are we in control of our decisions?

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

June 6, 2009

Do you believe in a pre-tribulation rapture or a post-tribulation one? Do you believe in pre-destination or in free will? Where do you stand on issues like the death penalty, or even more ‘minor’ ones like drinking alcohol?

Would it surprise you if I told you that your position on things like this may not be based on actual decisions that you’ve made on your own?

I caught this great TED Talks video recently featuring Dan Ariely (a faculty member at MIT) in which he talks about how people make decisions. It’s really a very interesting video! Check it out… 

[youtube 9X68dm92HVI Video :: Dan Ariely asks, Are we in control of our decisions?]

The ideas that Ariely discusses here make me think about the implications for the church. What this research suggests is that your theology depends less on what you have actually figured out and more on what other influences you have around you.

Wait, what?

the thinkerYup, chances are you and I have actually come to very few real decisions on our own regarding what we believe.

Think about it… is your position on a pre-trib or post-trib rapture based on an actual study of the Scriptures that you’ve done? I would even go so far as to suggest that the number of people who believe in a pre-trib rapture increased substantially when the Left Behind series came out (which I loved by the way).

In fact, I also question whether most Christians have even read the entire Bible. Some research indicates that less than 10% of Christians have read the Bible from cover-to-cover.

And this, my friends, is one of the BIG reasons that the church lacks credibility in most Western societies these days. It is also one of the top reasons that many Christians ‘loose’ their faith.

Does anyone else see a problem here?

Not only does this mean that as Christians we should actually read our Bibles, but it also means that we should be students of it.

One initiative that will be starting soon in the Facebook Group is a chapter-by-chapter study of the Word. But whether you join these studies with us or not, I encourage you to get into some sort of systematic study of the Scriptures. Find ways to dissect the Word of God for yourself.

I might also go so far as to say that the future of The Faith depends on it!


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are we in control of our decisions?

by Dan King time to read: 2 min