Friday, May 12, 2017

Cognitive Dissonance and Judging Rightly

ZERO percent chance of rain the forecast said. As I started off on my bike, I looked at the grey sky and thought the forecast might be a tad optimistic. I had even checked the hourly forecast and there was ZERO percent chance of rain all day long. No way was it going to rain. But those clouds sure looked ominous...and there was a quiet, heavy feel to the right before it rains.

I had conflicting information- the info from the so-called experts versus what my senses and experience clearly discerned. This set up a tension inside me. Who is right? My gut...or the experts who study this day in and day out?

I should have trusted my gut.

It started raining within five minutes of me pedaling merrily along. It was warm out, and I had no place I had to be so I decided to keep riding. It never rained hard, but it sprinkled the entire bike ride. Oh well. That's what I get for trusting in weather forecasts.

That morning before my bike ride, I had listened to a broadcast by Albert Mohler. If you have never listened to him, I highly recommend you do. He interprets current events from a Christian world view.  Yesterday, he did a segment on cognitive dissonance. It was a piece about a woman with Cerebral Palsy who became a mother against the advice of all the experts. She was aghast by stories of other moms who had aborted children not only with a disability like her own, but for babies with an extra finger, or other minor issues. She clearly believed this was wrong. However, at the end of an article she wrote, she described herself as pro-choice. She said this created a tension for her because someone like she herself would have likely been aborted in the current climate of  "choice" for so many reasons, including gender of the baby.

Mohler made a statement that I said simultaneously with him out loud, having both of us arrived at the same conclusion. We Christians are not to just live with the tension of cognitive dissonance. We are to use scriptural guidance to RESOLVE it. This is what the woman with Cerebral Palsy did not do. She recognized the tension, but did not come to a conclusion of moral, or better, spiritual guidance consistent with what she knew in her soul to be true.

In other words, the woman with Cerebral Palsy who celebrates life and is very glad her mother did not abort her needed to examine her beliefs and then not be afraid to state that taking the life of a child because she or anyone else deems it unworthy is fundamentally wrong. It is what she believed, but she couldn't bring herself to admit it, or state that truth as a beacon to others.

We are so afraid of being called judgmental that we cower from stating obvious truths that might offend some. Babies in the womb should not be killed. The womb was not designed as a place of death but perfectly engineered as a place of ultimate protection. We ARE to judge -- but to judge righteously and with discernment and wisdom.

John 7:24  "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."

Zechariah 8:16 'These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates.

Luke 12:57 "And why do you not even on your own initiative judge what is right?

Back to my bikeride. I was right in my immediate judgment about the sky looking like rain was imminent. I trusted the so-called experts and got wet. That's ok. The rain on the hot day felt good. But other examples of cognitive dissonance, like whether a child in the womb should be killed because of an extra finger, or being the wrong sex, or having a physical issue is a much more serious matter to resolve.

If you need some help, here is what God says:

Psalm 127:3-5 

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Psalm 139:13-16

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.

All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.

Matthew 18:1-3 

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.

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