Happily, many millions heard the Gospel yesterday. Sadly, many of the millions who heard did not believe. Some of them very deliberately chose not to believe. But others avoided any kind of decision, as they have for years and even decades. They’ve heard thousands of sermons, and read hundreds of books. They’ve discussed and debated the options on the religious smorgasbord. And they continue to weigh the evidence, to consider the pros and cons, and to research the alternatives.And they walked away undecided yet again. Jon Stibel, author of Wired for Thought, calls this “analysis paralysis.” Stibel was provoked into writing about this again recently when he read an old fortune cookie “Avoid decisions, avoid life.” Speaking of how this works out in ordinary life, he writes:
People get overwhelmed with choices, bombarded with information, and become afraid of the risk of drawing a line in the sand. Psychologists have a term for this — choice overload. In the presence of an abundance of information or too many choices, people often become overwhelmed and frozen. Those individuals inevitably revert to what is easiest, effectively making no decision at all. That can be dangerous in business and in life. One study showed that when presented with many products (jelly, in this case), most consumers tend to default to the easiest choice: buying nothing at all. Good thing there is only one type of air!
With the increased worldwide flood of information, including all kinds of religious and worldview choices, many in our churches are so overwhelmed and frozen that they avoid decision, and thus avoid life.As if the human heart was not hard enough, this choice overload, this analysis paralysis adds a new layer of difficulty for the Gospel preacher to penetrate. How much more we should be in prayer for the Holy Spirit to bring needy sinners to conviction and conversion, to make them a decisive people in a day of God’s power (Ps. 110:3).