Last week I dealt with the first of four questions of How Do We Know. I had to begin with the question, “What do you know?” My second question may be preliminary to the first. It is about thinking. And while our thinking should proceed from what we know, our thoughts and attitudes often determine our convictions.
“What do think, and why do you think it?”
Our attitudes and opinions need to be examined. Often what we know or believe we know is preceded by attitudes. It may offend some of you for me to say most of our politics are made up of opinions. This is true however traditional or radical you think your ideas are. Some years ago I gave a man a gospel booklet in effort to explain the gospel to him. As he looked at it he blerted out, “You know, the Jews killed all the prophets.” It is also true that all the Old Testament prophets were Jewish. I am not exactly sure what either of these things have to do with the gospel. But I suspect he wanted to start any religious conversation by defending his hate for the Jews.
I went to a state college. And although I did not think or pray about it at the time, I am convinced that I went to the school where God wanted me to study. Most of my professors and many of my friends made no profession of faith at all. It was invigorating for me to feel like I was going against the stream of thought around me. But for many years after graduation, I would begin to think about something I had come to believe and discover it was not right in any way and totally incompatible with my Christian faith.
All of us are tempted to cling to whatever facts seem to bolster whatever we think in the first place. That is why it is so important to regularly examine our thinking. Simply asking the question, “Why do I think that?” is often enough to alter the course of our thinking in ways that protect us from pitfalls. I suggest that you start asking yourself this question and see if you do not detect thinking that is faulty in your own opinion.