Many of us live in an echo chamber.
“What is an echo chamber?” You ask.
According to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary an echo chamber is:
a room with sound-reflecting walls used for producing hollow or echoing sound effects —often used figuratively, “Living in a kind of echo chamber of their own opinions, they pay attention to information that fits their conclusions and ignore information that does not.”
To say that we live in echo chambers means that we live in an environment where our worldview is endorsed and confirmed rather than challenged.
I know why we prefer the echo chamber. It is hard word to defend our worldview and think through our beliefs. We would rather be told that we hold the correct beliefs about the world.
Unfortunately, that causes us to miss out on what other people are truly saying. Often, it positions other people as the enemy because they have an opposing view than what we have.
Preston Sprinkle offers some good advice.
I think it is helpful to remember two very important points.
- Reading or listening to people outside our tribe doesn’t mean we will switch tribes. When I read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and A Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris I was told to be careful. There was a fear that if I read books by atheist authors I would become an atheist. To have this fear means that we are not very confident about our own positions to begin with. We fear that one little thought from the “other side” could cause our worldview to come crashing down. It is important for us to take the time to learn why we believe the things that we believe.
- Reading or listening to people outside our tribe opens our eyes to nuances in the different positions. I see this happen all the time. It is easier to create a caricature the other side’s beliefs rather than actually dealing with them. This at the core of what Preston Sprinkle called “lazy thinking.”
Not only will you be better equipped to handle their arguments, you might just learn a thing or two along the way.