Being a professor means I analyze the world around me, I find thoughts and theories that align with reality, and then I profess these ideas to others to pass on the torch of knowledge.
Chemistry has been the area of reality that I have studied the most. Therefore, chemistry is the topic about which I profess the most often and in the most detail.
Christianity’s description of reality is the second-most active area of my study. I emphasize the word STUDY. I thrive on QUESTIONS.
Why God? Who’s Jesus? Why would someone think the Bible is believable? And on and on.
Lately, as I work with a student group that makes the case for the truth of Christianity, I have been studying one of the most important topics we can study.
How does someone CHANGE their mind?
In my studies of this I have been fascinated by atheists who have converted to Christianity. And, I have also been fascinated by Christians who converted to atheism.
This is why I have been lit up by the #WalkAway video movement.
It has only been 3 months, and there are over 100 personal videos posted on their official YouTube channel describing their #WalkAway moment where they decided to walk away from the Democrat Party or “The Left”.
I put the playlist on Play All and have been amazed at the moments when the mental switches flipped.
Here are some things I have noticed.
- Congratulations to anyone who has had a #WalkAway moment. You now have experienced what it is like to listen to a different channel than the default channel you grew up with.
- Noticing NEW FACTS is NOT voluntary. You can’t MAKE yourself believe something new or force yourself to believe something old once NEW FACTS have been truly noticed.
- Something about the new facts matched the world you ACTUALLY live in. You assented or ACCEPTED that these new facts are TRUE.
- This acceptance of new facts matching reality relieves a tremendous amount of cognitive dissonance (mental discomfort), and so an emotional rush comes from this assent. This is in nearly every #WalkAway video.
- Lastly, when you realize that you have accepted new facts that to the best of your understanding match REALITY, you are faced with “crossing the line” – taking action.
- This requires a ton of TRUST that the facts you have collected and accepted as matching reality are TRUE. Taking action on wrong facts will have negative consequences.
These three steps are present in every #WalkAway story that I have watched: 1) noticing new facts, 2) assent to their truthfulness, and 3) trusting in their truthfulness by taking ACTION.
I’ve also seen these same steps in every conversion and deconversion story.
Surprisingly, these same steps were identified 500 years ago (and probably originated earlier) using the latin words noticia, assensus, and fiducia. (Apology of the Augsberg Confession, Philip Melanchthon, 1530)
But NOW WHAT?
So you have now had a #WalkAway moment from the Left or Democrats or whoever. Great.
Here are my recommendations going forward.
- Noticia: Keep “noticing new facts”. Don’t let that nerve go dormant ever again.
- It is my view that this “waking up” to notice new facts is a soulish or spiritual activity.
- Noticing facts about your own failings and brokenness is actually the work of God. Jesus said this would happen in John 16 “he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment [John 16:8 ESV]” YOU don’t wake yourself up to this fact, it is an act of God in your life. Jesus calls it “conviction”. Yes, it is uncomfortable.
- Assensus: When you see that these facts line up with reality, you have a choice – resistance or assent.
- Forcing yourself to ignore facts you believe to be true is a horrible way to live.
- Do your research. If you have political questions, read more about politics. (Don’t take an actor’s or newscaster’s word on politics. Duh!)
- If you have religious questions ASK an intellectual RELIGIOUS person. (Don’t take an actor’s or newscaster’s word on spiritual matters, especially if their only opinion is mockery. Duh!)
- THE BEST PLACE for you to explore the facts related to Christianity is at a Ratio Christi Chapter on a college campus near you, or at a Reasonable Faith chapter, or at a Reasons to Believe chapter, or their websites and the Stand to Reason website.
- Fiducia: You will know when it is time to take action. There’s always a line to cross.
- For #WalkAway, it was making a video.
- For Christianity, it is taking action by trusting that God is there through prayer, or going to a church, or being baptized as a Christian.
These actions make no sense if noticia and assensus are absent. So don’t stress about it at this time.
(A note about choosing a church, if the leaders of the church do not value apologetics then move on. Apologetics is ‘making a case’ for the truth of something. A church that doesn’t engage in ‘making a case’ for their view is full of synchophants who will be suspicious of anyone asking questions. Move on.)
My message to the #WalkAway movement
You are enthusiastic about searching for the TRUTH. I don’t want you to lose that spark!
Seek the truth! Always.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
IF he was right, then a search for truth will lead you to Him.
If he was not right, then it wont. You have nothing to lose by searching.
It’s great to #WalkAway, but where are you going to WalkTo?
I love you all. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have this page.