Confirmation Bias

Christians really don’t believe in the Bible.

If we really did believe the Bible, we would not ignore passages in the Bible that conflict with our belief system, with our doctrinal statements.  When I talk to Christians about the issues raised in this blog—that salvation is not belief in Jesus and his death and resurrection for our sins but instead is the change of our soul so it becomes like God—they say it is interesting but engage in no conversation about these issues. Why?  There are over seventy verses in the New Testament that state salvation is through belief in God or through our conduct, pattern of behavior, motivation, use of abilities, and repentance.  God put those verses in the Bible for a reason.

I have yet to find a Christian who can refute the doctrine of salvation put forth in this blog.  Yes, if you ignore certain passages in the Bible you can claim you have Biblical evidence against this position.  But if you believe the entire Bible is the word of God, you must find an explanation for what the entire Bible says not just a few or even most passages.

This tendency of Christians to ignore Biblical evidence against a particular doctrine is an example of one of our human weaknesses—confirmation bias.  “Confirmation bias is our dysfunctional predilection to pick and choose information that supports our beliefs while dismissing any data that doesn’t agree. . .[it] is your Yes Man hard at work.” [1]  The problem with confirmation bias is that it “contribute[s] to overconfidence in personal beliefs and can maintain or strengthen beliefs in the face of contrary evidence”. [2]

God desires us to search for what is true (I Thessalonians 5:21, Acts 17:11).  Since we are finite, it is very likely that many of the beliefs we hold will eventually prove not be valid—even some of our Christian beliefs.  That is why we must always be on guard against our confirmation bias.


[1]   Rod Machado, “Confirmation bias”, AOPA Pilot, December 2013, p. 22.


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