I Do Believe My Ears
“I don’t believe my ears.” We use this expression after hearing the unexpected. The statement that sometimes follows is “I’ll have to see it to believe it.”
But why should we give more weight to what we see than what we hear when deciding what to believe? It is easy take our vision for granted. Sight feels like a fundamental part of the human experience. But the blind no doubt have a very different experience. They don’t have the luxury of seeing to believe. Perhaps the option to see is no luxury at all. Maybe our vision is actually preventing us from seeing truly.
Margaret Manning of Ravi Zacharias International Ministires writes more gracefully about sight and belief in her piece “The Work of the Invisible.”
We thrive on visual stimulation. A free market, a wired world, and portable media give us instant access to everything. We see both what we want to see, and what others want us to see. Creating and editing video is easy. A few hours of work and the desire to influence can turn hobbyist to lobbyist in a matter of clicks.
We immediately believe what we see often without thought. Because of this sight actually works against us. We want to see so that we may believe, but more often than not, seeing is believing.
We surf the internet on waves churned with deception. We have all become media skeptics. Cool picture? Probably fake. Amazing video? Staged. Jimmy Kimmel’s late night pranks are both funny and illustrative. They can teach us more than the depth of our gullibility. Why should we depend on what we can see when we can’t believe anything we see?
The internet and media provide a unique way for deception artists to make arguments with images. Life itself is full of opportunity to arrive at false conclusions from what we see. With sight alone, the logic of what is happening must be based on our assumptions. In order to truly understand what we see, our assumptions about what we are seeing must be correct. When our understanding of life comes mostly through the eye, we are sure to have trouble arriving at the truth.
However, when we understand life through the lens of language, we are more likely to filter out falsehoods and get it right. We can test statements for reason and logic without making false assumptions about what we see. The only assumption required is that words have meaning and their meaning does not change.
So you can believe your ears–as long as what they are hearing is true.
About Jason B. Ladd
Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.