In yesterday's post, we saw HOW we OUGHT to think. To finish this week's topic, let's look at HOW people ACTUALLY think (IS)...
1. Stay unfocused in their objective
EVERYONE has at least one objective...they may not realize it or they don't want you to realize it. The REAL goal of most people is to be unintentional. However, all of the following methods to be unintentional ACTUALLY prove the individual is intentional...their intention is to avoid meta-cognition. There are a lot of ways to appear unintentional:
-Don't identify your objective.
People will tell you they don't have an objective or that they don't believe they are supposed to share it. One of the "buzz words" people use to justify this approach is to say they want to remain "organic"...they want to let whatever is going to happen, happen. However, notice these people get upset when things go wrong. These people get upset when others are "organic" and it affects them.
-Be abstract in everything
Don't define words. Say that we can't and/or aren't supposed to understand what is going on. This mentality results in the contradictory statement: The only thing I know for sure is that you can't know anything for sure. See for yourself. Ask pastors and teachers their definitions of these key words: faith, grace, life, truth, fellowship, love, Godetc.
-Have more than one objective
This gives them a reason to say they CAN'T do anything because every solution that is posed CAN'T solve every problem.
-Treat the EFFECTS and not the CAUSE
People do this naturally. They want EFFECTS so bad they try to get them without the CAUSES. A lot of pastors do this when they preach effects like peace, joy, love, etc. What are the objective, specific CAUSES of these EFFECTS?
-Pursue objectives out of your control (EFFECTS of EFFECTS instead of EFFECTS of a controllable CAUSE)
The most common example of this is when people try to control other people. They want people to like them or give them things or speak well of them, etc.
When people do have a stated objective, they appear to be professional, driven, ambitious...they appear to be a leader. What could go wrong it they have a stated objective?
2. Limit the options being considered (preferably to one)
-Don't allow other options to be considered
In yesterday's post, we saw that we OUGHT to identify ALL the options AND that the ONLY way we could be sure that ALL options were considered is if God revealed them to us. Limiting the considerations of options is not only narrow-minded and manipulative, it is disobedience to God. It is not a sin to CONSIDER an option...however, manipulative people will shut down the discussion by implying it is a sin to consider or discuss an option they don't agree with. The other popular excuse for limiting options is lack of time. People will say, "We don't have time to think about anything else, we have to decide now."
-Allow ONLY one other option to be considered that is blatantly wrong AND imply this is the ONLY other option
The truly manipulative will pose their option and ONLY one other option that is blatantly false. Then they will act like they have considered ALL the options. Notice, this is a contrastive process but its effectiveness was limited in the comparative step. Notice also, the person's option won't be questioned...the attention will always be on how flawed the obviously wrong option is. The obviously flawed argument is called a "strawman". Remember, the ONLY way there can be ONLY two options is that you are looking generally...like the CS Lewis analogy from yesterday. There are two ways to have the tallest building in town: 1)Build yours up OR 2)Tear everyone else's down. Be careful with people who don't define their perspective and/or don't support it. It is a sure sign the person isn't right and someone is going to pay for the bad decision that is about to be made.
I've covered this before, but this strategy appeared in a "Christian" book that has sold over 2 million copies! Joyce Meyer's "Battlefield of the Mind". Chapter 10 of her book presents an explanation for WHY we SHOULDN'T reason! The chapter essentially says that since wrong reasoning leads to confusion, we shouldn't reason at all. The explanation of chapter 10 can be found here.
What she is REALLY saying is since people don't do meta-cognition well, we OUGHT to do man's way of thinking because you CAN'T stop thinking!
So, how does Ms. Meyer SUPPORT her point of view. After all, we have seen that the Bible tells us to think intentionally. She CHANGES the Bible! A "Christian" author supported their point in a book selling 2 million copies by changing the Bible AND NO ONE CARES! Remember what I said about the "halo effect"? This is a modern day example...we are intentionally overlooking abuse of the Bible and focusing on the things about Ms. Meyer that make us comfortable. Here is the passage from my post on this issue:
Reasoning Leads to Confusion
...O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves?...
Matthew 16:8 KJV
This is not a Bible verse!
Ms. Meyer has CHANGED THE BIBLE TO PROVE HER POINT THAT CONTRASTIVE THINKING IS WRONG!!!!!!
Said in a simpler way: Ms. Meyer has used fleshly thinking to prove we shouldn't use fleshly thinking.
This is a contradiction...she needs her flawed method to work in order to prove it is wrong!
The Bible actually says, "O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because you have brought no bread"?
Ms. Meyer replaced a comma with a question mark...and then put ellipses (three dots) AFTER the question mark.
If she wanted to shade the data AND be accurate, she should have put the ellipses BEFORE the question mark to show there was more to the verse BEFORE it hit the question mark.
A lot of people who are comparative with the Bible do this: take the Bible out of context.
However, it was worse than that...she changed the facts.
She took words out of Jesus' mouth that tell us to participate in meta-cognition and changed them so that Jesus is telling us NOT to think intentionally!
3. Don't eliminate ANY options
After more than one option has been identified, people will fight for the belief that we can't know or aren't supposed to know ANYTHING for SURE. They won't eliminate ANY options. Again, this stops a decision from being made.
4. Live with contradiction AND believe you've actually checked for contradictions.
Finally, the ultimate example of man's way of thinking is to live with a contradiction AND believe you've checked it. I covered this in a post titled "Renewing Your Mind". Worse yet, people will say the contradiction OUGHT to be celebrated! They will say the contradiction PROVES we aren't supposed to understand and that it OUGHT to remain a MYSTERY.
My final example for this week concerns the Model for God...
Over eight thousand years ago, philosophers came up with a model for God:
They defined "omnipotent" as ALL POWERFUL....There is NOTHING God CANNOT do.
Then they easily proved this model for God is contradictory. "Can God make a rock so heavy He can't lift it?" Therefore, the ONLY conclusion is that God DOESN'T exist.
Review the list at the beginning of this post and notice how this is a perfect example of man's way of thinking. Is there another model for God? The answer is NO because ANY model for God would be less than this one. Where did this model come from? Man's mind!
The result is that for thousands of years, philosophers have been proving the model for God that THEY CREATED is flawed. Wow! Why haven't they spent their time coming up with a non-contradictory model for God? They have spent thousands of years justifying why no other model OUGHT to be considered.
What do you do if you are a pastor or theologian? If you adopt this MAN-MADE model, then the result is God DOESN'T exist...this is BAD for business!
However, if you embrace this model AND want to say "God exists", you have ONLY one option: God meant for us not to understand Him. We can't understand and/or aren't supposed to understand God...but we will spend the rest of our lives explaining to you with logical principles why you HAVE to believe in something you can't understand.
It is cultish to require people to believe in something that you can't or don't explain. They could just as easily believe in something else.
These three "omni" concepts are put together to create a MAN-MADE concept called "sovereignty". "Sovereignty" means "God can do ANYTHING He WANTS".
Some people avoid defining ANY of these terms because the contradictions ABOUND! So, if you have another definition for "sovereignty" please share it. I want to avoid the "strawman" argument, but I haven't heard another definition. It seems every time someone tries to give me a definition of their "improved" explanation of "sovereignty", they end up saying it can't be defined after I ask a couple of questions. So, until a person defines their concept, they AREN'T saying anything different than this traditional concept...even though they want to feel like they have removed the contrdictions. For the rest of this post, I'm going to continue with this GENERAL traditional definition of "sovereignty".
Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther and John Calvin introduced this MAN-MADE doctrine into the church. We have been teaching tradition ever since.
What does GOD say?
What does the Bible say?
We covered this in an earlier post. The summary is that the Bible defines "omnipotent" as "all ruling" (NOT "all powerful"). The Bible DOES NOT contain the word "sovereign" or "sovereignty". In newer translations, the word "sovereign" replaces the word "kingdom" or "realm".
When "omnipotent" is defined according to the Bible, "sovereignty" becomes "doesn't answer to anyone...supreme ruler". This DOES NOT mean this ruler can do ANYTHING! This Supreme Ruler ALWAYS does what is Right and Just...THAT makes Him MORE AWESOME than a god who gets things done by bending the rules, cheating, and other "mysterious" methods.
For example, which basketball player is better: 1)the one who wins because he is allowed to break the rules or 2)the one who wins even though he has to sit in a chair? The MOST AWESOME God is the One who is the Supreme Ruler AND always does what is Right and Just AND is identifiable to all...not the god who is contradictory, bends the rules, and has a Nature that is a mystery. The first answer is a God that is Awesome in EFFECTS. The second answer is a God that is Awesome in CAUSES. The first answer is a God that is Awesome in HAVE. The second answer is a God that is Awesome in ARE...in His Nature. It is man's way of thinking to look to EFFECTS...and make God's Nature something less. The Bible DOESN'T agree with the "man's way of thinking" answer (#1) to this question...
The Bible says God CANNOT lie. God is eternal, therefore He CAN'T cease to exist. God's Will is that ALL are saved, however they aren't. Jesus said we need to pray for God's Will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Clearly, God CAN'T unilaterally do WHATEVER He wants.
However, let's look at what these "sovereignty" people say. They say we CAN'T understand God because He is too big. ACTUALLY that sounds like they are saying God is unable to explain Himself in terms we can understand. the "sovereignty" people are ACTUALLY PROVING that God CAN'T do EVERYTHING.
I have explained how we can objectively and specifically know who God is (ARE) while needing an eternity to know God's Personality. God's Personality is beyond our comprehension...God's Nature is definable, otherwise we wouldn't know if we were worshiping the right God. How are people able to judge you for worshiping the wrong God, yet they can't define who God is? Sounds like man's way of thinking...
Man's way of thinking has created a god that is contradictory and different than the God represented by the Bible AND the ONLY way to feel this contradictory model for God is correct is to adhere to the version of man's way of thinking presented in this post.
Link to New Series on Leadership!