A Question on Guilt

I was listening to a David Crowder Band song the other day.  The song is about forgiveness offered to us through God’s grace.  The song is called “Oh, Happiness” and it speaks to the feeling of being freed from guilt and having a restoration of peace and a flood of joy due to being washed clean.  While listening to the song I realized that some people crave forgiveness for their misdeeds, but they do not have anyone to forgive them.  These misdeeds are not necessarily sins against others, but sins against something, but they do not know what.  All they know is that they are guilty.  There are many people in this world who feel constant guilt, but do not know what to do to rid themselves of it.

I definitely understand the feeling of needing forgiveness but not sure how to obtain it.  I have watched the animated movie Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children several times because I am moved by the main character’s burden of the need for forgiveness.  There was a time of several years in my life where I felt a heavy burden of guilt.  I had brought this guilt on myself because of a sin that I had committed against someone.  This person had forgiven me, but I still felt guilty.  I felt as if I had sinned against something greater than just this person.  I felt as if I had violated a system, not just an individual.

I can confidently now join my voice with David Crowder and exclaim, “Oh happiness!  There’s grace!”  But how did I get to that point?  Well, I will answer that in a future blog post.  But first I want to talk about the other people who feel a need for forgiveness.

These people do not need to be raised Christian to experience this need for forgiveness.  I was raised in a Christian home so some people may say that I feel that way because I was raised to feel that way.  Maybe that plays a role.  But there are people out there who are not Christian who feel that way.  In fact, there are many people who become Christian from all different cultures and backgrounds for the very reason of guilt and a desire for forgiveness that no person can give them.

I wanted to make this post so much longer.  I had well over a thousand words typed up comparing the reasons why guilt is a part of humanity and how it came to be according to the naturalistic and Christian perspectives.  Then I decided to drop it all and simply ask this one set of questions to my naturalistic friends:

  • If Christianity is the only answer for someone who feels a seemingly unforgivable guilt, what are you to do about that?
  • If the only way a person can feel forgiveness and peace is through the knowledge that there is a God who loves them and has forgiven them, should that knowledge be discouraged?
  • If a person has become persuaded that they can have their sins forgiven by a loving God, should such a person be persuaded that this God does not exist?
  • If the two options are, 1) someone believes and teaches that Jesus Christ has taken their debt away, or 2) someone commits suicide because the overwhelming feeling of guilt, which option do you choose?  (This question is not a false dichotomy.  There have been thousands, if not millions of people through the years who testify that if Christianity were not true, then they would have committed suicide due to feelings of guilt.)
  • In other words, should the naturalistic perspective allow for an illusion to be taught as true if it will preserve the life of an individual?

I am not asking you to tell me how you would convince someone that they do not need to cave to their feelings of guilt.  Please do not comment in that way.  I realize that there are many approaches taken by naturalists in dealing with guilt.  I am asking you to comment on if Christianity is a beneficial belief for someone, and indeed, the only hope for someone, should this person be dissuaded from this belief.

That is all.  I would love to hear from you.

This is the first post I have written in which I have not provided an answer to the primary question I raise.  Please do not disappoint me and stay silent.

 

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