Bad Eschatology, Part 2 – Blindness

It is normal to be blind to our own errors – even when people show them to us. Even when we struggle to find errors and misconceptions, it can take a lot of work to see what should have been obvious.

Unfortunately, most believers are not interested in ferreting out falsehood. Change is painful, and it’s much easier to trust the stories of a professional – their pastor. And, the pastor is the product of seminaries that are paid to produce cookie-cutter Christians.

Then, there are the fabulists that created the fables that we love so much.

So, let’s talk about why we can be so blind.


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I just got thrown out of yet another eschatology group on Facebook. (This one.) I’m getting tired of thin-skinned admins with an axe to grind, so I’m thinking of starting my own.

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Bad Eschatology, Part 2 – Blindness

The Reasons Why We Cannot See

We’re going to get into the scriptural errors of the main theories about the Last Days, but offering simple and direct proof will rarely be enough to persuade anyone to abandon a lie that they like. Doing that will lead to a personal attack, change of subject, false rationalization or deafening silence.

I confess to having done that in the past with my own errors – errors that I have long since repented of. So, I completely understand why someone would act with such lack of logic when faced with proof that they are deeply incorrect. In fact, if you live long enough, you will suffer such moments quite a few times, and we have a term for that.

Cognitive Dissonance – the stress or pain that you feel when what you see conflicts with what you believe. You can find a longer definition and description, here.

One aspect of this is called Cognitive Blindness. That’s the inability to perceive something because you lack the capacity to understand it, whether through ignorance, conflicting belief or insufficient intelligence.

I actually experienced a moment of cognitive blindness on a trip to Israel to visit friends and family in 2015. I had gone to a makolet (מכולת), one of the ubiquitous tiny grocery shops that are everywhere in Israel. I was buying a bottle of Coke, and when the clerk spoke to me in English, I could not understand him. It wasn’t because of his accent. No…

My mind was so caught in Hebrew that – for a moment – I couldn’t understand English.

This happens a lot in discussions over politics, religion, science, morality and whether the tomato is a fruit or a vegetable. When you show proof that a certain thing cannot be true to an ardent follower of that ‘thing’, they often will be unable to see what you are saying. But, there’s something more insidious, something darker:

Willful Blindness

There are those among us who are deliberately closing their eyes to what is true because the consequences would be too severe. And, about 85% of any given group of people are engaged in willful blindness. Eighty. Five. Percent.

That figure comes from a number of studies of companies and institutions. And, I learned quite a bit about that from this TEDx talk by Margaret Heffernan:

Margaret Heffernan: The dangers of “willful blindness”

Eighty five percent of those who follow an error, know that there’s a problem with what they believe. They know that their beliefs just don’t ‘add up’. But, they refuse to acknowledge what they carefully refuse to see.

I once had a pastor tell me that he would lose half of his congregation if he preached what he believed about the Rapture. He was a secret post-tribber, who was too much of a coward to preach the truth.

Such cowardice by a pastor is a sin.

There are a number of other mental problems at work, and I’ve seen a lot of them over the years – especially on Facebook eschatology groups. I have personally seen the following:

Apophenia – the tendency to perceive meaningful connections between unrelated things.

Illusory Correlation – the phenomenon of perceiving a relationship between variables (typically people, events, or behaviors) even when no such relationship exists.

Selective perception – the tendency not to notice and more quickly forget stimuli that cause emotional discomfort and contradict our prior beliefs.

Semmelweis reflex – a metaphor for the reflex-like tendency to reject new evidence or new knowledge because it contradicts established norms, beliefs, or paradigms.

False Consensus Effect – the assumption that personal qualities, characteristics, beliefs, and actions are relatively widespread through a population.

Naive Realism – the human tendency to believe that we see the world around us objectively, and that people who disagree with us must be uninformed, irrational, or biased.

Effort Justification – tendency to attribute a value to an outcome, which they had to put effort into achieving, greater than the objective value of the outcome. (That Th.D., for instance…)

Confirmation Bias – the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values. And, I’ve been seeing a lot of one element of ‘confirmation bias’ called the Backfire Effect – which happens when you give evidence contradicting a belief resulting in the rejection of the evidence and an even stronger belief in the error.

Frequency Illusion – after noticing something for the first time, there is a tendency to notice it more often, leading someone to believe that it has an increased frequency of occurrence. (You buy a Honda, and then start seeing Hondas everywhere.)

System Justification – the tendency to defend and bolster the status quo.

Subjective Validation – by which people will consider a statement or another piece of information to be correct if it has any personal meaning or significance to them.

Dunning–Kruger Effect – people with low ability, expertise, or experience regarding a certain type of task or area of knowledge tend to overestimate their ability or knowledge.

And finally, one that probably affects me, and probably you:

Bias Blind Spot – recognizing the impact of biases on the judgment of others, while failing to see the impact of biases on one’s own judgment. (That plank in our own eye, as we seek the splinter in someone else.)

Those are just the cognitive biases that I’ve been able to identify in my interaction with people who believe in a number of different eschatologies. There are a lot more to look at, and I find all this to be absolutely fascinating. We humans are so irrational, that we literally cannot see our errors – even when someone shows us absolute proof.

I’ve come to realize that the best that we can do in such circumstances is acknowledge this weakness in ourselves and others. We are all so very fallible, and can only know the truth by the grace of God.

If we humble ourselves and submit to what the Bible says, we have a chance at learning the truth.


I truly hope that you’ll be ready for this

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.Proverbs 22:3


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2 thoughts on “Bad Eschatology, Part 2 – Blindness”

  1. Hi John
    Excellent article and research and critical thinking.

    I spend much time and effort into “removing filters”, a phrase I made up, removing all false beliefs from culture, friends, family, bad teaching, and the most significant source is my own thinking, etc.

    I really appreciate your thinking.

    I will type more later (I am at work).

    I would join your suggested Facebook group.

    I spend most of my time using critical thinking analysis self-examination. Have not watched TV for 20 years and rarely listen to music, I study a lot of articles- I don’t go as in depth as you do, but I try to gather information and many many different sources -it’s fun for me! There are so many errors everywhere it’s mind-boggling specially so much garbage that is taught in this so-called Christian churches. Course I’m not talking about the real Christian church. I find errors in my own thinking quite often.

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