There is a virtually limitless amount of "knowledge" that the modern man possesses that has little to do with personal study and observation. Though we can quote verbatim a Wikipedia article on the personal feelings of Robert E. Lee during the civil war, few of us have ever actually held in our hands and read physical letters penned by the general. There is just too much important knowledge and information that we utilize in our day to day lives for us to do the necessary work to prove the veracity of our claims personally. We believe the work of those we trust.
But what happens when two honest people have wildly differing positions on a particular issue? How is it even possible? It has to do with who you choose to trust.
"For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear"--2 Timothy 4:3
Thanks to the internet whatever your personal values, thoughts, opinions, activities, etc, are, you can find plenty of people to support you. Not long ago I was reading about the growth of "fetish" communities. Thirty years ago if you were a pedophile, you tried to get help, covered it up, tried to deal with it, or, acted on it and went to prison. But what no one ever said, or, accepted, was that the proclivity towards pedophilia was "normal" or, "ok". Now there are entire online created communities of predatory pedophiles who support each other, give tips and advice, and even plan international trips to countries with laxer child protection laws.
While a pedophile in 1970 could still do some horrible damage, it was very limited in scope, and many potential predators never became predators because they didn't have anyone egging them on. Today, if you are a potential predator, you are just a click away from people all over the world affirming your feelings and encouraging you to find ways to act on it.
Our human and self-driven desires cause us to seek out the "expert" advice of those who affirm what we already want to believe. We start with a premise that whatever I "feel" must be right because I feel it so STRONGLY. In some instances, there is natural internal and/or public aversion to such feelings. Instead of responding to that natural aversion we instead look for someone to encourage the behavior or belief. We TRUST that person BECAUSE they tell us what we want to hear, so we then integrate their affirmation as the foundation of our BELIEFS.
Let me avoid putting a specific example within Christianity today in the cross hairs. But ask yourself, what do you(and others) believe today compared to 20, 30, 50, 2000 years ago. The rapidity in which these consistently believed Biblical positions are being reshaped has been breathtaking. Why? Because it is becoming easier and easier to gather around us teachers that tell us what we want to hear.
In contrast to what some "theologians" will argue, 2 Timothy 4:3 has a basic understood assumption built into it. That there IS a sound doctrine. And the second truth is that sound doctrine is in direct contrast to peoples natural desires.
Theology today is crafted by a simple formula; 1- I feel or experienced "x", 2- I want to feel good about myself, not bad,(you can replace "myself" with "others") so I don't want "x" to cause me discomfort. 3- I therefore subvert plain reading of scripture to be primarily interpreted by what makes me the most comfortable.
Biblical theology has historically been crafted by; 1- Reading the Bible 2- Feeling or experiencing "x", 3- Shaping my response to "x" by what the Bible says.
We place our trust in what, or, who, makes us feel the best about ourselves. Or, we put it in whatever or whoever says exactly what we have already decided. And that becomes our belief.
At the heart of everyone who rejects the Biblical teachings on any issue is that they are placing their trust in someone who has given them a way that makes them feel more comfortable. And this happens with virtually zero cross examination. They said what I was hoping to hear, I will just assume they are telling me the truth. While they respond to teachers that disagree with their new position by immediately questioning everything, or, outright rejecting it because they don't like their response. Again, with zero cross examination. You said what I didn't want to hear, so you must be wrong/lying.
Your beliefs will be the result of who you trust. Do you trust God's word? Or, do you trust yourself and others first.
We want the candy so much we ignore important details.....