While earning my Batchelder’s degree in college, I was a double major; mathematics and psychology. During one of my psychology classes, the professor discussed something that is relevant to this election year.
He wanted to show us people have different ways of processing information. It would have been a great course if he taught why people have such differences but he did not (probably because no one really knows).
He passed out a single paper with a specific story. I do not remember the story, but it is irrelevant. The assignment was for each of us to write the meaning of the story and bring it to our next class. It was easy. I had the interpretation as I read it.
When the class began, he did not even ask us to turn in our conclusions. He merely gave a single assortation and asked who in the class had thought that was it. About a third of the class raised their hands. He provided a second; again, asked who thought that was it. It was the one I believed to be true and I raised my hand along with about another third of the students. His last conclusion was thought to be correct by most of the rest of the class.
I was amazed nearly two thirds of the people missed the point of the story. He then stated this was proof people developed different patterns of processing the same information, thereby arriving at different interpretations. Later, when I was employed, I studied to be a facilitator for Strategic Planning. I learned this phenomenon was internal paradigms (ways people had learned to view their world).
During this election year of information and disinformation over-load, it is important for Christians to gain an understanding of what is happening and how to respond in a holy way.
MSM (main-stream media) is portraying our country as deeply divided. Middle America, however, is not as racially fractured as what is being televised (actually. I doubt if people on the coasts are either). However, the country is divided politically, primarily into liberal and conservative ideology.
The most powerful case for addressing this is when I went to the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky. There are many excellent displays there, but the one that was most important for this Blog is the televised interview of two archeologists (which was on a continuous loop so all visitors could see it). They were shown inside a stringed off area delicately recovering bones. There was a string between them and they were about three feet apart; obviously examining the same skeleton.
The video showed the first archeologist picking up a small bone, brushing off dirt, and holding it it up for the camera. He then pointed to various traits of the bone and stated those characteristics proved the Theory of Evolution is true.
The second one dug up his bone (from the same skeleton), dusted it off, and pointed out different traits of the bone and stated they prove the Theory of Creation.
Obviously, their differing paradigms led them to different conclusions; they saw what they expected to see.
This same thing is true for liberals and conservatives. There is just one reality that is going on during this election year. However, the two political parties have different paradigms to process this reality. The same information is passwd through their different psychological filters which result in totally different conclusions.
The Christian response to this must start with understanding politics is a paradigm; akin to “is it better to leave the stool seat up or is it better down.” Such an act is probably important to some people and is possibly an unchangeable opinion. But would anyone stop being friends with someone else just because they left the toilet seat up?
The mature Christian has spiritual power. As I state in my soon-to-be released book Indwelt, spiritual power has five basic attributes: love, courage, boldness, endurance, and faith. For this discussion, only love needs to be explored.
The spiritual power of love is being able to UNCONDITIONALLY love others as we love ourselves. This means we are to celebrate others different skin color, celebrate differences in sex, celebrate differences in age, in differences of education, in differences of language, in social standing, and yes, celebrate the difference of political ideology (Democrat or Republican).
It doesn’t matter if we like the differences or agree with them, but mature Christians have the spiritual power to unconditionally love others as ourselves regardless of those disparities; and we should. It is time to heal our divisions