They are: Rationally or irrationally.
The first way, being convinced rationally, is when you make an educated decision based on facts. You do your homework on nutrition and the consequences of sugar, and you decide that it’s not wise to give your child sweet cereals for breakfast.
The second way, being convinced irrationally, is when you tell your kid a dozen times that he can’t have sweet cereals, but each time, he throws a tantrum. Each time, he drives you to the edge of insanity, until eventually, you give in.
And eventually, you stop telling your friends that you think sugar is bad. You may even argue with them if they say otherwise, defending your stance. You want them to agree with you, but they won’t. Deep down, you don’t either. You never really did think that. You just were willing to give up what you believed because the pressure got strong enough.
Irrational convincing is a powerful force, and we don’t usually see it happening. It’s what gets us to appease our kids with stuff we know is bad for them. It’s what gets us to start smoking in high school, or to bend the rules, or to believe that certain sins are okay. It persuades us, not by convicting us, but by getting us to ignore our convictions.
Irrational convincing is the wrong reason to believe anything, regardless of what it is. It’s the wrong reason to believe (or doubt) God. It’s the wrong reason to fall in (or out) of love. It’s the wrong reason to vote (or not to vote) for a presidential candidate. There is only one right reason to believe anything — because it’s true.
If our motives to believe are ever fueled by anything else, like a desire for ease or comfort or to please a certain group, then they are probably corrupt, and we are no longer really interested in what is true. We are interested in what lessens the pressure.
So, if you’ve found yourself lately feeling pressured to believe something that goes against what you’ve always known to be true, I would highly question why you are tempted to change your way of thinking. Remember that there is only one right motive to believe anything. Ask yourself — am I being persuaded in order to please a group of people? Am I tempted to change my thinking because I’m more interested in truth, or less?
Remember that it’s not easy to follow God. There is a flow we must go against, and there will always be people trying to say we don’t have to go against it. Don’t succumb to the pressure. It’s always been there, and it always will be. The truth isn’t new. It doesn’t change by societal pressures. Nor should we.
Thank you for reading this blog post. I plan to do more, so check back periodically.
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