Clear Thinking

This Is a Good Time to Stop Getting Your Information from Ideological Zealots

All humans are political and ideological. We’re political in the sense that we have beliefs about the groups we’re part of—what those groups ought to have done in the past, ought to do now, ought to do in the future, and what sort of people should lead them. And we certainly have strong views about the groups we’re not part of.

We’re also ideological. Even the most down-to-earth among us hold to some big ideas, reject some big ideas, and look at the world through an ideological set of lenses. People’s worldviews range from highly rational, systematic, and coherent to highly random, chaotic, and contradictory, but we all have them.

And we’ve all got narratives we believe in that both flow out of, and sustain, our political and ideological commitments.

But something’s wrong if we let group identities, dogmas, and stories dominate our thinking to the point that we’re no longer able to recognize bunk (as in balderdash, hooey, flimflam) when it’s being sold to us by those we see as “our own.”

From where I sit, this seems to be a growing problem on “the right” these days. It’s probably an equal or greater problem on “the left,” but we’re primarily responsible for ourselves, and we’re supposed to be better than that.

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“It has become a common trope to argue that the Bible calls us to Christlikeness, not biblical manhood and womanhood. This is a category error.”

"Christlikeness looks different in different domains. Just consider: Christ offers particular commands to women and others to men; some to masters and others to bondservants; some to fathers and others to children; some to young men, others to old men, and still others to older women; some to pastors and others to church members. He has also ordained that some be born Gentile and some Jew; some barbarian and some Greek." - 9 Marks

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Christians—Our Loyalty Is to Truth, Not Political Party or Brand

Main points:

  1. Only Scripture is infallible.
  2. Truth is more powerful than human leadership.
  3. “Our” sources aren’t always right.
  4. “Their” sources aren’t always wrong.
  5. We should seek genuine understanding, even of what we reject.

In the midst of controversy, it’s often hard to tell what problems have been created and what problems have merely been revealed. Whatever we might say about problems the election and impeachment of Donald Trump has created, it has certainly revealed some!

One of the most serious Trump-revealed problems is that many Christians who claim to revere the Bible lack truly biblical habits for evaluating truth claims. As a result, they also aren’t very good at judging the ethics of situations that aren’t directly addressed in Scripture. This is important, not only from the perspective of citizenship and voting, but for Christian living in general: we face conflicting truth claims about all sorts of things every day.

Those of us who are involved in preaching and teaching ministries have an opportunity to help with this problem. We should teach a genuinely Christian (biblical) view of truth and how to evaluate truth claims. That view includes five principles.

Principle 1: Only Scripture is infallible.

Christians understand that God is completely reliable on the subject of reality, which is what I mean here by “truth”—what actually is.

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Making life-or-death decisions is very hard – here’s how we’ve taught people to do it better

"The resulting delay, which we’ve called 'redundant deliberation,' happens when people take too long to make a choice between difficult options. We’ve found indecision is the most dangerous aspect of a high-stakes situation. " - The Conversation

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Are Conspiracy Theories Really on the Rise?

"A 'conspiracy theory' is a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot, usually by powerful conspirators.... These conspiracy theories are not simply restricted to a fringe population. At least 50% of Americans believe in at least one conspiracy theory, ranging from the idea that the 9/11 attacks were fake to the belief that former President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S." - Intellectual Takeout

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