“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
Are you sure you know what you believe? Do you know why you believe what you do? New research suggests that people generally do not know how they came to believe what they believe. Neither do they know why they believe certain things. This research confirms the truth of a biblical lesson.
A number of studies by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin suggest that there are subtle but important influences on how we come to believe certain things are true and other things are false. They say the first thing that happens when we hear something is that we believe it. Then we compare it with things we already know. In the case of a patently silly statement like “pigs can fly,” the believing stage and the comparison with reality all happen in a split second. So when we reject the statement as false, we never realize how we came to that conclusion.
Researchers also found that if we are distracted during the acceptance and comparison stages, we might not finish with them, and we will accept a statement as true that we would normally reject. Beliefs can be created when we just passively accept information as true.
We can apply these conclusions to our Christian faith. Very often as Christians, we will accept statements that contradict the Bible because our attention was distracted by other things that were also said – things that we may accept because they are biblical. This shows the wisdom of the Christians at Berea who, we are told, compared everything they heard with what the Bible had to say.
I thank You, Lord, for the wonderful mind You have given me. Help me to be more careful to compare each element of what I hear to what the Bible has to say so that I am not misled. Amen.
Bower, Bruce. 1991. “True believers.” Science News, v. 139, Jan. 5. p. 14.