Cognitive Dissonance

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. ≈ Proverbs 4:7

Holding opposite beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time; or acting in a way that is contradictory to one’s beliefs, ideas, or values; even being challenged by new realities that conflict with one’s beliefs, ideas, or values, can cause stress in individuals. According to the cognitive dissonance theory, folks tend to strive to keep their knowledge, actions, and attitudes consistent or consonant (Carter, van Veen, & Schooler, 2009, p. 1469), which leads to compartmentalization of thoughts.

Cognitive dissonance is an old familiar term from my psychology courses. A term I hadn’t thought about in years. A term that describes stark opposing beliefs in the mind of a person. Conflicting ideas that lead to contradictory behavior, which leads to unstable actions. While, some experts affirm that by compartmentalizing our thoughts, we can avoid cognitive dissonance. This fascinates me, in light of Psalm 139:23-24.

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8). How do we reconcile our opposing ideas and develop consistency in our thinking? How do we maintain unity of thoughts in the sphere of reality? An answer… seek God in Jesus name under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, in order to de-compartmentalize our thoughts… by becoming wiser.

While knowledge and wisdom are similar. They aren’t synonymous! Biblically, wisdom involves the ability to recognize or evaluate what is true, right, and enduring. Knowledge, often refers to information gained from experience, reasoning, or associates. Therefore, getting knowledge isn’t enough. Since, knowledge can exist without wisdom, but not vice versa. We can be knowledgeable… without being wise.

Knowledge is knowing the what. Wisdom is knowing how to understand, judge, apply, and discern the when, where, and why of the what. It is wisdom that provides the insight to overcome cognitive dissonance. So, let us embrace the God given wisdom found in Proverbs 3:13 – 18. Let us defend our thoughts against cognitive dissonance. Let us affirm and re-affirm the virtues of Matthew 5:43-48 by de-compartmentalizing our thinking.

God Bless… I am Wiley’s granddaughter.


Carter, C. S., van Veen, V., Krug, M. K., & Schooler, J. W. (2009). Neural activity predicts attitude change in cognitive dissonance. Nature Neuroscience, 12(11), 1469-1474.