How often do we put on a blindfold to avoid considering anything that might run counter to what we want to believe?
One of the fundamental things about truth is how well it stands up to examination. That’s why some of the people who are most committed to something true started out as opponents. Some were so opposed to an idea that they were determined to prove it wrong.
But when the idea is true, the honest opponents will be forced by their investigations to change their minds. It’s happened many times to someone who thinks the concept of a loving creator god is simply stupid superstition and sets out to prove there is no God.
Two cases come immediately to my mind: J. Warner Wallace and Lee Strobel.
Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective who spent the first 35 years of his life as an atheist. He describes himself as an “angry atheist, a skeptic who thoughtfully dissected Christians and the Christian world view.” Then an invitation to church by a friend started him in a new direction.
He noticed that the Gospel accounts of Jesus read just like the eyewitness accounts he used to solve old murders. Using his best investigative processes, he examined whether they might be the eyewitness accounts of those who actually knew Jesus. Might they be telling the truth? What he found forced him to conclude that he would have to become a Christian because of the evidence, not in spite of it.
He shares his investigation and how it turned him from atheist to believer in his book, Cold Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels.
Lee Strobel also began as an atheist. He was the award-winning legal editor for the Chicago Tribune. When his wife decided to become a Christian, he was determined to prove her new faith was based on a delusion. The results of his investigation using his best journalistic techniques led to his own conversion, which he chronicles in The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus.
Both these men discovered what we know ourselves. Sometimes the objections we have aren’t based in careful analysis of facts. They can spring from sincerely held emotion-driven beliefs that something shouldn’t be so.
But as much as I might want to believe something because it satisfies my emotions, that doesn’t make it true.
When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:28, NIV)
Jesus never asked us to leave our brains at the door to follow him. We don’t have to wear blindfolds to shut out the “real world” for fear we might find we can’t believe in him.
He’s always wanted his followers to really think about what we believe about him and not just take another person’s word. No one’s faith is truly their own until they consider it during their teens or later and decide that they genuinely believe it. Until then, any “faith” they might have is only a second-hand faith taught by their parents or the culture they live in.
Matthew 16 reports on Jesus’s visit to Caesarea Philippi for a time of private teaching away from the constant crowds. Jesus asked his closest disciples, “Who do people say I am?” They started giving second-hand answers. Then he asked “But what about you? Who do YOU say I am?” He didn’t want to know what they’d been taught about him. He wanted to know what they believed in their own minds.
Like Wallace and Strobel, we can truly believe only after we’ve questioned what we’ve been taught and discovered ourselves whether it has the ring of truth.
What are some ways we can “love the Lord with our minds?”