Can Confirmation Bias Influence Prophets?

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Jennifer LeClaire

Confirmation! It’s rare that I see anyone release a prophetic word on Facebook without scads of people typing out “confirmation!”

What does confirmation mean, really? Merriam-Webster defines the word as, “confirming proof,” such as finding proof of a theory or “the process of supporting a statement from evidence.”

I submit to you that massive confirmation bias in the prophetic is watering down the all-important quality of discernment in the body of Christ. See, confirmation bias throws discernment out the window. Confirmation bias negates discernment in favor of a common belief.

What is Confirmation Bias

Maybe you’ve never heard the term “confirmation bias.” First, let’s look at the word “bias” and then we’ll tie it together. Bias is an inclination to believe a certain way, or more flatly put—a prejudice.

We all have biases. I prefer chocolate peanut butter ice cream to fruit flavors. I would prefer to watch basketball than golf (yawn!). Biases, which are bents or tendencies in our thinking, are not altogether bad until we apply them in dangerous ways. For example, racism is a deadly bias. Discrimination for any reason is an evil bias.

Confirmation bias, then, is “a bias that results from the tendency to process and analyze information in such a way that it supports one’s preexisting ideas and convictions,” according to dictionary.com.

Pursuing Wishful Thinking

Put another way, confirmation bias happens when your own personal desire affects what you believe. It’s like wishful thinking, which is a form of self-deception, and there’s nothing prophetic about that.

Confirmation bias leads to a potentially dangerous error when applied to the prophetic. That’s because confirmation bias opens the door to a spirit of error to flow over a people group—not just the compromised prophet but also the people who believe the prophecy.

Confirmation bias can cause us to lose our objectivity, miss the truth God is speaking and lead others into error. {eoa}

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