Even though one may be uneducated, at least, God grants each individual the ability to evaluate. A normal person is able to choose what he considers correct, based on the provided survival information. There is nothing wrong with evaluating a piece of information, against another.
The courage to stand by what one believes to be true is virtuous, as descriptive of integrity. Ordinary humans take comfort in endorsing what the majority believes. Most of it is adopted without questioning its veracity. This portrays danger, highlighted by Jesus, during His renowned Sermon on the Mountainside.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it. Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7:13-15 NIV).
The above Scripture is not necessarily suggesting that the majority opinion should always be discarded without evaluation. What is true should be adopted, based on the proper evaluation of information. The conclusion that something is safe should be based on facts, rather than the consideration of the majority.
Most people adopt information, based on its popularity with others. Jesus advises evaluation, before adoption, regardless of whether the majority agrees or not. The majority enforces the invalidation of individual opinions, regardless of the facts given.
Truth should be arrived at after evaluating the data of comparable magnitude—necessary before settling for correct information. An educated person chooses the truth after checking against the alternative data. Even the matter of believing in God should be based on alternative information. In other words, God’s opposite is Satan.
A truthful person is willing to examine the opposite information, being willing to listen to the critical information coming from the opposition. An untruthful person is defensive, treating opponents as enemies; whereas, a truthful person prefers listening to critics more than the supporters. He holds reasons for taking a stand, as opposed to dogma.
When settling for the truth, one would have adequately evaluated the supplied information, for him to be convinced. Understanding requires a scientific evaluation, rather than blindly taking it from another person’s viewpoint. It is about what one would have individually checked to become convinced of its workability.
There ought to be reasons for settling for what is considered true. Politicians are mostly untruthful. They would rather compromise their integrity, as long as expedient, for political survival. Governor Pilate was convinced that Jesus had no case to answer. But he had to submit to the vociferous Jewish crowd.
He had the power to either release or convict Jesus. The easiest way of manufacturing falsehood is to mix truth and lies. Jesus had declared having been born to be King, but without openly rebelling against the established authority. Governor Pilate attempted to release Jesus, based on his own truthful analysis.
However, the vociferous crowd had something to cling to. Jesus had declared having been born to be King, but not of this world. For the first time, the Jews threw some weight behind Caesar. They suggested that Governor Pilate would have displayed not being the friend of Caesar if refusing to prosecute Jesus.
Jesus’ statement had nothing to do with ruling authorities, but with God’s Kingdom, which is not of this world. However, His detractors twisted the statement to mean Jesus sought to topple the standing Roman government. Such fabricated information persuaded Governor Pilate to yield to the wishes of the Jewish community.
Pilate’s decision to hand over Jesus for crucifixion was not based on principle, but on what the environment expected of him. Even among the Jews, there may have been those not in agreement with crucifying Jesus. Probably, the majority did not agree but got persuaded by the common view of the leadership.
There would always be some room for thinking rationally, for humans, when approached individually. However, it seems the reasoning capacity weakens when the viewpoint of the majority is taken into consideration. Information is commonly accepted; when driven by one or two influential individuals with political interests.