Cognitive Contamination

I have been thinking about how the process of ideas, the power of words, and the direction of our minds can go from A to B to C to dead. Sounds heady, but I assure you it’s not. In other words, I am suggesting contemplating how our beliefs slip and slide from a firm foundation to a soap-covered tarp in the front lawn.

My conclusion is cognitive contamination. I think I heard that phrase somewhere at sometime from someone, so I cannot claim credit. The concept of cognitive contamination is nothing new, in fact it is found in Scripture.

Paul writes to Timothy warning him that some who profess the faith will inevitably leave the faith because they have come to devote themselves to “deceitful spirits” and nasty “teachings of demons” which is brought about by liars (1 Timothy 4:1-5).

Cognitive contamination is the twisting of the truth into a lie. The thing about good liars is that they can make their lies sound good by sprinkling it with familiar words of truth. It would be like eating a nasty cupcake with delicious frosting. It is like drinking unfiltered water, eventual dysentery sets in.

When we allow untruth to be present in our lives, to dwell next to us as a neighbor rather than an enemy deserving death, we are susceptible to contamination. I know of too many once-biblical men and women who have been cognitively contaminated over the years to the point where they abandon the faith. And on certain occasions take others with them.

But Paul  goes on in his letter telling Timothy what to do. Timothy is to teach the church. He is to teach the words of the faith and sound doctrine combating the falsehoods of irreverent liars (1 Timothy 4:6-8). I remember one Sunday at church my wife and I were attending when our pastor took time to battle heresy. He devoted 45 minutes of the service to protecting the flock from the teachings of a wolf. This was very beneficial, and according to Paul, exactly what he is called to do.

The training in godliness comes from knowing what God says. We are called to battle, to fight the dragon, to slay the serpent, to blow the fog horn of Truth and drown the screeching sirens of lies.



  1. Wow, so I was searching for a picture of a certain mushroom species that I heard could actually break down plastic from a popular science article and I randomly saw this dirty water picture so I clicked on it and low and behold found an article that is very en-heartening and encouraging to read. This was a satisfying read especially after some of the other blogs I’ve come across recently in the last few days that sounded like the authors were true believers but upon further examination I found that one was some kind of hindu-spiritualist using clever christian-like double speak and the other sounded wholesome at first but was well… almost certainly not. This is like a little Island of truth I just found.

  2. It’s amazing to me what you can stumble upon sometimes while not looking for it. Like how I was searching for something totally science-related and instead I found some heavily needed spiritual encouragement instead which was a completely different topic lol. Not to say that there isn’t encouragement to be found in studying nature (like in science) since everything points to God being the designer of an incredibly complex nature that has his mercy and care in it. For instance, while looking up that mushroom I was talking about above, I discovered that there are these things called ‘endophytes’ which are different types of fungus that live inside plants and help keep plants growing healthy and such. But they boggle scientists because they normally aren’t parasitic and don’t attack the plant but actually help it stay alive in times of drought for example. And they seem as if they communicate/interface with plant cells sometimes –> in other words they are something extremely intricate and incredible and modern science doesn’t understand alot about it. Plus in many ways it is yet another thing that flys in the face of ‘natural selection’ garbage. Pretty incredible.

    Anyways I also want to say I found your church website through browsing around here and on one of the pages I discovered the essay called ‘How To Fight Evil’. Now that was another incredible encouragement to me so I’m really grateful I found this. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for saying so!

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