Confirmation bias for those who don’t know is, “also called confirmatory bias or myside bias, the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities. It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning.”
It is often perceived negatively, as exactly that, an error in reasoning, a failure of logic. In faith and in evangelizing atheism, confirmation bias is frequently mocked as if to say there must be something wrong with those crazy Christian people over there. Conversely however, in the secular world the power of positive thinking is a multi million dollar self-help industry that teaches you the power of the Jedi mind tricks. What’s fascinating about Jedi mind tricks is that they work, they have a spiritual element to them. We do have an uncanny way of becoming what we believe we are.
We are who we say we are. In faith we would call this speaking things into existence. So, for 3 easy payments of 19.95 you can become incredibly successful and ridiculously attractive to the opposite sex. Not really, but with a boost of confidence and a positive attitude, you really can vastly improve your circumstances and go forth and work to confirm your own new-found confirmation biases. There’s nothing particularly wrong with this unless it costs you a lot of money and you’re being scammed. Or, if you’re so fearful of confirmation bias and so proud of your own deductive reasoning skills that it keeps you away from faith and causes you to defensively reject God entirely for fear of being disappointed, deceived, or taken for a ride.
I’m laughing here, but I don’t place much value on so-called deductive reasoning or the alleged human capacity to define “reality.” There used to be a saying, “I’m part of the reality based community,” a saying that cracked me up because generally those who insist so strongly that they possess the real truth, clearly do not. They protest a bit too loudly, something that becomes evident in their desperate attempts to mandate “reality.”
I don’t fear confirmation bias when it comes to faith. I go forth and confirm my own biases frequently, actually the biases to be found in scripture. We’ll call it, confirming God’s biases. So Jesus Christ says, “I am the way and the truth and the life” and He says, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Then He tells us to go forth and make disciples of all nations, sharing His word.
Spread the good news. Confirm Jesus Christ’s biases. Make manifest the glory of God. Be salt and light. When we go out into the world with love it returns to us ten fold, because “we search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses.”
I suppose we could sit back, reject salvation, and glorify in our own ability to avoid any systematic error in our inductive reasoning skills, but I think I much prefer to just fall crazy, madly, insanely in love, and throw all caution to the wind.