Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Quote: Michael Green on Bias

“It is one thing to recognize bias and aim off for it: it is quite another to suppose that because men passionately believe something to be true it must therefore be false.”

– Michael Green

‘Jesus and Historical Scepticism’ in The Truth of God Incarnate, (Hodder & Stoughton, 1977), p.120


  1. Nick January 23, 2011

    I always find it amusing when someone rants about the NT and says the authors were biased, as if that in itself constituted an argument.

  2. I don't think unbelievers say so much that the testimony of believers is on this basis false. Rather, they say something even more disabling: that a believer's testimony is inadmissable because it lacks objectivity.

    For a claim like Jesus' which is so polarizing, this leaves no other admissible views except those of skeptics.

    Thus unbelievers don't have to declare that the believer gives false testimony in order to render his testimony useless. This is highly effective weaponry for the committed unbeliever.

  3. Anonymous January 24, 2011

    It seems to be a double standard. The comments of committed Christians are routinely dismissed as biased. However, when I took a course on Eastern Religious literature, the Preface to one of the "sacred" books praised the translater as being a good source because of his high degree of devotion to his religion. I can't imagine anyone saying that about a Christian. Someday somebody needs to make a list of the hundreds of double-standards against Christianity in Western culture.

  4. paulcorrado January 24, 2011

    this is just my current opinion but something i think about a lot … Bias is an important tool we use to help us navigate the world we live in and understand our surrounding but it is far from perfect and also cause problems. It helps us make decisions on things much quicker than having to find out all of the info on the topic. We gain our biases from our past experiences and this can be good or bad for getting to the truth or closer to the truth on any one topic. It is far from a perfect but it is definitely not a 100 percent bad thing. I can go on about this but i am guessing most people agree and if not i will be happy to explain more. When we have the time and the issues is important enough we should definitely aim to eliminate our bias.

    when you encounter someone who believes passionately about something i can imagine bias in two different ways. (and i am sure others ways but these are the two i can think of and i think the two that are mentioned above regarding both Christianity and Eastern religions)

    One, they must know something we do not know or understand something we do not understand so passion makes it more believable. Two, they are unjustly passionate and it is stopping them from taking in other view points so it is less believable. The second would be the bias that is negatively put on Christianity in the quote by Michael Green and that he sees as unjust.