I like sincerity. It makes me feel like a person is real, and tangible, the kind of person you like to be around. Sincerity is like the gold standard behind a dollar; without sincerity, your words have absolutely nothing standing behind them giving them value. Sincerity is not just a virtue in the Christian world, either. The secular world values it, as well. How many times do we hear about “being real,” or “the Real World,” or any other expression of desire for reality and no filler?
Sincerity has its value in the world. We as Christians value it because, as I said, it is our “gold standard.” However, a common mistake in society is to value sincerity above truth. We believe that someone’s “sincerity” carries more weight than the reality of the situation. More than once have I heard the saying “well, I think all that matters is whether or not you are sincere,” or “Truth is relative, and if you sincerely believe something, it must be right for you.” I can still remember reading an interview in Guitar World with Munky, the guitarist from Korn. In the interview, Munky essentially stated that Hitler went to heaven because he sincerely believed in what he was doing. Hunh? Seriously?
Now, I don’t expect Munky to be a great philosopher or theologian, anymore than I could possibly expect Al Mohler or C.S. Lewis to pick up a seven-string and bash out a couple “Mr. Bungle Chords.” Ok, no problem. However, the problem with this is that, in essence, this is the common man’s view of salvation and justice in the universe. Sincerity = Truth. Anything wrong with that? Well, for starters, what if two people’s sincerity clash in two differing ideas. I sincerely believe that there is a God. Richard Dawkins sincerely does not. We can both be really wrong, but we can’t both be really right. At that point, who wins out? If we both sincerely believe it, then we are both right, according to most postmodernists. However, consider the absurdity of that. If we look at truth that way, I can say red is green as long as I believe it sincerely enough, and then have an alibi for the next time I run a stop light! My point in all of this is to say: Sincerity does not equal truth. You can sincerely believe something, and be sincerely wrong. Believe in something because it is the truth, not because it sounds educated or leaves you wiggle room to do as you please!