This article was originally published by Network Member Caleb Johnston on his blog, Subjected to Truth
Most people neglect just how honest they are being with themselves. I submit to you the following as a “checklist", if you will. All I ask is that you consider the following and self assess honestly, at least as best you can. So here are 5 signs I have recognized, mostly in my own life, that have been good indicators that I was not really seeking truth but rather hiding in fear of it.
1. Only Looking at one Side
Perhaps the most obvious, I have found that in periods of strong attachment to ideas in my life I often have only followed 1 side of an argument. My goal was usually not to surround myself with like minded voices but subconsciously this is what I often do. The problem these days is even if you recognize this as a potential issue computer logarithms will take care of the rest for you. Ever notice how you only get aids for products you are likely to buy? Same idea at play. If your computer feeds you only topics you will relate to then you have a better chance of clicking. For me I had to break this chain. Try following groups you typically disagree with. Use Facebook and the like to follow a variety of sources so at the very least you can know what people on the opposite side of issues are talking about. Atheists follow Christian groups/sites, Christians follow atheist sites. Republicans and Democrats….this means you too. And yes, what ever is coming to mind right now is probably exactly the area you need some diversity in. You might just be surprised with what you see and hear.
2. Reading but Not Understanding
It is issue enough to skim headlines and topics that you disagree with, it is another thing entirely to thoughtfully read them. Many of the issues I fear the most I avoid with a passion. But what I have found is that the deeper I attempt to understand an issue the easier it is for my fear to take a backseat and when this happens I find myself filled not with animosity but with peace and empathy. This doesn’t mean I will agree but I can at least understand how people have reached the place they are in life and perspective. A word of caution, it is easy to skim and avoid a true understanding. So when you make it to the end and still don’t get it….give it one more try. I don’t understand quantum physics but every time I read something else on it(and then read it again) I get a step closer to at least a minimal grasp.
3. Taking a Mental Break
Often we retreat to old views when we are put in a position of conflict and cognitive dissonance. We want to run and hide in our own safe space. However, instead of allowing ourselves the break how about a different kind of break? What I mean is take a mental break from your perspective. instead of thinking through a concept from your view take a step back and view it from the other side. I’m not expecting you to change your views but to at least be open you have to understand opposing views from the inside out. This is probably one of the more challenging things to avoid. There is nothing wrong with battling with an idea over a long period of time just don’t neglect possibilities by constantly retreating to the side you hope is right.
4. Failing to Maintain Composure
When we get challenged in an idea if we are truly seeking truth we shouldn’t fear the answers we will get. It is a dead give away that we aren’t really seeking truth or perspective when we lose our composure and result to personal attacks, insults, or more subtle forms of aggression in responding to ideas. In the day and age of the internet others cannot always recognize your intent if they are not familiar with you speaking. So often you may not be called on your aggression….doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Only you know for sure if you have been put on an uncomfortable defensive.
5. Hiding from Doubt
Last but perhaps most importantly. Are you having doubts on a personal view? Perhaps you find yourself retreating to leisurely activities as a distraction from your doubt? I know I have done this often. However, doubt is an extremely powerful tool that serves as a compass for your review of evidence. Are you fairly investigating your doubts? are your doubts with merit or only because you have been made to feel that way given the presentation or presenter? This are all questions that should be asked and used to face doubt rather than finding ways to put it temporarily to sleep.
Wrap up and up next
In short, we should be running frequent self checks on ourselves to prevent truth sliding from our grasp in favor of hanging on to a treasured view. I don’t exclude myself from this and I am certainly guilty of all of the above at one time or another. But I continue to seek truth to the best of my ability and this battle is not easy but I would much rather find truth than be subjected to it(catching on yet or just getting cheesy?)
Over the next couple weeks I have a multi-part article that will focus on Biblical short comings of presuppositional apologetics. It may serve less interest to non-believers but I hope if you are of the persuasion you will still consider reading if for nothing more then the chance at a new perspective.