Monday, January 16, 2012


This was posted on Facebook by a friend.  I don’t know if he wrote it or not.


Quite a few years ago, I was attending a psychology class and took part in an amazing experiment about perception.

There were about 20 students in the class. We all sat down and the teacher dimmed the lights. An overhead projector sent a very blurry image to the screen at the front of the room.

The teacher had placed a questionnaire on each of our desks. As we all looked at the image, the teacher said that we were looking at a picture of familiar objects out of focus. He instructed us to pick from the multiple choice answers on the top page of our questionnaire which read like this:

What are you looking at?

A. Crayons and an eraser
B. A bus at a bus stop
C. A barn with bails of hay
D. Different color balloons

Each student checked off their choice based on the limited visual evidence presented.

The teacher then turned the focus dial on the projector ever so slightly and asked the class to turn to the next page of the questionnaire, which gave us the exact same four choices. He said if anyone wanted to change their answer to do so now, based on a "clearer" picture.

With the image still very blurry, he had us push our desks together in groups of four.
"You will now discuss your choices, and within each of your groups, decide on one answer," he said.
He reached for the focus and turned it a tiny bit again. My group was torn between answer C and answer D, but after a little bickering we opted for the barn and hay.

After a couple more slow twists of the focal lens, the teacher announced we would now discuss which of the four answers was correct as an entire class.

Most had concluded it was the barn with hay bails in the foreground while one group was holding out for the balloons. As the teacher continued to methodically turn the focus, the balloon hold-outs finally agreed with us barners.

"Good job", the teacher said once we all agreed. "Now let's bring it into focus completely."

He turned the dial to full focus. A small burst of applause came from the class as we had confirmation finally that we were right. There it was a square red barn with a black roofed silo and odd shaped oblong bails of hay in the foreground. We could finally see and confirm the image.

While the room was still darkened, the teacher walked over to the classroom door and opened it. Students were walking in the hall. He called one into the room at random.
"What do you see on the screen?", he asked a somewhat confused co-ed.

"It's a red lunch box, with a thermos next to it and some Twinkies in the foreground," she said.

The room burst out in laughter. Could she be that blind?!!! What a dummy!!!

We had just spent the last twenty minutes confirming it was the barn, silo and hay. The laughter slowly turned to individual gasps as the realization that it was in fact a lunch box, thermos and Twinkies began to sink in. How were we so easily fooled? How is it our own vision was tricked?

The teacher thanked and excused the hall student, turned the light on an explained what had just happened.

"Two things played a key role in why none of you were able to see what was actually projected on the screen," he said. "First of all, you were not given the actual choice of the correct answer, Because you assumed that one of the choices was correct you were blinded. The peer pressure to come up with the "right" answer compounded the blindness."

Many years later, I recalled this classroom experiment. It played a big part in why I had not seen in the bible what was clearly there to see all along. I had not realized that the world does not give you the choice of "right division". It's not part of the "big" world picture. And the peer pressure to either choose a faith that I could not give 100 per cent, compromise the bible, or just be a "good" person and hope for the best seemed to be the only resting place.

Don't be fooled by man's choices.

God says, 1 Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
Trust that once you are saved the holy Spirit will teach you through the word of God. You will be the student passing by in the hallway with a clear capacity to discern what the bible is saying to you personally. Let your only choices come from God Himself.

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