Our theme for this month: “Changing the tone of the conversation”
Our Bible verse for today: “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions.” Proverbs 18:2 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Take the time to listen to other people’s opinions.”
There’s an intellectual disease spreading like a cancer throughout our society today. It is eating away at our collective ability to engage in rational and reasoned conversations with those with whom we disagree. It is also destroying our ability to objectively consider all sides of an issue before we arrive at our conclusions.
The disease is known as “confirmation bias”. It’s not a physical disease but a mental one. It’s a short circuit in an individual’s reasoning power which limits his or her ability to arrive at accurate conclusions that fairly reflect reality. The condition of confirmation bias is a situation whereby we have already arrived at our conclusion before we even engage in the conversation, and therefore rather than seriously considering the point the other person is trying to make, we’re simply out to prove our own point.
Confirmation bias is often based on political affiliations, tradition, prejudice, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, emotion, etc. Because it is a “bias” it is often not based on objective facts and a sincere desire to determine the actual truth of a situation. Confirmation bias also lends itself to demonizing those with whom you disagree.
This is what’s being described in Proverbs 18:2. Such a person has no interest in arriving at truth, or even in making an attempt to understand why the other person believes as he or she does. Their only concern is to voice their own pre-determined opinions.
Those who oppose Christianity and Biblical principles often know little about Christianity and Biblical principles. Instead they have some superficial and inaccurate pre-determined ideas which they cling to as truth, and they have little interest in having a serious discussion about it. But as Christians we do this too. How many of us have had a serious discussion with an atheist or a homosexual, listening closely as they explained what they believe and how they feel?
The mental disease of confirmation bias is becoming more and more of a problem in our society and it’s the major reason that people simply are not listening to each other. We should be sure of our own positions, but that certainty should be based on facts and study and logical thought, and it should include time spent giving serious consideration to the other person’s opinion. We will talk more about this tomorrow.