If we scratch just a little bit beneath the surface, maybe I am not as wise and thoughtful as I initially thought. What leads me to such thinking beyond a general observation of my existence? Kahneman so lovely argued, “Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense rests on a secure foundation: our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance.”
I know that we are not supposed to write about how much we do not like a book for this course, but what about if we genuinely love this one?
Kahneman helps shape our understanding of our impulsive and logical systems of thinking, labeling them “System One” and “System Two.” System One is our fast and automatic way of thinking based on our body’s instinctive survival mechanism, while System Two is our more sophisticated way of thinking deliberately and effortfully.
Every day we are presented with opportunities by which our mind naturally kicks into either system, one requiring cognitive ease and one requiring strain. Many of our decisions, Kahneman stated, are cognitive allusions by which we believe we have made a sophisticated decision at the moment. Still, it is an after-the-fact justification with reasoning from System Two.
Kahneman’s confirmation shook me that we merely believe what already want to be true or what is reinforced by the “trusted voice” in our lives; “A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth.”
As I reflect on where our world is today, I wonder if this book should be required reading for everyone. How divided are our country, communities, families, and churches? We have drawn ideological lines in the sand, defining who is right and wrong, who to trust and disregard.
The theological, social, economic, racial, and political landscape is so diametrically imposed that too many people are putting their proverbial fingers in their ears and screaming “La, la, la,” so that they don’t have to listen to those they consider to be the village idiot.
If this is American in 2021, do we think the church is immune from derision and division? Every Sunday, when I step up to the pulpit, I’m tasked with preaching the Gospel, nurturing souls, and pointing people to the way of Jesus among people who have already made up their minds on their worldviews. What kind of defeatist task is set before me?
Maybe the pulpit isn’t the end all be all. Perhaps the pulpit is just a portion of my opportunity to foster relationships with people who are just trying to do their jobs, solve their life problems, take care of their families, and figure this life thing out. Maybe the best way to help people make sound theological decisions is by living alongside them, encouraging them to understand their basic instincts and impulses, reconsidering truth from a different perspective, and affirming their capacity to live into their God-given personhood. Perhaps the best way is to equip people to stop living into the falsehood that we have to be right about everything all the time.
 Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking, Fast and Slow. (Doubleday: Canada, 2011)