Bias

Haven’t posted in a few days. Really just haven’t had much to say for a time. My soul feels quiet after the busy holidays. Just resting I guess.

But I did get back into a conversation on the de-conversion website this week. It is really a very interesting site. I have linked to it over there on the right. Be careful with it though. I think you need to be very certain of where you are in your faith to venture out there. The people there are very intelligent, and they know the bible front to back. If you think you are going to sign on and convert them back to Christianity, you have the wrong motive for going there. They will see through that motive in about 2 seconds. The reason to go there, and the reason I go there, is to help me see the things to which I hold that are really just extra baggage. There is something about being in the middle of the battle that is very cleansing. It helps me. But if you are not solid, it may shake your faith also. Please be careful.

Part of the discussion that I have recently been involved in centers around bias. A few of them called me out, claimed that I was holding my beliefs too close, claimed that I was dancing around the issues, and challenged me to just state my beliefs about God in their forum. So I did, and the conversation has been very interesting and enlightening I think for both sides. The conversation progressed through systematic theologies to evidences for or against God’s existence. Then one commentator said that they thought I was operating from the bias of believing that God exists and then looking for evidence to support my belief rather than starting with nothing and then finding God because of the evidence.

My response to this was that I may very well be doing this to some extent (Luke I believe has challenged me on that same issue recently) but that I thought it was impossible to completely get rid of bias. We all have it. Theologians. Politicians. Teachers. Professors. Historians. Researchers. Doctors. Biblical writers (and I am reminded of some words Dr. Paul has said to me about this). It taints everything we do and say and read and interpret. Some of them claim that they have been able to get rid of their “god exists” bias and look at the evidence from an unbiased position. My counter is that while it may be possible to minimize a specific bias, I think it is unlikely for any of us to be able to eliminate it completely. And there may even be a danger of somewhat overcorrecting for a bias which introduces a completely new bias. In some respects, it seems like a very slippery slope, and I do doubt that our biases can ever be completely eliminated even when we are intentionally minimizing them.

In the end I think it is important to realize that we all have bias and that it affects everything we do and say and think. For that reason, we shouldn’t think to highly of what we do and say and think. And, for that reason, we ought to offer more grace and listen better to what others are doing and saying and thinking. We can learn an awful lot from each other if we are willing to sit down at the same table with respect for the truths that each of us holds without trying to prove ourselves right and others wrong.

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4 responses to “Bias

  1. Hey Doug

    Interesting points on Bias. I have been examining many of mine lately. Though they are not related to religion or spirituality, your ideas on bias are very relevant for me. I followed your convos on DeCon. Very entertaining for sure, though it did make me wonder if you were in line for becoming a member of that site. ;)

  2. Any being that could be called God by definition is beyond us. If he was subject to our proofs and we could comprehend him we would be equal with him. So there is no belief that God exists without faith. Even people who claim to be free of bias have bias from another angle. Jesus was never afraid to mix with people of all kinds. He always offered them himself. Some believed him and some did not. But he was unshakable in his own faith in his Father and his purpose.

  3. absolutely! we are all biased and inculturated. i’m working on a post right now to fully articulate this as well! strange that this was on my mind as well… further proof (at least according to my bias) that there is a God and we are all connected ;-)

  4. Luke. Great minds do think alike. I will be looking forward to your thoughts on this.

    John. Thanks for following me around the web. Have been in some interestings spots lately.

    “But he was unshakable in his own faith in his Father and his purpose.” (Larry)

    Jesus didn’t really tough have to have much faith did he? I mean, he’s God. He knows the plan. He knows how it will work out. Doesn’t seem like faith is that much of a part of what he did. I don’t see how Christ models faith for me.

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