“Well if I believed in hell, yeah, that’s probably where I’d go.”

I’ll never forget that response, given by an agnostic in a campus ministry video I once saw. Pressed with a question about his eternal destiny, he acknowledged that the broad way to hell was the path he had chosen, and he would probably go there – if he believed in it. He couldn’t see how he could possibly end up somewhere if he didn’t believe in that place. Like a criminal saying he doesn’t fear jail because he doesn’t believe such a place actually exists, this man was espousing an absolutely insane line of thinking… and yet it’s the same one that so many in the world today cling to for nearly all questions of religion.

We have our preconceived ideas of the way things probably are, and then we convince ourselves that that’s how they’re going to be. Any evidence or line of reasoning presented to the contrary doesn’t matter because we’re confident with our probably. We have everything completely backwards. Instead of letting the truth influence our opinions, we let our opinions define the “truths” we hold. Sure, some things in life are matters of opinion. Some things can’t possibly be known. But to file everything under those categories and make all truth relative to our understanding of it is to say that truth doesn’t really exist, which of course is a self-defeating philosophy.

What we have to realize is that it doesn’t matter one bit what we think.  Ironically, “It doesn’t matter what you think” is the philosophy today’s world espouses, too. They just mean it from the other side of the equation, saying that there is no truth, so everyone is allowed to think whatever they want. When I say it doesn’t matter what you think, I mean that our opinions don’t have any bearing whatsoever on the truthfulness of our claims.

It doesn’t matter if you think God probably doesn’t care what you do with your life, as long as you try to do some good.

It doesn’t matter if you think God is too “mean” in the Old Testament and therefore don’t want to believe in Him.

It doesn’t matter if you think the Bible is unfair in its teachings on sexuality.

It doesn’t matter if you think that doctrine probably isn’t that important.

It doesn’t matter if you think that you’ve probably been “good enough” to get into heaven.

It doesn’t matter if you think that church attendance or church choice isn’t that important.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe heaven and hell really exist.

What ultimately matters is whether those beliefs are true. Despite what the world wants you to believe, truth isn’t relative. We don’t all get to create our own realities. Each of those statements are either true or false. Tricking ourselves into believing that we can ignore those issues and they’ll just go away or become insignificant is hopelessly foolish.

The challenge that Elijah set before the people of Israel in 1 Kings 18:21 applies to us today – “If the Lord is God, follow Him!” Either the Bible’s message is true, and you are eternally responsible for what you believe, or it’s not true and there is no eternity to worry about. There is no middle ground, and living as though there is one is going to end in disaster for a lot of souls. You can know the truth (John 8:32). Don’t settle for anything less.

By Jack Wilkie

Jack Wilkie is the author of “Failure: What Christian Parents Need to Know About American Education” and is the speaker for Focus Press’s “The Lost Generation” seminar. To schedule a seminar at your church, contact jack@tampaseo.expert.