Why People Are Drawn to Simplicity Over Truth

The truth is people aren’t drawn to truth, they’re drawn to simplicity. Recent research from Harvard suggests that customers don’t necessarily buy the best products, truththey buy the products that are the easiest to understand and the easiest to purchase.

This isn’t only true in consumer habits, though, it’s true in subscribing to ideas as well. Whether we’re talking about politics, religion or philosophy, a leader who can simplify ideas for the masses will likely rise.

But there’s a problem.

And the problem is this: The truth isn’t simple. In the world God made, no area of life is easy to understand. Scientists have yet to figure out the complicated nature of the universe. Doctors are still in the infant stages of understanding the brain. And God knows we’ve no proof of our own origins.

*Photo Credit: Oleh Slobodeniuk, Creative Commons

So why is it that we can turn on a 24 hour news station, or walk into church one Sunday morning and think we can get the whole of truth into our heads?

The reality is, of course, we can’t. But it’s comforting to think we can, and so we buy in. Is the Tea Party right? Who knows, it’s complicated. Can the whole of scripture be broken down into 5 bullet points? No thinker in their right mind would believe that, except for the millions who do.

So why is it we are so afraid of mystery?

Why can’t we admit we know some things but not everything?

In my opinion, it’s because humans fear a life in which they aren’t in control.

And knowledge over an issue gives us the false sense we can predict it and understand it and in some ways control it. (Tweet This)

Doesn’t our broken down systematic theology also offer us the illusion we can predict God? And isn’t that enticing?

Certainly there is truth, and certainly there is absolute truth, but, as G.K. Chesterton said, only a fool would think they could cram all of heaven into their heads.

Here’s how to know if a leader or teacher is trustworthy: They consistently say “we don’t have that information” and no longer pretend we do. Some things are for God to know and for us to trust. The rest of life is about making wise decisions based on the information we’ve been given. Which is less than we’re comfortable believing.

– Donald Miller

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