The Power of Preconception

I have been looking into a lot of theology lately.  I am amazed by the power of previously held ideas in deciding which beliefs one will embrace.

I am convinced that if Bush came out of the white house tomorrow and said that he he has been preoccupied lately, but he was busy curing cancer, many democrats would still hate him (if he wasn’t such a gay and black hater, he would have cured aids) .  If an angel came down from heaven and and said vote for  a democratic canditate, many conservative Christians would still vote republican. (It was a misled angels, and the media edited out the word “don’t”).

Global warming is just as interesting.  People close their ears to evidence that is against their personal beliefs.  Some Republicans seem to be trying to convince themselves that the more miles we put on overly large vehicles, the better.  On the other hand, some green democrats are convinced we should stop people from having children, outlaw cars, move into tents woven of organic grasses, and stop pooping (it pollutes).

The issue gets even more pronounced with religion.  People have so many beliefs that from the side look utterly ridiculous.  The catch is that almost every believer has evidence that no one else has.  Their personal spiritual experience.  Someones own spiritual experience can make them look at evidence in a different way, because they have felt the evidence.  I have been looking at Noah and the flood lately.  All the species alive today did not fit on that ark.  I googled it just out of curiosity.  Sure enough, there were several explanations.  Basically, they assumed that not all species were required, just all major species.  Like a horse counting for a zebra, donkey, and ass, etc.  They just underwent a little evolution when they got off (God directed).  The explanations move pretty quickly.  The big catch is, for believers, you have God.  If God wanted the animals to be calm and relax in the ark, taking up little space and relaxing, he could have.  He is God after all.   There isn’t enough water in the atmosphere to cover the earth?  Umm.  We are dealing with God here.  He eats earths for breakfast.  He could make the water.  It’s called omnipotence.

Meanwhile scientist are pulling their hair out.  Animals can’t evolve that fast, what about the fossils, how did the animals get from the old world to the new world?  What about carbon dating?   How did all the penguins get to Antarctica?  You bible-ists can’t prove anything.

Islamic people reference the Koran to find truth.  They go straight to the indisputable authority to answer the infidel’s question.  The infidel ends up going,”No, seriously, how do you know.”

Mormon books about Joseph Smith read as the story of a driven Prophet of God walked on water when stringing together the events of his life, although he had a few frailties.  Not so Mormon books point to a con artist, who would stop at nothing to enlarge his delusions of grandeur, who accidentally did some nice things.

People come to the table with such different assumptions that it is hard to even discuss a lot of these questions.  We don’t even know what can be admitted as evidence.  Anyway, I am sure other people have seen this in discussion with others.  I guess I am starting to recognize the bias in myself, and trying to reduce it.

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1 Response to “The Power of Preconception”


  1. 1 rhill October 30, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    Just to confirm what you are saying:

    Galatians 1:8 – But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

    2 Corinthians 11:14 – And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

    So no, even if an angel appeared on my doorstep and told me to vote Democrat I’d refuse.

    I’d really like to tell you that Dr. Kent Hovind has some answers for you on the Noah’s Ark question but I’d also have to tell you that he’s in prison for tax evasion. I understand that even good people make mistakes but it is frustrating when it’s someone you look up to so much.


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