion that perception is reality is, in fact, illogical and void of any kind of rational thought. I once spoke to a woman whose perception (her circumstances and feelings) told her that God did not love her (in reality). Emotions are relative, but logic (truth) is not. If God, by definition, loves humanity; and this woman, by definition, is human; then, God must necessarily love this woman. Her perception of reality does not change the fact of that reality (either way).
Incidentally, I often (and painstakingly) add the phrase “by definition” (which is a point of aggravation for some, including myself) because it draws attention to what was just actually stated and demands the importance of the logical meaning of words rather than the emotional baggage attached to them. For example, when I say “God, by definition,” I aim to rid us of the irrational, emotional baggage that we have “God” carry. I wish to drill-down to who “God” is in reality and not who we would have “God” be in our own perception. Further, by adding “by definition,” I insist that we “think” about what we are saying; balancing our feelings and emotions with logic and reason.
Operating out of our animal instinct (i.e. not thinking) is precisely that which lead to our separation from God and our subsequent altered perceptions of reality (Romans 1). Likewise, our religious nature (negatively speaking – Romans 1) is full of emotional insecurities, irrational fears, blind ignorance, and hypocritical actions precisely because we quit thinking. Thus, the Church is rightly being rejected by a generation that demands (whether they know it or not, the God-given) right to “think.” The Church has nothing to fear and everything to gain from people exercising thought. Our ability to “think” is presupposed by the mind of God.
Because God exists and is self-aware – i.e. God has (is) a mind of God’s own – we are able to think. We would not be able to “think” if there was not a self-aware God who has opened the mind of God to us. It is when we stop thinking that we stop expressing God. I am convinced that when human beings “think,” we have no other conclusions to draw but that without God (by definition) we are hopelessly lost, helplessly in need of God’s grace, and necessarily, therefore, in dire need of Jesus Christ (the only means to reconciliation and redemption, by definition; which in turn, places us in the community of the Church). Therewith, to not believe in God or the need of a God (by definition) or, therefore, the need of Jesus Christ to regain community, is to not “think” (by definition) at all.