Cognitive Ease Can Be A Pit
We live in the information world, which will simplify and complicate things at the same time. My burden is to help Christians fight the devil’s fiery darts and answer the questions the lost have when you witness to them. It is easy to be simple-minded and say I believe what I believe. We are, however, to make disciples for Jesus. We must point out the truth as Jesus and the disciples did to do this. However, their day is topics are not our day’s topics. The devil is too clever not to change the subject. Therefore I write things like this article.
Easier Is Better
Easier is better if it produces the best results. Whether you realize it or not, we tend to find the easiest way to do things for our survival. I learn this as a teenager about fishing. If you want to catch the biggest fish in a stream, you fish the best spot. The best spot is where little energy is required to swim while providing easy access to the food supply.
Cognitive Ease Is A Gift From God.
God created an easy way for our bodies to function. You don’t have to think about breathing or your heart pumping. God also created a function of our brain that helps us cope with life with little energy, called cognitive ease. Dr. Derek Muller is one of the most brilliant minds that can place things at my level. I saw his interesting video called “The Illusion of Truth.” The video is about cognitive ease and is how the brain will form a concept about something that becomes very familiar. Once we are familiar with something, we accept it without overthinking it. It is a good thing in some ways, as God intended.
Marketing relies on cognitive ease
It would be difficult for us to have to do everything over and over again. Think about desiring to sit on a chair and have to process information if it is safe or not. Marketing relies on cognitive ease because you will feel comfortable using a brand once you get familiar with it. I saw a Twitter post where someone had a picture of two coffee shops side by side. One was a Starbucks; the other, I don’t remember their name. Starbucks had a line, and the other business did not. He said the other had superior coffee and asked why did Starbucks have the line—cognitive ease! Once people are familiar with Starbucks, they don’t have to think if it will be good. However, a new place will take some analyzing to determine if it should be trusted.
The Cognitive Ease Trap.
When we first start to learn something, it is difficult and requires our brain to work hard, but once we have established a working knowledge, cognitive ease takes over, and life is simple. However, if not used right, powerful and good things can be dangerous. If you have been given the correct information, no problem, but what if you have been told many times that something is true, which is not, and cognitive ease takes over, it could be dangerous. We become familiar with certain store-brand foods and assume (cognitive ease) it is good. Often, if we use our reasoning skills, we find we have been fooled.
Cognitive Ease And Christianity.
After thinking about this, one of the main reasons for such diversity in Christianity can be traced to cognitive ease. If you grow up hearing certain things, you will stop analyzing what you have listened to and believe it. All religions and secular ideologies rely on this. Cognitive ease is how indoctrination works. As I write this, there is an effort to get people familiar with LGBTQ+ so that cognitive ease will take over and no one will think seriously about it anymore.
If you are a Christian, I hope you are not sitting on your high throne looking down, at all those ignorant people who believe all these crazy things because I guarantee you have succumbed to cognitive ease in your understanding of the Bible. You have accepted some things because you heard them so many times and never taken the time to analyze them.
A Biblical Example Of Cognitive Ease.
I recently saw someone post that it had not rained before the flood. I have heard this more times than I remember. I once accepted that as accurate without ever considering it. One of the verses used is Genesis 2:5.
And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.Genesis 2:5
Whether it rained or not, this verse does not tell us that. It says God hadn’t sent the rain because God hadn’t planted His garden or created a caretaker. We could then assume that after he planted the garden and made man God brought the rain. You might make a case from another verse, but this verse does not expressly say that it had never rained until the flood. My point is that we read things and accept them without much thought.
I was one of those people who thought it had not rained before the flood because of that verse. I realized years ago that I was reading all of Genesis through a lens created by others. I did not learn the science behind it, but now I know it was cognitive ease at work. I have had to work hard at learning to understand Genesis, and the more I researched, the more I found out many do not study Genesis. I was listening to a lecture by Dr. John Lennox on Genesis and was glad to hear him claim the same thing. He said he realized from his many discussions and lectures that people assumed many things without really thinking them through.
The Bible Calls Us To Fight Cognitive Ease.
To know wisdom and instruction;Proverbs 1:2–5
To perceive the words of understanding;
3 To receive the instruction of wisdom,
Justice, and judgment, and equity;
4 To give subtilty to the simple,
To the young man knowledge and discretion.
5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning;
And a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.Acts 17:11
I handed a paper I wrote on Genesis to a friend and asked him to read it. He said he would, but he would check it against his trusted sources. That is cognitive ease taking over. It is easy to stick with what you are familiar with. Dr. Derek Muller suggested the best way to fight cognitive ease is to do your best to prove something wrong. It does a person no good to prove themselves right. I actually figured that out more than a decade ago.
The best way to fight cognitive ease is to do your best to prove something wrong!
Do Not Let Cognitive Ease Take Over In Genesis.
I know I always talk about Genesis, but it is essential to understanding the Bible. If you make assumptions because of things you were told about Genesis, you are in danger of missing out.
Here is one way I want to challenge you to do what Proverbs says—seek wisdom and counsel, not the counsel that will tell you you are right. That is what the kings of Israel wanted from a prophet. I will ask you to look at natural revelation honestly. God tells us to listen to the creation in Psalm 19:1-6. It speaks in all languages. God said you would be without excuse if you ignored His creation; Romans 1:20.
I find as much bias from young earth creationists against science as from some scientists against God. You end up in a fight where you cannot trust anyone. If you want to seek the truth with an open mind, I cannot more highly recommend “Seven Days That Divide The World” by Dr. John Lennox. You can buy the book, listen to it on Audible, or the video below he covers some of the book.