It is the special and unprecedented feature of these times that Men choose what to believe.
It is evident that Modern Men believe whatever they want to believe - and having made that decision they simply rationalize it - effortlessly explaining-away whatever threatens that belief.
This means that each person is wholly responsible for what he believes, and what he does not believe; in a way that was not the case in the past.
For example; someone who says 'I would like to be a Christian, but I can't believe it' is wrong - he has chosen not to believe in Christianity, just as he has chosen to believe vast quantities of arbitrary and incoherent lies and nonsense.
We are all like this, we are all (pretty much) in the same boat, we are all rationalizers.
Nobody (and I mean nobody) nowadays genuinely derives their beliefs from evidence, observation and common sense. In the past that was possible, but not any more.
Belief is always chosen; but what distinguishes people is whether they are intuitive heart-thinkers or passive-believing-machines.
There are no other alternatives.
It is our primary choice whether to give primacy to the thinking of the heart; or else to try, and fail, to base belief upon impossible and obsolete, rationalistic 'brain-thinking'.
The vast majority of Men pretend to base their belief on brain-thinking, and the consequence is that they become incapable of brain-thinking - because that is not a viable option. It is one of the most striking aspects of modern life that Men cannot think.
Sometimes this seems like a sheer incapacity, sometimes it seems like a phobia of thinking, sometimes it seems like a dishonest calculation - perhaps for purposes of manipulation. But the fact is they cannot think - and this inability applies to financiers, scientists and philosophers every bit as much as to politicians, celebrities and the uneducated masses.
Men have developed through the centuries, and we in the West reached a point when we became detached from spontaneous, unconscious knowledge, based on personal observation and common sense. For example; Men began to able able to doubt the reality God; then later men reached a state that (whether they liked it or not) they lost a belief in God. From that point, faith became an active choice only.
This was ordained by God as a part of our destiny, so that Men could, for the first time, become believers wholly by their own free personal decision. Men had become unable to perceive the spiritual in life, and no longer passively absorbed it from nature and society - and this was needed in order that there was no compulsion.
But on what grounds could Men then believe in God, once they had become detached from the world of the spirit, once there was no compulsion from observation and common sense?
The divine intent, Man's destiny, was that the time had come when Men should undergo a transformation in the basis of their choices; from the external to the internal; from brain-thinking to heart-thinking.
This transformation was superficially observable in the movement of thought termed Romanticism - with its origins evident in the likes of Herder, Goethe and Novalis in Germany; or Blake, Coleridge and Wordsworth in England.
Now - because this is a developmental transformation - it is non-optional; it is like adolescence: it happens - unless prevented by some pathology.
And if the transformation does not happen, then there is pathology. And that is what we see.
The transformation did not happen, it was (almost wholly) refused - and therefore what we observe is a mass pathology of thinking. People refuse to think from the heart, and have lost the capacity to think with the brain.
People who refuse heart-thinking (and that is all of us, for much of the time - but for most of us: all the time) have mostly become passive-believing-machines; mere conduits for external influence; believing... whatever happens to be going through their minds at present. .
We constantly, but dishonestly, try to rationalize these current belief by reference to old head-thinking criteria such as evidence, logic, knowledge - facts and figures. But observation of people over time reveals that this is a fake; and their beliefs are incoherent, inconsistent, meaningless and purposeless.
Hence people are pervasively dishonest, but have become cognitively incapable of detecting their own gross dishonesty.
But - Men are all sinners; and to become a heart-thinker entails swimming against a rising tide of evil rationalization. So even someone who - like myself - tries his best to practice heart-thinking end-up tries to rationalize beliefs with 'evidence' and 'facts' and 'logic' in a way that is misleading at best, but ultimately dishonest, by its denial of the true origins of these beliefs.
As usual, we try and will usually fail, and will continually fail - so the first necessity is to recognize and repent our failures; and to return again and again to heart-thinking.