31 Aug Confirmation Bias
Would you rather be smart or dumb? Ideally, we do not have to think too long to find the answer to that question. Your answer may be easy to come by, but doing the things to support your decision is a little more difficult.
King Solomon says in Proverbs 27:12: “A prudent man sees evil and hides himself, the naive proceed and pay the penalty.” We do not normally talk about being prudent, but it means to be smart: the thing most of us want to be. When you see naïve, read dumb: the thing we do not want to be. Knowing the difference is one thing, and living that way is another.
I watched a sermon from Andy Stanley recently, and he focused on this verse. He talked about our decision-making and how we process the world around us. Using Solomon’s understanding, smart people see danger and adjust while dumb people see the same danger and proceed.
You may wonder how two groups of people can see danger and react differently, but we see it every day. Stanley described the term confirmation bias. It means to only see the details that support our opinion and ignore the things that contradict it. This kind of bias separates the prudent from the naïve, and it can be a deadly mistake.
You and I want our decisions and choices to be confirmed, but we do not want that confirmation to come through ignorance. We can avoid this bias by having some truth-speakers in our lives. God is at the top of that list. If we can invite God into the conversation, our ability to comprehend danger when it presents itself drastically improves. God will also provide others to help us in that discernment process. We find them in our churches, among our fellow Jesus followers.
So, we return to our initial question: Would you rather be smart or dumb? Assuming we know your answer, what are you doing to ensure when evil shows itself, you make the correct decisions? The prudent course of action is available to us; all we have to do is act as smart as we claim to be. It is easy after all.
Blessings to you,