These days no one thinks for themselves. We have been slowly trained to stop thinking altogether and just keep listening and believing what we are told. We have largely even lost the ABILITY to think. We are so bombarded with constant information and facts, and we are so caught up in the news and happenings of social media that our brains don’t even have a free moment to process (then you wonder why you can’t turn your brain off at night). What it really boils down to is that we are over informed and under reflective.
When was the last time you just sat and thought about things? I’m not talking about meditating or even quiet prayer time, just sat and thought. I have to remind myself all the time! It seems crazy doesn’t it? We have to remind ourselves to think! But the fact is that we have been trained to fill our free time with information. For me, one of the most shocking realizations to this fact was a study that found that if you can see your phone, you think about checking it every 7 seconds! You’ve probably even experienced the desire to check your phone WHILE ON YOUR PHONE! We can’t even drive in our cars or sit in our houses without some amount of music our background noise. We constantly want more! More noise, more distractions, more information. But information without reflection is dangerous.
The Greek philosopher, Socrates taught his students to question everything. It didn’t matter who said it, where the information came from, or how right it seemed, he urged his students to dig to the bottom and find the truth in everything! These days we have fallen far from the Socratic Method of questioning the things we hear. In fact, the majority of our country doesn’t question anything at all. They scroll through social media and read something they find interesting or agree with and believe it as truth never questioning where the information came from, what was the context of it all, and most importantly, does it make sense?? That can be dangerous. If you blindly believe everything you are told, you will fall victim to the false information of our world. Go back one year ago and look at what the leading doctors and scientists were saying. Is it the same today? Nope, they radically have changed their story a dozen times. None of it made sense back then, and the things they are telling us now don’t make sense. But, we believed it all the same. Because we didn’t question it.
In my men’s bible group, we have been talking about HOW to read and study the bible. What I’ve learned is that most people read the bible out of context and thus misinterpret what was being said, then when they apply it to their lives, they inevitably fall short or become frustrated all because they didn’t first OBSERVE what was going on! Who wrote the book? Who did they write it to? What was happening during that time in history? What was the context? Who translated it?? The most important part of any information, whether it’s the bible, a post on FB, or stats from the CDC, is to first OBSERVE what is going on and then interpret from there. Question everything.
This week I challenge you to do a few things. Number one; find time in your week to sit and think. It can be as simple as turning off your radio while you drive, sitting at lunch alone without your cell phone, or even waking up early just to sip your coffee in silence. But that time of quiet reflection will give your mind the break it needs to reflect and process all of that crazy information that is constantly coming in. Number two; start questioning the new information coming in. When your read or hear anything ask as many questions as you can. Who said it? What was the context of saying it? Do they have their own agenda? Does it make logical sense? Do this for the things that you agree with AND the things you disagree with! Number three; ask yourself what you believe and why. Start with the most basic things and work your way to more detailed stuff. Ex: I believe there is a God. What has led me to believe that? You will be shocked at how little you’ve actually thought about why you believe the things you believe but that process will anchor you to your principles and morals thus making it even harder for false information or fear to hurt you.
These times have been very trying for us all. There has been misinformation and fear galore. But the ones who knew what they believed and why stood firm. Its time for all of us to do the same. No more following the crowds like sheep. Question everything (even this newsletter!)
In Health and Faith,