What Anti-Rational Idea Is Spreading Faster Than the Coronavirus?

(Unsplash/Yasin Yusef)

In his latest book, Hope for This Present Crisis, bestselling author Dr. Michael Youssef calls out the anti-rational notion of "trust your feelings," which is spreading faster than the coronavirus.

"We see in Scripture that the Christian faith stands on a firm foundation of truth, sound reasoning and solid evidence," says Youssef, who cites passages from the book of Acts (Acts 17:2–3, 31) that demonstrate evidence of the rational logic of the Christian faith. "Because Paul preached a rational gospel, rooted in objective evidence and biblical truth, the Holy Spirit drew many of these logically minded, rational Greeks to faith in Jesus Christ."

Youssef reminds us that, in fact, it is the truth of God's Word that has played a major role in shaping our civilization, beginning with devoutly Christian scientist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton's 1687 publication of Principia Mathematica, which heralded the beginning of the Age of Enlightenment.

"Sir Isaac Newton ... believed that the universe was created by a rational God whose thoughts could be understood not only through Scripture but through the objective observation of God's created order," Youssef says.

Dr. Youssef believes that it was the combination of the Protestant Reformation and the Enlightenment that created what we know as Western civilization—civilization built on a foundation of reason and objective truth, which has carried us through almost three centuries and brought about the "rapid increase in scientific knowledge, technological and medical advances, increased food production—progress and knowledge that has contributed to the reduction of poverty and suffering and the elevation of human dignity."

But that foundation began to crumble in the 1960s, where we saw a shift from civilization built on reason and objective truth to one that encouraged shutting off the mind and trusting one's own feelings instead.

"What poisonous advice! Rational thought may be warped, but emotions are trustworthy?" asks Youssef. "How wise and reliable are the emotions of a person contemplating suicide? Or the husband tempted to cheat on his wife? Or the teenager tempted to give her virginity to her boyfriend? Or the driver venting his road rage at a hundred miles an hour? Or the embittered boy planning a school shooting? Should we tell them, 'Trust your feelings?'"

This shift has divorced succeeding generations from rational thinking and the truth more than ever before. Despite scientific and technological advances, we have seen the decay in society ever since.

"Yes, God gave us emotions for a reason, but He also gave us rational minds so that we could receive His truth in order to manage our emotions," says Youssef, recalling the wise words of his mentor and friend, John R.W. Stott, the former rector of All Souls Church in London:

"During our conversa­tion, we discussed the danger of allowing ourselves to be controlled by emotion instead of reason and truth. 'The mind,' he said to me at one point, 'should be the ther­mostat which sets the temperature for the emotions.'

"That's an excellent analogy," says Youssef. "If we kept the mind in control of the temperature of our emotions, we would make wiser decisions—and we would save ourselves much grief."

Hope for This Present Crisis is published by FrontLine, an imprint of Charisma House, and is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BAM, ChristianBook.com and Leading The Way.

Youssef was born in Egypt and lived in Lebanon and Australia before coming to the United States and fulfilling a childhood dream of becoming an American citizen. He holds degrees from Moore College in Sydney, Australia, and Fuller Theological Seminary in California, with a Ph.D. in social anthropology from Emory University. He founded The Church of The Apostles, which was the launching pad for Leading The Way's international ministry. Youssef has authored more than 40 books, including popular titles like Jesus, Jihad and Peace and Saving Christianity?

Youssef is the host of the popular TV and radio broadcast Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef, which airs more than 13,000 times every week across six continents in 26 languages—reaching audiences in nearly every major city in the world. His programs attract tens of millions of viewers weekly in the U.S. on major TV networks, including TBN, Daystar, Fox Business, Lifetime, GOD TV, CTN, NRB TV and more.

Equipped with a keen understanding of the Bible, the Middle East, sociological trends in the Western world and popular Christian worldview issues, Dr. Youssef is a sought-after voice whose expertise is regularly requested on both secular and Christian media, including Huckabee, Fox & Friends, Eric Metaxas, The Hugh Hewitt Show, The Christian Post, Fox News, Hannity, Glenn Beck, The 700 Club and more. He and his wife reside in Atlanta and have four grown children and 10 grandchildren.

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