Can Bias Make You Open-minded?

Philosopher J.P. Moreland points out that conservative Christian scholars have a point of view, like everyone else.  The Christian's bias, though, doesn't inform his conclusions the same way biases inform the conclusions of the Jesus Seminar and liberal theologians.  

Because people like Robert Funk start with the "scientific" view that there can be no miracles in principle, their bias arbitrarily eliminates options before the game even gets started.  Before they consider the evidence for miracles, it’s thrown out.   Funk must conclude the Gospels have been tampered with because his presupposition demands it.  He can't consider any evidence for a resurrection because he's rejected from the outset the possibility of miracles.

A conservative Christian is not so encumbered.  Yes, he has a bias, but his bias informs the process in a different way than a theological liberal’s bias does.  He believes in the laws of nature, but is also open to the possibility of God's intervention.  Both are consistent with his worldview.  This means he can be faithful to all the evidence, unhindered by a metaphysical view that automatically eliminates supernatural options before even viewing the evidence.

The bias of the Christian broadens his categories, making him more open-minded.  The believer has a greater chance of discovering truth, because he can follow the evidence wherever it leads.  The bias of the Jesus Seminar, on the other hand, makes it close-minded and dogmatic.

Can bias make you open-minded?  Under the right set of circumstances, absolutely.

quick thought |
Greg Koukl

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