Biases are the same as unjust weights.
If you are a reader of mine, you are a truth lover, so I know we can find truth together. Here is a problem: We get accustomed to a particular view of things, and anything threatening us is scary. What we tend to do is find things that support our ideas. We pick and choose based on our view rather than the truth.
Here is a simple illustration I can give. For most of my life, I heard this proverb to mean that you have to be friendly if you want friends.
“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:Proverbs 18:24
And there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
My former pastor (Pastor Steve Mix) told us that this verse means having too many friends is not good. Right away, I thought that was not what the verse meant. However, after looking at some commentaries and thinking about it more, I had misused it. It is true you need to be friendly to have friends. But the contrast is between friends needing your constant friendliness to those who will stick with you no matter what. If you have friends who give you birthday gifts and expect reciprocation, you might have to buy thirty gifts to keep your thirty friends happy. Whereas if you have a few close friends, they will forgive you if you forget; with few good friends, it is not a burdensome task to be there for them.
Recognize your bias as an unjust weight.
There are other kinds of biases that prevent us from learning the truth. I tweet with many atheists, and they love to quote their favorite objections to believing in God. If you try to share something that contradicts their view, they find some reason to reject it, often not even following through with examining what you have said. They only accept scientific arguments supporting their belief and deny what goes against them.
Oh, but let’s be fair, Christian! I have done this so many times. In the past, I would start reading or watching something not supporting my understanding of Genesis’ creation account and get very agitated. I would not even finish reading or watching it. I chose a view of science based on my bias. I wish I were the only one, but I have seen it so often with Christians.
“Divers weights are an abomination unto the Lord;Proverbs 20:23
And a false balance is not good.”
Young earth creationists (YEC) will point to seafloor sediment but reject the finding of antarctic core samples. One of the most convincing arguments that the universe is the product of a designer is the idea of “fine-tuning of the universe” derived from the Big Bang theory. Christians who believe the universe is old love this argument. YEC reject the big bang but might hold to the fine-tuning argument, and atheists try to explain it way. One of these views is correct. Having a bias is tipping the scale!
The Bible Is Never Wrong, But We Can Be!
One of the worst ways of thinking is believing that you are judging things from a supposed position of truth. I will use my previous example of Proverbs 18:24. If I thought I was initially correct in my understanding of the verse, I could have used the standard arguments like, “I just believe what the bible says and take it literally,” “That is not what the verse says,” or “that is your interpretation.” I will insert this here, Christians are just as much truth relativist and the lost. They seem to believe there are many ways to understand what the Bible is teaching. The only way to avoid this is to discuss our interpretation openly and honestly.
In conclusion, we must be careful about only considering things supporting our understanding. We should not have unjust weights! Have you ever heard the saying, “you are just preaching to the chior?” Well, we shouldn’t always be the choir. If you are a Calvinist and all you ever do is listen to the Calvinist scholars, you will never know if you believe the truth. If all you ever do is accept what young earth or old earth creationist says, you are deceiving yourself.
The Answers in Genesis* organization is guilty of bias in two ways. First, they refuse to consider any interpretation of Genesis that does not align with theirs. Secondly, they refuse to believe the science that conflicts with their interpretation. Genesis happens to be a topic to which I have been dedicating myself, but there are many areas that it can apply to. So be careful!
We must be open to all evidence and possibilities before being too dogmatic, or we can be false teachers leading people down paths of our traditions rather than truth. A teacher with unjust weights robs their students of truth.
Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise:Proverbs 17:28
And he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
He that answereth a matter before he heareth it,Proverbs 18:13
It is folly and shame unto him.
Life is won or lost in the mind!
*”From its start, AiG has sought and relied on the advice of the very best scientists, historians, and theologians available in the world today.” That is only if they agree with AIG. That is exactly what atheists do pick and choose their scientists. Christians should pick and choose the best science, not the philosophy of a scientist.