(Image courtesy of https://www.history.com.)

No one at the time in which they are living is able to label their generation for what it is; that's the job of the historians. Historians labeled the age of post-reformation thought the Enlightenment, also known as the "Age of Reason." This was an age when, as a society, human thought transcended all other abilities to determine truth. In many arenas, individual thinking was replacing the long established authority of the Western church in Europe. For example, during this time Charles Darwin promulgated his theory of evolution, using his reason and first-hand observations of the world to create his "logical" theory.

Of course, anyone who subjects himself to the authority of God is in stark contrast to Darwin's theory for he knows that truth is not something that one creates, but something that one discovers. In other words, truth already exists; therefore, our human ability to reason does not and cannot create truth, but we are to use our minds to understand, engage with, and discover the truth as it has been revealed to us by God both in his Word and in his creation (e.g., Deuteronomy 29:29).

Some day, I think historians will look back on our current time period and call it the "Age of Emotion."

Our world is governed by what we feel. Case in point: we live in the age of soundbites and ten-second TikTok videos. We see or hear a fraction of a news story out of context and we immediately have an emotional response. For instance, when snippets of George Floyd with the officer on his neck were going viral across the internet, people went berserk. They acted on their emotional impulses according to a few seconds of a video that they did not know the context for nor did most people care to know the details. Around the world emotions erupted into anger and violence - all because a couple seconds of video without the context were misinterpreted. (One bit of context, for instance, that would be helpful to note is that Mr. Floyd was under the influence of drugs which coaxed him to be violent.)

What would have been the response if this event had happened in the Age of Reason? Would people have dug deeper into the facts, trying to find out the context of the situation? I guess we'll never know.

But we do know that human nature hasn't changed. People are consistently prideful. Ever since the Fall of Adam and Eve into sin, people have been consistently asserting their ways of thinking and feeling above God's prescribed ways. So, while societies and time periods of history do have pervasive distinctions, all societies and civilizations have always battled the same sorts of things, such as jumping to conclusions, getting angry and violent, and viewing things out of their appropriate context.

For example, in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 14, Paul and Barnabas are swept away by a crowd and called gods. The whole city is in an uproar. Even after Paul and Barnabas told them they were not gods, "they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them" (Acts 14:18). Being carried away by emotion and lies has been part of humanity since sin entered the DNA of Adam.

It is sinful for humans and their societies to create truth. Whether a society or an individual elevates reason or emotion over God's absolute truth, humans have consistently had a problem with believing lies.

How, then, does one live not by their own understanding (e.g., Proverbs 3:5-6) and not be governed by their faulty emotions (e.g., Jeremiah 17:9)? There is but one way: fight against the pride of life by continually surrendering to the truth of the gospel.

The apostle Paul established his life on the truth of the gospel. He had sure footing no matter what happened, and he effectively fought against the lies his fallen mind and fallen emotions tempted him to believe. He states confidently,

"I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me" (2 Timothy 1:12, emphasis mine).

To overcome this current age of emotionalism, we must ground ourselves in the certain knowledge of God's truth. We must resist the idea that people are right because they feel strongly about an issue. It is possible to be sincere and be sincerely wrong.

We must resist the temptation to be persuaded by statistics that go contrary to the Word of God. For instance, simply because a growing number of people in America are accepting of transgenderism doesn't mean that we should jump on board with the current trend. God's Word doesn't change depending on cultural norms. Any deviation from the truth that God created male and female in his image is sin and must be repented of. The gospel is good news in that its call is for repentance, whereby one is forgiven of their wrongs and made right with God!

Let us resist the emotional manipulation as well that is prevalent in our current culture. Those opposed to God's truth will label those who hold to absolute truth as "bigots" and "unloving," especially when we do not accept lies as true. But let us not lose heart; the enemy seeks to destroy our faith in God through a number of methods, one of which is pressure to conform to the world. "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:1).

Truth transcends all of human understanding, reason, and logic, as well as strong feelings. Do not be mastered by the flesh - the mind and the emotions - but instead exercise mastery over the flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit.

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15-16).