Tuesday, July 6, 2021
Why are we so easily fooled?
That is the question that was on my mind all day yesterday. Why is it that so many people believe so many things they see on social media? Why do we so quickly posture up in opposing camps and lob grenades at those with differing views? Why are so many people easily swayed to positions with no real validity and with which they have no real experience?
I did some research yesterday to help me answer these questions. I discovered an interesting fact. In many of the research papers I read, one fundamental reason was consistently given for why we are so easily fooled. It’s because we choose to believe things that support our pre-determined biases. We all lean towards bias validation, which refers to the selection of information that tends to support our existing beliefs. We are more likely to fall for fake news if we already agree with what is being said. Many researchers believe that bias validation is an evidence of a lack of critical thinking.
This same bias validation affects the way we interpret the truths of Scripture. It is exactly what happened in the churches of Galatia to whom the Apostle Paul was writing when he asked them this penetrating question.
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?(Galatians 3:1)
A careful study of two words in this questions reveals the reason these believers were persuaded to adopt false teaching as truth.
Foolish is a Greek word used only six times in the New Testament, and refers to a person who is intellectually dull and does not think through things well, but rather he makes choices based on his sensual desires. Paul used the same word when writing to Titus and said, “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures…” (Titus 3:3) The Galatian people were fooled by the fake teachers because they were not grounded in the truth of the Gospel and were subject to their sensual passions.
The other word is bewitched, and is a Greek word found only here in the Bible. It refers to being fascinated with false representations because they appeal to the need to fulfill sensual desires. These people were influenced by the fake teachings of immediate gratification.
These two words describe many Christians today as well. Many believers are spiritually dull, not grounded in the truth of the Gospel, and still driven by sensual passions. They are easily bewitched by teachers that offer them the pleasures and prosperity of the world. Just as they allow their political, economic, and lifestyle biases to be influenced by fake news, they also allow their sensual biases to be influenced by false teachers.
My friends, are you being foolish? Are you being bewitched? Are you making your decisions to follow certain spiritual teachers or teachings based on your desire to gratify your sensual desires? I implore you to return to the truth of Scripture, and build your life on the single and solid foundation of Jesus Christ. Do not be bewitched by anyone else. He is the ONLY truth.