I have long wondered what brings us to individual beliefs, such the conviction that the Earth is flat, that the future can be foretold through tarot card and palm readings or astrology charts, or that there is no God. For the last 9 years I have spent portions of my time in India attempting to learn how to connect with a culture that worships millions of gods. There are giant monkey gods that stand guard along the roads of India, gods with multiple arms, the elephant god Ganesha, a god that has the body of a man and the head of an elephant. Even today you can hear fantastical stories about these gods. Some intellectual Hindus see these stories as metaphors while others, including the prime minister of India, see the stories as fact. Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated to doctors and other medical professionals at a gathering at a hospital in Mumbai, “We worship Lord Ganesha. There must have been some plastic surgeon at that time who got an elephant’s head on the body of a human being and began the practice of plastic surgery.” As ludicrous as that seems to some, to others it rings true.
Each of us is plagued with cognitive biases. (Wikipedia has a long list that is quite interesting to look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases .) We tend to believe what we grew up with or what we were taught in school. We may believe what the people around us believe, what we learn from social media, or what people with higher IQs say is true. There are many other reasons for beliefs that have no basis in fact. How is it even possible with a fallen sinful human mind to know the truth? Paul gives us the answer in 1 Corinthians 2:7: “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory.”
The hidden wisdom is only found in God. A mind that is disconnected from the wisdom and power and love that created the universe is unable to comprehend the reality of existence. To those who refuse to allow the Spirit to fill their mind, God is a mystery; complete foolishness as 1 Corinthians 2:14 says: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
In 1 Corinthians 1:18 Paul states, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
As we accept the evidence that God provides, we grow to understand knowledge, reality, and existence far beyond the greatest philosophers who have not the knowledge of God. Our job given to us in the great commission (Matthew 28:19) is to share this knowledge and reality of God with the world. We will encounter many intelligent people with a world view that will not allow them to see reality and open their minds to the spiritual things of God. We will also meet people who are ready and willing to accept the spiritual gift of the mystery of God and the message of the cross. These are people who have opened the door to God—if only a crack—and are willing to believe what is right in front of them; people who, by the power of the Holy Spirit, have put their personal biases aside and are willing to let the God of the universe direct their minds to the truth.
Please join Ultimate Mission as we work toward the ultimate goal of reaching those who have had their mind and their heart opened by the Spirit of God. People are waiting for people like you.
Jesus reached down and rescued him with the quiet reprimand, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Again, the principle is illustrated, Look away from the problems that bring anxiety and focus on the power of God!