Do you ever look around and ask yourself “what happened to common sense”? It seems to be that more and more people have abandoned reason and embraced emotionalism. What seemed so obviously right has been discarded for what is obviously wrong. How could this be? A lot of it has to do with “common sense” itself.
Common sense is defined in Mirriam-Websters Dictionary as “sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts”. But because the word “common” is used, we assume that every person is endowed at birth with a common sense. This is not entirely true.
Just because we possess the ability to have common sense, does not mean that we use that ability. God has endowed the human with the ability to know things. But He has allowed the human to refuse to know things as well.
When we look around at the lack of common sense in the world, we need to remember it is a choice. The most common sense conclusion that one should make is that there is a God. But as Romans 1:28 says, “they refused to have God in their knowledge”. An atheist is someone that has refused common sense as far as their existence is concerned.
Common sense is a sound conclusion based on a good thought process. People lack common sense today because they do not possess a good thought process. Common sense existed only because people were taught how to draw the right conclusions.
Francis Bacon is referred to as the “father of the inductive method” for thinking. In the 1500’s he introduced some principles for drawing the right conclusions. These are the backbones for common sense. His method is pretty simple.
He spoke of the need to first make observation. Then one should analyze all the facts involved in that observation. Next, a hypothesis is formed. Finally that hypothesis is tested against all variables until a firm conclusion is made.
While his system had flaws that would be ironed out over the years, it is still a simple and good system. When we compare that thought process with what we see today, we can see that people don’t respect it. I wonder if children are taught how to think in school or if they are simply told what to think. People make an observation, skip all other steps, and then accept their conclusions as fact. Many times people begin their process at the conclusion and then seek out facts and observations that will support it. But most people just believe what they feel like believing.
But perhaps just as important as establishing a good thought process, Bacon also identified four “idols” that get in the way of drawing sound conclusions. They are: wishful thinking, personal prejudices, failure to define terms, and blind acceptance of tradition as authority.
If we don’t get rid of these hinderances we will never come to the right conclusions.
Look at how it comes into play in Christianity. Many people hold it as fact that salvation is by faith alone without any act of obedience. To prove their point, they will turn to the thief on the cross in Luke 23:39-43 and say “See! The thief on the cross didn’t need to be baptized in order to be saved. So neither do I”.
But using the thief on the cross as a pattern of what I need to do for salvation is either from a lack of thought process, or idols hindering one from seeing the truth. For some it is “wishful thinking”. They want it to be true because it gives them hope for others who didn’t obey the gospel. For some it is a personal prejudice that all you need to do is ask Jesus to save you. They already have it made up in their mind and this confirms that bias. For some they fail to define the different law systems that are being looked at. And for others it is just blind regurgitation of what their preacher said.
Approaching the word of God with an honest and open thought process, would cause us to realize very quickly that the thief on the cross is no example of what we need to do to be saved. He was under a different law than we are (Eph 2:14-15, Gal 3:23-24). The great commission of Christ was given after the Lord’s death and resurrection (Matt 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16). The Lord had the right to distribute the inheritance however he wanted while he was alive, but after his death that inheritance is distributed according to the will (Heb 9:16-17).
In Psalm 119:160 it says “the sum of God’s word is the truth”. It is a reminder to us that we need to bring a process to bible study that will bring us to the truth (2 Tim 2:15). The Lord said the we can know the truth (John 8:32). But it will require the tearing down of all the veils that blind us to it (2 Cor 3:15).
We need to burn our idols down that get in the way of drawing common sense conclusions. Burn down our wishful thinking of what we want the Bible to say and simply accept what it does say. Burn down our personal prejudices, burn down the willful ignorance, and burn down the blind acceptance from the lips of a “trustworthy” preacher.
If God fearing people want the world to possess a little more common sense, they would be wise to lead the way.