For some of us, the voice of the heart is loud enough to easily distinguish. That doesn’t mean it’s easier to give the heart priority; we are still fallen creatures so long as we bear this flesh. However, for most of us it seems the voice of the heart is more subtle, almost never loud. For all of us, it can vary with the context.
We don’t have time to read everything. We first have to discern what meets our needs. Obviously that would be the mission calling we all have, but it bears repeating that recreation is part of the calling that feeds our souls. The idea that altruism is entirely outward in focus is a myth; genuine moral action places everyone else in the same basket as our selves. What’s genuinely good for you is good for whatever you do with others.
It’s okay to understand the academic distinction in Western minds between self and environment, but we can’t leave it there. Otherwise we end up with the very real problem of thinking internally with no heart, so that it’s clearly self-centered. The whole point in individuation is first fully grasping the nature of the Fall, and how it separates us from Creation. Only then can we repent and start the merging process on the proper moral level. You have to climb out the pit before you can appreciate how Creation stood waiting for us all to join in the glory of God. Only in His glory can we take our designed place.
So I am driven by His glory to read a lot of stuff. If you go by what some folks say (like Scott Adams of “Dilbert” fame), you need to make your mind objective and learn all about the science of persuasion so you can stand to read all sides of an issue with your biases in suspension. That’s a half-truth. It still leads to smug superiority, which doesn’t help anyone. I’m pretty sure Adams, if he had time or inclination, would deny the existence of the heart-mind, or at least deny that it mattered. We don’t have time and resources to do that with everything.
Instead, we must let our hearts lead. So sometimes I dig into something and realize quickly that it’s morally repulsive, even when my brain is entertained by it. It’s not so different from avoiding certain videos on YouTube, if you need an obvious example. Too much of it is soul-wasting immoral appeals to your lower nature. In the case of reading stuff, it’s not a question of intellectual bias, but of moral bias — some of it is just sheer nonsense. It’s meant to deceive, even if the author is a true believer. It’s not about the author, but about the failure of moral discernment. And I typically figure that out before I get very far with it.
At other times, it’s more than mere entertainment value that has me reading on in something that I don’t like. It’s not enough to know it’s bullshit; I have to understand how that bullshit is going to be spread out to stink up the world. It’s a question of knowing enough to break the hard, dry shell on the outside of the lies and help others to smell it. Manure has it’s place, but not on your dinner plate.
At other times, it really doesn’t matter whether I agree; I don’t need to read the whole thing to know where it’s going. A great secret in reading widely is knowing what not to read any further once your heart tells you to stop. Your brain cannot be trusted to work that out on its own. It has nothing to do with your opinion of the author; it’s whether God intends to bless you through it. It’s a question of His priorities in your calling to His glory.
Sometimes I’ll stop, and then find myself drawn back to it later. Sometimes I’ll need to reread the whole thing. Sometimes I’ll search for something specific I know is buried in a longer piece. That kind of approach violates intellectual rules, but I don’t live by those rules. I live by heart rules. It’s not as if I always get it just right; I do waste time on things my brain really loves. Whether it’s “wrong” is not always that easy to answer. God doesn’t work like that — not in my life. It’s subtle and even my failures are instructive. He teaches us how to help others who wander by letting us wander and fall into trouble. We have to learn to love His truth for its own sake.