Why do you believe what you believe?
We tend to think that our minds produce our worldview. We gather input from education, reading, experience, Scripture, news outlets, and other sources. We process that information, analyzing and synthesizing it, and come to conclusions. Those conclusions are knitted together into a worldview. We are confident that this worldview results from this intellectual process.
However, though our intellect does play a part, our will is the prime mover in shaping our worldview.
The Role of the Will in Our Belief System
In the last several posts I have been discussing the basic human makeup, which consists of an intellect that seeks to inform us of reality, our desires, which frequently draws away from reality (unless you have another piece of that cake you will not survive the night), and a will that referees between the two.
Because our personality seeks unity, if our will sides with the intellect, the emotions will tend to tag along, ultimately being at peace or even enjoying the decision. If the will follows the emotions, the intellect will bend reality to justify this decision.
The will joining with the intellect confirms reality, the intellect tending to be connected with reality. The will joining with the emotions, resulting in rationalization by the mind, distorts reality. Over time these distortions spread and grow, one unreal conclusion engendering others, ultimately producing a worldview out of touch with reality.
Consequently, our worldview is not so much a product of our intellect as our will.
How It Works in Real Life
Let’s say an individual is involved in an unbiblical behavior such as homosexuality. Scripture is clear in citing this practice as being sinful, and thus contrary to the will of God. Consequently, this person will be inclined to reject Scripture and the authority of God. This inclination will prompt him to read materials and associate with people that will agree with his lifestyle choice and provide supporting evidence for it. Quickly this individual finds himself living in a social and intellectual environment that only supports his perspective. He is hardly ever confronted with the other side of the issue, and therefore as time goes on he becomes increasingly convinced of the validity of his position.
Even when exposed to people or ideas from an alternative position, he has become so saturated with his perspective that he sees those people through tinted glasses: They are just throwbacks to an unenlightened age, religious zealots wallowing in ignorance, uneducated rednecks who are captives of their primitive culture. Consequently, everything they say is discredited in his mind. Therefore, this person has created his own intellectual prison, the walls of which ultimately were constructed by his will, his choice of a lifestyle.
Matthew Vines provides a case in point. He is a homosexual brought up in a church that views homosexuality as being unbiblical. He was a student at Harvard for two years, but then dropped out to study the Bible for the purpose of demonstrating that a loving homosexual relationship is not condemned by Scripture. From all indications his goal was not to discover what the Bible says about homosexuality, but rather his objective was to make the Bible say what he wanted it to say. He is evidently very intelligent, and therefore has been able to develop a case for his position. He has chosen a lifestyle, and now is using his intellectual capacities to rationalize his choice. His will and not his mind has determined his worldview.
The same scenario could be applied to any other unbiblical choice, be it cohabitation or corrupt politics or unfair business practices.
Scriptural Support for This Conclusion
Various passages of Scripture support this conclusion that the will constitutes the source of our worldview. Let me focus on two.
- In John 7:17 we find Jesus asserting: “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.” Here Jesus is saying that acceptance of His teaching as truth depends not on the mind but on the will. If we are seeking to live as God calls us to live, to live under His authority, we will embrace the teachings of Scripture.
- We find a similar truth in John 3:18-21.
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
Here Jesus is teaching that people who choose a sinful lifestyle hate the light (truth/reality) and therefore will close their minds to the truth, causing them to adopt and support (through rationalization) their own reality, which Jesus refers to as darkness. No doubt all of us reject God’s truth to some extent. However, when the Holy Spirit shines a spotlight on our sinfulness, some people are willing to agree with His evaluation and repent, while others reject the conviction of the Holy Spirit, choosing their sinful lifestyle and building their dark worldview rather than embrace the truth.
Explaining the Intellectual Preference for the Left
The views of the left are comprised of unreality. In fact, every time liberal views are applied to reality they fail or otherwise show themselves not to correspond to reality. The failure of communism provides one example. The global warming scam embodies yet another. On a more general level, since the left has achieved power over our society, imposing their dark ideas, we have begun to experience failure in every area. Economic chaos, the collapse of the family, and our dismal educational outcomes provide just a few of almost countless arenas of societal decay.
Nonetheless, we observe that most of the intelligent, rich, and powerful people in American society embrace the views of the left. It is of interest that the Bible has told us that it would be so. In 1Corinthians 1:26 we read, “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.”
Various factors contribute to the inclination of people of intellect, power, and affluence to gravitate toward the left, even though the liberal worldview consists of darkness, error, and unreality. However, the underlying reason that they gravitate toward the left is that this life offers them so much that their desires for those things tend to dominate their wills, which in turn results in their rationalizing away the truth of a biblical worldview. The liberal worldview provides them with a ready-made alternative, all the more attractive because it possesses the approval of academia.
We find this rejection of truth by the affluent in the conversation of the rich young ruler with Jesus, which concluded in his rejection of the Christian life because of what it would cost him in light of his riches. He was a camel unwilling to unload its possessions in order to fit through the eye of the needle.
The domination of academia by the left has not resulted from their worldview being more intellectual, but instead because intellectual people find it difficult to give up what this world offers them to embrace the truth.