Are you taking sides?

How gullible are you?

I know you don’t, but some people will believe whatever you tell them. I remember when I was at school there was a phase where the “in” joke was to tell someone, “Hey, did you know they’ve just taken the word gullible out of the dictionary?” The amusement and derision that followed the “Oh, really?” of a hapless youngster was unmerited; the poor kid had no idea what the word meant.

Back to back

Too often in life we believe things that aren’t necessarily true. Not because we we’re gullible, but simply because we don’t know anything to the contrary. Even when we do have a hunch that something isn’t right it can be very difficult to get to the truth of the matter.

Everyone has their own perspective on a situation. And their own agenda. Any parent with young children knows it can be difficult to get to the bottom of who-did-what-to-whom-first. In recounting the events that took place, children quickly learn to minimise their faults and maximise those of their foe. The agenda is simply to reduce the punishment they receive.

What we do in life is affected by what we believe and we have the tendency to believe what we hear most often. The continual drip-feed of advertising is built on this premise; the more familiar we become with something, the more we will trust it.

The first person to put forward their case seems right, until someone challenges them. This has implications for the decisions we make and the opinions we hold. Whilst it is easy to take everything we see at face-value it can leave us at a disadvantage. In the Bible, the Berean believers were commended for not just taking the words of the apostle Paul at face value, but for searching the scriptures to verify their validity[1].

Have you been taking sides recently? As the expression says, you may need to take some of what you hear today, whether from your family, co-workers or on the news, “with a pinch of salt”. It’s likely that even those purporting to be “neutral” have their own opinions and agenda.

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