Loneliness Which Leads to Anger Is Being Used By Political Opportunists. Can We Act Like Christians in an *Us* vs *Them* America?

“One man may be so placed that his anger sheds the blood of thousands, and another so placed that however angry he gets he will only be laughed at. But the little mark on the soul may be much the same in both. Each has done something to himself which, unless he repents, will make it harder for him to keep out of the rage next time he is tempted, and will make the rage worse when he does fall into it. Each of them, if he seriously turns to God, can have that twist in the central man straightened out again: each is, in the long run, doomed if he will not. The bigness or smallness of the thing, seen from the outside, is not what really matters.” CS Lewis


Two fists

Over the last two years I have lost two friends to politics. One was infuriated when they found out for whom I voted in 2016. The other was in agreement with whom I voted for but was angry that I was still friends with those who voted differently. The fury with which they responded to me was a shock to my system.They both claim to be committed Christians yet both acted in surprisingly un-Christian ways.Why such anger?

Stunningly, both individuals had confided in me about having lost friendships in churches when they disagreed with the direction of that church. Both were shunned, de-friended, and treated poorly. Yet both responded to me in similar ways. Why?

Years ago, I was very involved in politics, having been both a Democrat and a Republican. However it was at a Republican meeting that I heard a conversation that caused me to walk away from politics. A group of men and women were bad mouthing some attendees who were not Christians and saw things a bit differently. I butted in and said, “This is not another Bible study and non-Christians should be welcome in this group.”

It was this encounter that caused me to realize that politics never change the souls of people. It just tends to split people into groups who are always angry with one another. I decided that I wanted to concentrate my efforts on changing the church. Little did I know the path I would take that brings me to this day.

Loneliness, which leads to anger, is tearing America apart.

I was thinking about this when I heard about NYT op ed written by Arthur C Brooks on 11/23/18. How Loneliness Is Tearing America Apart. However, it was the subtitle that caught my eye.“When people have a hole in their life, they often fill it with angry politics.”

Before I continue, I want to stress something. This is NOT going to be a discussion on politics. I have dear friends who cover the spectrum of political beliefs. I have friends in Europe who are socialists and are Christians. I have friends who are fundamental Baptists who won’t touch a drop of alcohol, consider themselves Republican and are free market proponents. My two years on the Navajo Reservation gave me a different perspective on how we have treated Native Americans who have beautiful hearts. My father was a dedicated Democrat until the final years of his life. I grew up hearing him expound the virtues of FDR and JFK. I am grateful that God brought me family and friends from all walks of life. I grew to appreciate their differing points of view. We were friends in spite of differences. We loved one another because our friendship was more important than political differences.

Brooks quoted a large scale study by Cigna which is a health care provider. Here are some stats from the study.

  • Cigna Loneliness Index survey was created to focus the national conversation on the epidemic.
  • When asked how often they feel like no one knows them well, more than half of the respondents (54%) surveyed said they feel that way always or sometimes.
  • Just under half of all those surveyed report sometimes or always feeling alone (46%) and/or feeling left out (47%).
  • At least two in five surveyed sometimes or always feel as though they lack companionship (43%), that their relationships are not meaningful (43%), that they are isolated from others (43%), and/or that they are no longer close to anyone (39%).
  • Approximately six in ten (59%) surveyed always/sometimes feel that their interests and ideas are not shared by those around the
  • A similar proportion surveyed reports sometimes or always feeling like the people around them are not necessarily with them (56%).
  • Though fewer feel as though there is no one they can turn to, more than a third of the respondents nevertheless report feeling this way at least sometimes (36%).
  • We also see that roughly one in four respondents rarely/never feel as though there are people who really understand them (27%), that they belong to a group of friends (27%), can find companionship when they want it (24%), or again feel as though they have a lot in common with others (25%). Another one in five rarely, if ever, report feeling close to people (20%) or ‘in tune’ with others (21%), while similar proportions don’t feel as though there are people they can turn to (19%) or talk to (18%). Another 16% of those surveyed admit that they rarely/never feel outgoing and friendly.
  • Younger generations are lonelier than older generations.
  • In-person interactions play an important role in alleviating one’s feelings of loneliness, with those who experience infrequent in-person interactions (face to face)
  • Feelings of loneliness are likely to affect both those who exercise too much and those who don’t exercise enough in a similar way, while fewer people who say they get just the right amount of physical activity experience feelings of loneliness.typically much lonelier than those who engage in meaningful interactions regularly.

When people are lonely, they turn to angry politics: It’s “Them” vs “Us.”

Senator Ben Sasse’s new book is highlighted in Brooks’ op ed. Them: Why We Hate Each Other and How to Heal. Brooks says Sasse’s book makes a bold claim. Loneliness is killing us and this is evidenced by the skyrocketing suicide rate and death from overdose rates. He takes it further. The second paragraph in the following quote nails it. (I did not choose this book because Sasse is a Republican. This op ed has been discussed throughout social media and caught my attention.)

Mr. Sasse’s assertion that loneliness is killing us takes on even darker significance in the wake of the mail-bomb campaign against critics of President Trump and the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, both of which were perpetrated by isolated — and apparently very lonely — men. Mr. Sasse’s book was published before these events, but he presciently described what he believes lonely people increasingly do to fill the hole of belonging in their lives: They turn to angry politics.

In the “siloed,” or isolated, worlds of cable television, ideological punditry, campus politics and social media, people find a sense of community in the polarized tribes forming on the left and the right in America. Essentially, people locate their sense of “us” through the contempt peddled about “them” on the other side of the political spectrum.

According to Sasse, few people experience that “hometown gym on Friday night” feeling.

I grew up in Salem, Massachusetts in which I experienced that feeling. Many people in town went to softball games between City Hall and the Fire Department. Walking downtown, I always had people who knew my name and asked about my family. These were people who knew me and cared about me even though we believed very different things when it came to church, politics, etc. Love grows within the safe context of familiarity.

Too many Americans don’t have a place they think of as home — a “thick” community in which people know and look out for one another and invest in relationships that are not transient. To adopt a phrase coined in Sports Illustrated, one might say we increasingly lack that “hometown gym on a Friday night feeling.”

He describes the high school sports events on Friday nights that drew the townspeople together in a common love for their neighbors and community that made most differences — especially political differences — seem trivial.

We can fight loneliness in ourselves and hatred towards one another by intentionally investing in the places where we live.

I loved this next quote because I see that happening in my own life at this time. I have joined a church in which I am beginning to feel comfortable in reaching out to others. I just got a Christmas card from a person in the church. In my own neighborhood, I’m getting to know neighbors due to a common cause which has united us.We have had some laughs with one another while we work together to fix a problem. Until the problem, I had never seen these folks and I’m so glad to get to know them.

It isn’t about how I feel about any place I have lived, nor about my fear of isolation in a new city. It is about the neighbor I choose to be in the community I wind up calling my home.

Be cautious of political opportunists on both side of the fence who seek to divide us by angry, hate driven politics.

We all need to be the kind of neighbor who cares about those around us. We need to address the loneliness inherent in our culture which leads us to divide from each other. We should fight against hate and seek understanding even if we have different points of view. We should have friends who see things differently than us so we do not isolate ourselves into a bubble of loneliness and superiority.

And there lies the challenge to each of us in a country suffering from loneliness and ripped apart by political opportunists seeking to capitalize on that isolation. Each of us can be happier, and America will start to heal, when we become the kind neighbors and generous friends we wish we had.

The church has its own crowd of political opportunists who delight in carving out an *us versus them* free for all.

Churches can become an antagonistic place of  *us versus them.”Anger which results in division is often exhibited on issues such as:

  • The age of the earth. I think that Ken Ham is one of the angriest men in Christendom.
  • John Piper has more rules on his naughty or nice list than Santa Claus.
  • There are some Calvinists who delight in judging the salvation of those who are not. Then some Arminians jump into the fray and create another *us versus them* along with the requisite anger and hate.
  • Robert Jeffress enjoys getting into the political fray and insulting those who don’t see it his way.

I could go on and on. Maybe that is why so many Christians love the political gamesmanship. It makes them feel superior to the *others.* Yet they are missing the real reason why Jesus came and are not dealing with their own loneliness and sin. I placed this quote on the effects of anger at the top of the page but I want to repeat it here. CS Lewis gets it.

“One man may be so placed that his anger sheds the blood of thousands, and another so placed that however angry he gets he will only be laughed at. But the little mark on the soul may be much the same in both. Each has done something to himself which, unless he repents, will make it harder for him to keep out of the rage next time he is tempted, and will make the rage worse when he does fall into it. Each of them, if he seriously turns to God, can have that twist in the central man straightened out again: each is, in the long run, doomed if he will not. The bigness or smallness of the thing, seen from the outside, is not what really matters.” CS Lewis

Deep down inside, are you lonely and need to feel like you belong? If you are not making peace with others, why not? If you are separating yourself from others because you have divided your world into an *us versus them* paradigm, you are falling for the shtick of the political opportunists who will use your anger and not care one bit about you. If you are irate at those who don’t see things your way, you need to reexamine the Scripture. We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God every single day. But Jesus came to bring peace. Are you doing the same?

19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Col1:19-20) NIV

Do you know this *us versus them* story? If they could do it, why can’t we?


Comments

Loneliness Which Leads to Anger Is Being Used By Political Opportunists. Can We Act Like Christians in an *Us* vs *Them* America? — 212 Comments

  1. I think it’s a valid point. But I think there’s a LOT of opportunists, particularly because extremes get view, and hits, and advertiser $$$! Both sides just seem really fake to me.

    Sometimes I wish there was a third moderate party that at least provided some balance to those extremes.

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  2. The worst politics on earth are theo-politics … the sort that goes on behind the scenes to maneuver a church or denomination away from the established theological leaning of the membership … for example, the gang of New Calvinists taking over traditional non-Calvinist churches and denominational entities within SBC by stealth and deception. Yep, this is more of a political movement than a Christian movement, in which one party is determined to remove the other party from power. In “Us vs. Them”, you will find very little love.

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  3. One can always remember that Ted Kennedy and Jerry Falwell (senior) were willing to break bread together (and more, Ted Kennedy even wrote a letter of recommendation when Jerry Falwell (junior) was applying to law school [he got in]). Ted Kennedy for all his flaws was very good at making friends across barriers.

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  4. From the main article up top:
    “Over the last two years I have lost two friends to politics. One was infuriated when they found out for whom I voted in 2016. The other was in agreement with whom I voted for but was angry that I was still friends with those who voted differently. The fury with which they responded to me was a shock to my system.They both claim to be committed Christians yet both acted in surprisingly un-Christian ways.Why such anger?”

    You might wanna’ rethink whether or not those people were really your friends in the first place.

    I come from a time and place before the world had moved on (as Stephen King would write).

    A time when true friends wouldn’t dream of stooping to such lows.

    The late 20th century poet James Douglas Morrison pegged those kinds of people as:
    “…Smug in the woolly cotton brains of infancy…”

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  5. For want of a better place, just wanted to send a message to Okrapod, if she is reading. I miss your insights, and hope that you are comfortable, surrounded by love and filled with peace.

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  6. Hahaha what a joke — author lectures on making peace while tearing apart people she doesn’t agree with — hypocracy central here!!!

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  7. Erp:
    One can always remember that Ted Kennedy and Jerry Falwell (senior) were willing to break bread together (and more, Ted Kennedy even wrote a letter of recommendation when Jerry Falwell (junior) was applying to law school [he got in]).Ted Kennedy for all his flaws was very good at making friends across barriers.

    Falwell was, too, but most people didn’t realize that. I definitely didn’t always agree with his politics, but he genuinely loved people. Do you know that he remembered the names of everyone he met? Whenever he saw me at school, he never failed to stop and ask me how my day was, and he always addressed me by name.

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  8. I believe that one of the big contributors to our divide is social media. Perhaps a year ago, I read an article describing social media as a mob….but the problem with the social media mob is that there is no risk. In the not so remote past, participating in mob meant physically going out with a group where you were seen, identified, and potentially physically at risk for arrest vs. other physical altercation. Now, people participate in “mobs” from behind their computer screens, sometimes using a fake identity.
    On top of that, we seem to have a culture that has limited ability to analyze….if it is on the internet it must be true and so the whole us vs. them gets *easy* traction whether it be from politics or “other”. Many years ago, while in college, a friend and I would debate every night. She would take one side of an issue and I would take the other. In general, we agreed on most issues, but we just had fun with the debate, and it helped us to understand. Now, there is no discussion…..issues have become a series of memes and attention grabbing headlines with sometimes limited basis in truth. I hate our town’s newspaper: it is a series of headlines with no information after the headline.
    Consistent with all of the above, although “social media” has “social” on the front end, multiple studies have now shown that people are happier if they step away from the computer. Yes, we are all well served if we concentrate on our communities rather than our computer screens.

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  9. I agree with the thought that social media has created a whole new set of problems. But in terms of being dangerous when lonely I just have to say that the perpetrators are usually male.

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  10. I have been actively resding and following TWW for quite some time as clergy abuse and spirtiual abuse in evangelicalism have been/are issues close to my heart for mamy many years and for which i seek to be a victim’s advocate. But i have, as yet, never commented here. Dee, so much about this article I love. Loneliness is truly at epedemic levels in our culture. I have made it a practice to refuse to use social media platforms to engage in politics… my heart can not be rightly reflected. Many i believe are misunderstood.
    I suspect many here will challenge those last couple sentences about Jesus coming to earth to bring peace?????? What about His OWN WORDS out of Matthew chapter ten,
    ““Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:34-35‬ ‭
    Here around the Christmas season we pause to celebrate Jesus having come as “ Immanuel, God with us “ to bring provision of peace between God and man… not necessarily between man with man…the gospel has potential always to be devisive because it demands personal responsibility and response for which each of can not make another culpable… our sin problem was cared for in the work of the cross. But Jesus and other inspired writers spoke often concerning the idea that the truth would be both a fragrance snd a stench in the eyes of the receiver. The truth can be devisive. And i 100’% agree we must attempt where ever possible to live at peace with others and allow God to use our lives as a fragrant and attractive example of authentic relationship with a Holy God to the lost world around us. But we must resist becoming discouraged because of the world’s response. None of this taking political sides or even polarization of believers ought to surprise us… we can ALWAYS SHOW LOVE TO OTHERS…. no matter our differences. We often fear what we understand least. Learning from others WITH WHOM we disagree in an open and love-filled environment make places like TWW valuable cyber spots…please never let go of that value.

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  11. Celeste: I believe that one of the big contributors to our divide is social media

    On the church front, there would be no New Calvinist movement without social media. New Calvinist leaders (Piper et al.) used Twitter and the blogosphere to get the “word” out. Social media platforms were used successfully by the new reformers to divide and conquer the Southern Baptist Convention.

    Celeste: we seem to have a culture that has limited ability to analyze

    Add to that the need to have instant everything and you have a recipe for disaster. Put easy church with all the answers in front of the young and gullible, within reach of a keyboard … Bingo! New Calvinism is born! The converts wake up each day for the latest tweet from their icons: Piper Points, Mohler Moments, Dever Drivel, Mahaney Malarkey, etc. They re-tweet these jewels across cyberspace to inform and grow the New Calvinist tribe. No need to analyze Bible passages, to seek truth yourself, Piper will unpack it for you!

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  12. With regard to the age of the earth comment. Ken Ham may be flawed but solely citing him and his supposed anger is rather short sighted. There are plenty of smug and angry old-earthers around as well, including some that have commented on this blog in the past.

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  13. TS00: For want of a better place, just wanted to send a message to Okrapod, if she is reading. I miss your insights, and hope that you are comfortable, surrounded by love and filled with peace.

    Amen! We miss you Okrapod.

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  14. BillToo: With regard to the age of the earth comment …

    Well, regardless of its age, the Bible consistently warns us that this world will not last forever. It’s best to let the Main Thing be the main thing. Jesus said “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

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  15. Max: The worst politics on earth are theo-politics …

    Because adding the “Theo-” elevates everything to literally Cosmic Importance.
    God or Satan, Ahura-Mazda or Ahriman, Infinite Good (ME) vs Utter Infinite Evil (THEM).
    To The Death and Beyond.

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  16. Max: Well, regardless of its age, the Bible consistently warns us that this world will not last forever.It’s best to let the Main Thing be the main thing.Jesus said “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

    That is something we all shoukd be sble to agree on.

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  17. ishy: Falwell was, too, but most people didn’t realize that. I definitely didn’t always agree with his politics, but he genuinely loved people.

    Other stories I’ve heard about Falwell Sr:
    * He was known as a big tipper, trying to make up for Christians’ reputations as stingy tippers.
    * He did NOT like getting fanboyed; fawn over him like a fanboy and he’d punch you.
    * He used to prank people he knew as they walked across Liberty’s campus, quietly driving his car up onto the footpaths behind them, getting real close, then hitting the horn. HAWNK!!!!!”

    ANd he begat a son like Billy begat Franklin…

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  18. Robert Jeffress enjoys getting into the political fray and insulting those who don’t see it his way.

    REVEREND Robert Jeffress is a Court Flatterer who sucks up to Power.
    Tabaqui the Jackal, flattering Shere Khan du Jour for scraps from the tiger’s kills.

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  19. Celeste: I believe that one of the big contributors to our divide is social media. Perhaps a year ago, I read an article describing social media as a mob….but the problem with the social media mob is that there is no risk.

    Net Drunk Sydrome.
    Hiding behind a handle and safely out of fist range tends to pull out all the stops.
    “Instant A-Hole — just add Broadband.”

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  20. Celeste: Yes, we are all well served if we concentrate on our communities rather than our computer screens.

    And go into Meatspace with all the (UGH!) Meat?

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  21. About YEC people besides Ken Ham, there’s some less combative things coming from the Is Genesis History? outfit. And their arguments are more persuasive.

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  22. Celeste: Yes, we are all well served if we concentrate on our communities rather than our computer screens.

    The irony is rich, yes?
    How we were promised that computers and technology were gonna’ solve all our ills.

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  23. Good post. Thank you.
    We know so little and can control so little in the political world that to divide over politics is a bit like dividing over which type of spaghetti sauce is best. The average person (people I know) is far more concerned with making ends meet, keeping their family sane, holding on to their job, raising good kids, and being a good person. Politics is just more noise & static.

    FWIW, I love marinara sauce with meatballs & sausage, but will enjoy just a plain marinara sauce for a change of pace. I know meatballs are putzy, so…
    But people who like white sauce….

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  24. I give my church a great deal of credit. The pulpit message is “vote.” That’s it. Obviously, most of us fall into certain camps, but tribalism is not allowed at church. Being that I’m an independent, I appreciate that.

    We even had a sermon on the dangers of “weaponized speech” during the 2016 election. You have to be brave to do that in the current environment. This after some FB rants about specific political positions by some of the members.

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  25. Greetings from Aotearoa/New Zealand,
    this has to be one of the best posts you have ever written – thank you.
    The corroding power of loneliness on the souls of people created to love and be loved.

    “The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved” – Mother Theresa.

    Time to reach across some divides!

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  26. Loneliness is a serious problem. Uncivil behavior in politics is a problem. This does not necessarily mean that loneliness causes angry politics. I read Brooks’ New York Times piece and I find his conclusions to be a reach at best. The subtitle “When people have a hole in their life, they often fill it with angry politics” can’t be shown to be true based on any of the arguments he makes. People react to loneliness in many different ways (drugs/alcohol, depression, and a myriad of self-destructive behaviors), but angry politics? Lots of people are into angry politics that are not lonely (or have a hole in their lives). Also, not all lonely people are angry. Brooks’ mentioning of mail bombings and Synagogue shootings show nothing other that there are crazy people out there (remember Timothy McVeigh and the Unabomber). I think Brooks trying to tie loneliness to politics tells us more about him and his particular media bubble point of view than it does about the problems at hand.

    Angry politics are caused by angry people. Social and other types of media fan the flames of these people. Social media give these angry people outlets for their anger.

    For Christians, politics should never break up friendships. We are brothers in Christ first, and if politics gets in the way of that, then they had better take a hard look at their relationship with Christ (and besides, one does not have to discuss politics if it causes problems).

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  27. Muff Potter: You might wanna’ rethink whether or not those people were really your friends in the first place.
    I come from a time and place before the world had moved on (as Stephen King would write).
    A time when true friends wouldn’t dream of stooping to such lows.

    I have considered that possibility.

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  28. ishy: Do you know that he remembered the names of everyone he met? Whenever he saw me at school, he never failed to stop and ask me how my day was, and he always addressed me by name.

    I wish God had gifted me with that skill.

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  29. dee: Love is not seen very often in church politics

    I have seen church members come unglued in church business meetings … weeping and gnashing of teeth over everything from the color of the carpet to the color of the preacher.

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  30. JoyLiving: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth.

    Jesus did come to bring peace. However, He knew that the gospel would not be accepted by many. He knew that following His Way would cause others to become angry and sometimes to resort to violence. Yet, He was offering peace whoever would come to Him.

    Luke 22 : as the soldiers priests, Judas and other assorted hangers on came to arrest Jesus, this occurred.

    When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.51But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. (NIV)

    Jesus did not want Christians to resort to violence to carry out the Great Commission. Yet, He knew that Christians would be persecuted. But the Christians were not the ones who should do the persecuting.

    We are the ones who should be demonstrating love while knowing that we might be persecuted for what we believe.

    In the ned the Gospel reveals that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” It is that understanding that should keep us humble and to do everything to create a bridge between the *us* and *them.*

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  31. BillToo: With regard to the age of the earth comment. Ken Ham may be flawed but solely citing him and his supposed anger is rather short sighted.

    I will stand by my comment. I have watched Ken Ham for years and believe he has single handedly created an unnecessary divide in Christendom. His entire ministry is based on encouraging an *us* vs.*them* sentiment.

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  32. Noevangelical: We know so little and can control so little in the political world that to divide over politics is a bit like dividing over which type of spaghetti sauce is best. The average person (people I know) is far more concerned with making ends meet, keeping their family sane, holding on to their job, raising good kids, and being a good person. Politics is just more noise & static.

    You made me laugh while making a great point. I love spaghetti sauce and learned how to make one by an elderly Italian lady’s family while living on the Navajo Reservation, of all places. I make enough for 5 meals whenever I make it

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  33. LInn: The pulpit message is “vote.

    I went to a church in which one of the pastors would hand out a “who to vote for” brochure. I would cringe at such maneuvers. My church now sounds lie your church. We pray for the elections and for those in government.

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  34. senecagriggs:
    Interesting study:
    https://pjmedia.com/trending/students-believe-conservatives-are-evil-inhuman-uw-study-finds/

    Come on Senecca, you know this cuts both ways. Just look at the comments in any left leaning article and you will find that those that lean right can be just as hateful. Look at the name calling on “both sides.” It is disgusting. One side is not the victim here. To suggest this, as you do with this link, says more about you than it says about anything else.

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  35. Headless Unicorn Guy:
    * He used to prank people he knew as they walked across Liberty’s campus, quietly driving his car up onto the footpaths behind them, getting real close, then hitting the horn. HAWNK!!!!!”

    This is absolutely true. He did it to me once. Drove his giant white SUV right up on the sidewalk behind me and laid on the horn.

    dee: I wish God had gifted me with that skill

    Me too…

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  36. ishy: This is absolutely true. He did it to me once. Drove his giant white SUV right up on the sidewalk behind me and laid on the horn.

    Wow! That would really upset me. This kind of action would make me think he was a class A bully. Plus, would anyone else be able to do this without getting in big trouble? No. To me, this is just a bully in power proving he can do whatever he wants.

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  37. Bridget,

    It would upset me if a stranger did it, but everyone at Liberty knew he did this as a joke. And college students thought it was hysterical.

    I do think it would have been more funny if he did it to the professors…

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  38. Ken P.: For Christians, politics should never break up friendships. We are brothers in Christ first, and if politics gets in the way of that, then they had better take a hard look at their relationship with Christ

    Well said.

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  39. len,

    I need to let you know that both my husband and I are evolutionary creationists. This is not from lack of study-just the opposite. My husband is a member of the American Scientific Affiliation- Christian scientists who believe in an ancient earth.

    If you click on our search button and put in creationism, etc. you will see the plethora of article we have written and we have hosted on our site. Our posts defend the old part position.

    For us, the arguments you mention are not persuasive. However, we wish you a Merry Christmas anyway. 🙂

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  40. “When people have a hole in their life, they often fill it with angry politics”

    I am getting to be of “senior” age, and I have several retired friends, on both sides of the political spectrum, who spend most of their time watching/listening to their favorite news commentators on cable/podcasts, commenting on Twitter/Facebook, and taking on the opposite side with a gusto worthy of the Crusaders. They don’t have any other life. They don’t volunteer, in the community or at church. They don’t attend cultural events. They just rant on Facebook and watch their news channels.

    I find it very sad. I am active as a volunteer besides being a full-time teacher. I have my biases (I work in the Hispanic immigrant community), but I find that meaningful participation really improves how I communicate what is important to me. I also attend social events, usually at church, where I mix and mingle with others and learn their opinions. It makes me more sympathetic.

    Most of the recent incidents with lone shooters have been very isolated people with social media accounts and strong opinions. I think that has a lot to say about the current state of affairs.

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  41. Possibly tied into what the Original Post was talking about (and what someone up thread mentioned), is the advent of social media.

    There was a study that came out about a week ago that says social media use can create depression.

    (The study found it’s not just a correlation, but a causation.)

    I did a post with links to a few news stories about it here:
    Social Media Use Increases Depression and Loneliness, Study Finds
    https://missdaisyflower.wordpress.com/2018/11/11/%E2%80%A2-social-media-use-increases-depression-and-loneliness-study-finds/

    Twitter especially is a non-stop outrage-fest by a lot of people of whatever political affiliation, so I sometimes stay off Twitter (and other social media) for days, and I feel better when I’m not on it.

    I do have social media accounts where I intentionally do not follow any political or religious accounts at all – I just look at interesting or fun stuff – and it makes all the difference in the world.

    The headlines I see when I scroll through those particular non-political and non-religious accounts contain little to no bickering, complaining, hostility, yelling, etc. It’s very refreshing.

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  42. Linn: I am getting to be of “senior” age, and I have several retired friends, on both sides of the political spectrum, who spend most of their time watching/listening to their favorite news commentators on cable/podcasts, commenting on Twitter/Facebook, and taking on the opposite side with a gusto worthy of the Crusaders.

    They don’t have any other life. They don’t volunteer, in the community or at church.

    They don’t attend cultural events. They just rant on Facebook and watch their news channels.

    I’ve had a few friends / family like that on Facebook – not so many now, but I had a few a few years ago (Twitter is way worse about this, anyway -).

    Funny enough, one guy who I was friends with on Facebook, whose political beliefs were about identical to mine, constantly posted opinion/ editorial pieces against a certain politician, and I ended up putting him on “mute.”

    Now, I happened to have agreed with most of this guy’s political content (we were of the same political party), but you know, when I visit Facebook, I get really tired of seeing non-stop negativity in the form of bashing one politician (or party) or the other.

    I feel this way even if I agree with whatever the negative content is.

    I ended up putting that one guy on ‘Mute,’ or whatever that function is called on Facebook, so I wouldn’t have to see his non-stop stream of bashing “Politician X” over and over.

    I was thinking to myself about that guy’s posts, ‘I agree with your criticisms of X, but I don’t want to see non-stop vitriol about Politician X every freaking time I log into this social media account. How about posting some nice photos of sunsets in Hawaii for a change?’

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  43. About the loneliness epidemic.

    One reason of a billion I have in the past on this blog, and on others, harped on how poorly churches tend to treat single and/or childless/ childfree adults (with single including the widowed, divorced, never-married, which may fall in all age brackets) is precisely because of this.

    Many churches, especially of the conservative variety, are too heavily vested in the Nuclear Family, and Defending Marriage, and lamenting about how more people are not having children these days.

    In the meantime, it’s just a change in American culture that more and more adults are not marrying at all, or delaying marriage, and/or not having kids.

    Oh, and one article I saw from about 3 or more years ago says that most single adults live on their own (they don’t even have a room mate).

    All that ‘Focusing On The Family’ most churches get wrapped up into means they are not ministering to all the single adults out thee.

    You have a lot of single adults out there, living on their own, and some of them may be lonely.
    But do churches want to reach out to those singles? Why no.

    Churches instead want to simply complain about how liberals are supposedly tearing The Family apart, or complain that “Joe and Susie Christian” aren’t marrying any more.

    Rather than complain about how life is, why don’t more churches accept reality and try to reach people where they currently are?

    Help me while I am single, instead of shaming me for not being married, in other words.

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  44. Linn: who spend most of their time watching/listening to their favorite news commentators on cable/podcasts, commenting on Twitter/Facebook, and taking on the opposite side with a gusto worthy of the Crusaders. They don’t have any other life.

    These are called “No-Life Fanboys”, and are a common phenomenon in various fandoms. (op cit “Sonichu”.)
    Just these No-Lifes got themselves a more Respectable(TM) Fandom to Fanboy — Political Jihad.
    (It’s not only the USSR and its third-world fanboys who turned their political system into a Fundamentalist Religion, complete with Witches hiding under every bed to be smelled out and burned en masse.)

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  45. Bridget: Wow! That would really upset me. This kind of action would make me think he was a class A bully.

    Search YouTube sometime for “Wake Up Pranks”, “Scare Pranks”, etc.

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  46. Daisy: Oh, and one article I saw from about 3 or more years ago says that most single adults live on their own (they don’t even have a room mate).

    Which is bad. Living alone for a year or two is one thing, but year after year after year?

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  47. From the Original Post:

    Over the last two years I have lost two friends to politics. One was infuriated when they found out for whom I voted in 2016.

    The other was in agreement with whom I voted for but was angry that I was still friends with those who voted differently.

    The fury with which they responded to me was a shock to my system. They both claim to be committed Christians yet both acted in surprisingly un-Christian ways

    Why such anger?

    ….Years ago, I was very involved in politics, having been both a Democrat and a Republican.

    I’ve never been a Democrat, but I used to be a Republican, until around, oh, 2 or 3 years ago.

    I didn’t vote for any of the presidential candidates in 2016.
    (But I’m not sitting in criticism of those of you who did vote.)

    I believe you when you say some of your friends bit your head off for who you voted for in 2016, but,

    I can assure you based on my personal experience, that even if you sat out 2016 (like I did), you will still get venom from the political blow-hards – the people who eat, breathe, and sleep nothing but politics.

    I’m not beholden to politicians from either party now, which means I can be equally critical, or a bit more impartial about disputes.

    Even when you’re not loyal to either party, though, you will get your head ripped off by those online who are utterly obsessed with hating a particular politician (or a particular political party or political agenda).

    It’s almost like politics has become religion for some people, and if you either refuse to be as critical of their hated politician as they are,
    or, you refuse to defend their candidate/party of choice, they take it as a deep, personal affront and/or assume you’re hateful or evil.

    I find it weird how people have lost an ability to “agree to disagree.”
    They do act like if you are civil or friends with someone on the ‘opposing’ political side (or of the side they hate), they act like you are automatically scum and a traitor.

    I’ve had that happen to me, and I’ve seen it happen to others.

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  48. Daisy,

    I think I’m remember you commenting on that right after, and I had just ignored the same person for the same reason.

    One thing I really have trouble with is one side saying horrible things about the other side and not being honest that their side is doing horrible things, too. Both sides have powerful, rich people who are just out for themselves who say whatever they think is necessary to keep their power.

    The other thing that really bothers me is Christians who are okay with anyone as long as they are on their side, even if there’s overwhelming evidence that prison had done terrible things. And I can think of examples on both sides.

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  49. Headless Unicorn Guy: Which is bad. Living alone for a year or two is one thing, but year after year after year?

    Some people don’t have a choice.

    When my maternal grandfather died in the 1970s, his wife (my grandmother) never did remarry, and she lived alone.

    Of course, she had kids who sometimes visited her.

    There is a headline from The Atlantic that proclaims,
    “Living Alone Doesn’t Cause Loneliness”

    Some single people are fine living on their own, some do get lonely.

    Living Alone on the Rise (2013)
    https://www.newswise.com/articles/living-alone-on-the-rise

    One-person households are currently the second most common type after married-couple households, with the majority of solo dwellers living in large metropolitan areas such as Washington, D.C., Dallas, San Francisco and New York.

    From NY Times, 2015:
    “A Rise in the Number of Those Living Alone ”

    From a UK paper, The Telegraph, published 2015:
    “Single society: more of us are living alone in 2015”

    From The Globe and Mail, 2016
    “Census 2016: More Canadians than ever living alone”

    From Daily Mail (British paper), 2017:
    “Number of middle-aged people living alone in the UK soars”

    From 2017, The Hill:
    “More Americans are living alone after recession”

    A slight twist (from Wash Post, 2018):
    “Living Apart Together: A New Option for Older Adults”

    From 2017 from Seven Ponds Blog:
    “In the Future, More Older Americans May Die Alone”
    – – – – –
    Many churches in America want to deny these changes from the “1950s Ward Married to June With Two Sons At Home,” while the churches who do notice these changes want to complain about it, rather than just helping singles who live alone.

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  50. Linn: Most of the recent incidents with lone shooters have been very isolated people with social media accounts and strong opinions. I think that has a lot to say about the current state of affairs.

    Thank you for your comment. I too, know people whose lives revolve around political pundits.

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  51. Daisy: Help me while I am single, instead of shaming me for not being married, in other words.

    I agree Daisy, and Shame on Them for their treatment of you and countless others.

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  52. Ken P.: Loneliness is a serious problem. Uncivil behavior in politics is a problem. This does not necessarily mean that loneliness causes angry politics.

    I read Brooks’ New York Times piece and I find his conclusions to be a reach at best.

    The subtitle “When people have a hole in their life, they often fill it with angry politics” can’t be shown to be true based on any of the arguments he makes.

    People react to loneliness in many different ways (drugs/alcohol, depression, and a myriad of self-destructive behaviors), but angry politics? Lots of people are into angry politics that are not lonely (or have a hole in their lives).

    I can see how what you’re saying is true, but it does seem like often times, when we learn more about these guys who go on shooting sprees and what not, they do tend to be loners.

    The recent pipe bomb mailer guy had been living with his Mom, and then was living in his van at one point.

    Being alone or lonely could be one factor of a few for why some of these guys go on the violent rampages that they do.

    I suspect that since the U.S.A. seems to be heading to a post-Christian culture, the hollow that used to be filled by God and church life is now being filled by politics for a lot of people.

    I just saw an article about that topic not too long ago, but I can’t remember where. I cannot find the exact article I was thinking of, but here’s another that addresses the subject:
    How Politics Becomes Religion
    https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2018/07/15/how-politics-becomes-religion/

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  53. dee: I have considered that possibility.

    I have a small number of friends (friends I’ve known for years) and family who run the gamut from being a-political to being liberal / Democrat to conservative / Republican and libertarian, and we all politely agree to disagree with each other on politics.

    On the very rare occasions I post anything political on my Facebook page, I keep it civil.

    I generally lean right of center myself. I am aware I may have liberal or Democrat friends, though, so I don’t go on to my FB account and cuss out liberals or Democrats on those few occasions I discuss political stuff.

    On occasions I post critical stuff of Republicans, I keep that civil too, because some of my family are still GOP.

    I don’t see that same kind of consideration too often on social media, where you’re often talking to people who haven’t taken the time to get to know you first.

    I would think if someone is really and truly your friend, they’d want to keep your friendship even if you vote differently from them. That shouldn’t be a deal breaker.

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  54. dee: senecagriggs,
    Have you ever wondered why you seem to tick people off who are on all sides? Not only here but all over the place.

    Yep.
    I’m a conservative politically, and I think SG is as well, but I’m not fond of SG. He snuck on to my Daisy blog under different names, too (one a female name!), after I blocked him under the first one.

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  55. ishy: This is absolutely true. He did it to me once. Drove his giant white SUV right up on the sidewalk behind me and laid on the horn.

    Girlfriend, you could use some Bene Gesserit training.
    Nobody should ever, ever, ever be able to get close to your person without you knowing about it.

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  56. Headless Unicorn Guy:
    These are called “No-Life Fanboys”, and are a common phenomenon in various fandoms. (op cit “Sonichu”.)

    Just these No-Lifes got themselves a more Respectable(TM) Fandom to Fanboy — Political Jihad.
    (It’s not only the USSR and its third-world fanboys who turned their political system into a Fundamentalist Religion, complete with Witches hiding under every bed to be smelled out and burned en masse.)

    This stuff does go beyond politics, yes.

    On the many different social media accounts I have, I’ve noticed, on the ones where I follow more pop culture news and sometimes share pop culture news articles, that teen to 20-something fans of various singers and bands get into nasty, nasty fights – feuds – with each other.

    They call this extreme fan boy-ing “stanning,” and the extreme fans are called “stans.”

    Some of these stans follow me on some of this social media – and they can be very nice to me personally, but – that’s because I’m pretty neutral on all today’s bands and pop singers.

    But I will see people in my feed who are say, big fans of, I dunno, the singer Beyonce (Beyonce fans call themselves “the Beyhive”), fighting tooth and nail with, let’s say, “Katy Kats” (fans of Katy Perry, pop singer).

    Cardi B. fans fight with the Barbz (Nicki Minaj fans).

    You will see “Little Monsters” (Lady Gaga fans) posting animated GIF memes of Gaga sipping tea under the negative things they post at fans of Arianne Grande, or whomever.

    Some of these people take their rock and pop band and singer fandoms really serious.

    Because I don’t have any favorites among today’s bands and singers, I have no dog in this race, so I get along with all of them, and they don’t start fights with me.
    But I see them go at each other on social media constantly.

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  57. JoyLiving: …I have, as yet, never commented here…

    I’m just a regular Wartburger, but – for whatever this is worth – welcome to the “Commenting Community’ *. I hope this will be the first of many comments.

    * That should be a Thing!

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  58. dee: I comment not allowed. It was an example of what this post was all about.

    I can’t shake the feeling that this thread was MADE for me. But inspiration temporarily eludes me. Bah.

    You’re still all rubbish.

    Up Yours,

    Roger Bombast

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  59. Ishy: One thing I really have trouble with is one side saying horrible things about the other side and not being honest that their side is doing horrible things, too. Both sides have powerful, rich people who are just out for themselves who say whatever they think is necessary to keep their power.

    I agree with your post.

    I’m really opposed to sexism, and I don’t care who is committing it.

    I’ve noticed that people of both parties will defend a politician on “their side” if he / she is running for office, or, they will minimize whatever the sexual harassment (or abuse) allegation is to make it sound totally fine and dandy for a person to sexually harass another. It makes me want to puke.

    I don’t think either party is serious about respecting women or fighting sexism of women by men.

    They both say they are, but if you look at their actions every time a candidate is accused of sexual abuse, they reveal their true colors, and it’s not with fighting sexism and supporting women.

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  60. dee: Thank you for your comment. I too, know people whose lives revolve around political pundits.

    IMO, if someone is totally into politics, it’s healthy to go straight to primary sources and/or to sources that aren’t merely echo chambers of what you already believe, rather than rely only on whatever political pundits say about the “other side.”

    Sometimes those popular political talking heads on blogs, You Tube channels, the radio, and cable TV, get the views of the other side wrong, or skew them quite a bit.

    I’m a conservative myself, but I’ve seen instances where both conservatives and liberals misquote, misrepresent, or misunderstand, the views of the other side.

    (Also, both sides seem to want to believe the worst about their political opponents.)

    Anyway, I sometimes go to openly liberal news and editorial sites to read stuff directly by liberals to try to understand them, rather than rely wholly on conservative talking heads such as Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, etc.

    I’d recommend that other conservatives make that into a habit and that liberals also start going straight to conservative news and editorial sources,
    and not rely only on liberal political pundits to hear about, or try to comprehend, what conservatives think about whatever topic.

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  61. Muff Potter: I agree Daisy, and Shame on Them for their treatment of you and countless others.

    Thank you.

    Can I say that concept would apply to so many other things in life.
    After Mom died, for instance, most Christians didn’t want to help me in my grief but wanted to shame me out of it, and they wanted me to get over it immediately – ditto on the years I had depression.

    I’m sure others here could add other things to the list.

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  62. Excellent discussion. Several thoughts, for what they may be worth, in no particular order.

    In many circles, apparently “if you don’t don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything” has gone the way of the rotary dial phone…. How sad.

    I have friends on both sides of the political aisle. In the wake of the 2016 election I introduced two of them to each other on Facebook. They are both retired lawyers, very smart and articulate, and they come from opposite sides of the aisle. They debate each other on Facebook in a delightfully civil, polite manner, proving that it can be done. I thoroughly enjoy reading their posts. Such a contrast when compared to those who answer every point of disagreement with profanity or name-calling.

    Can someone explain to me why the age of the earth MATTERS? I’m serious. Why is this a hill that some people seem determined to die on? Is it just a matter of trying to poke Godless evolutionists in the eye, or is there more to it?

    If book recommendations are permitted here, I would like to offer one. I read and reviewed this book pre-publication for NetGalley, and it immediately became one of my favorites. In fact, I have suggested it as a future possibility in a small group, as of course in addition to the book, there is now a study guide and a 6-session accompanying DVD (which I have not seen).

    The book is The Daniel Dilemma: How to Stand Firm and Love Well in a Culture of Compromise by Chris Hodges. Just a couple of quotes I wrote down as I read it for review:

    He was correct but he wasn’t helpful.

    Truth without grace is mean. Grace without truth is meaningless.

    Connect before we correct.

    People, not projects.

    Having been raised by a mother who never hesitated to weaponize Scripture and smite people with it, this book particularly resonated with me. I have a friend who, without having read the book, practices the principles listed above, such that someone actually asked him, “What IS the reason for this hope you seem to carry around?” We should all get asked that….

    Merry Christmas to all. 🙂

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  63. StillWiggling:
    Can someone explain to me why the age of the earth MATTERS? I’m serious. Why is this a hill that some people seem determined to die on? Is it just a matter of trying to poke Godless evolutionists in the eye, or is there more to it?

    I think there are similar percentages of people on both sides of that argument who are absolutely dogmatic and evangelistic about their beliefs. I have a sibling who is as dogmatic about atheism and evolution as the most vocal creationists I know.

    At the heart of politics are issues about people. Issues of human dignity, faith, freedom, personal sovereignty, economic success, race, gender… anything having to do with people. People get so absorbed in politics because they believe it relates to their ability to survive and thrive in life. But there are a lot of people who think that being at the top is the only way to survive, and they manipulate that desperate need for survival in others to stay on top.

    I think creation/evolution is ultimately an issue of faith. Believing in creation makes God’s existence more viable to some. Many people don’t need creation to believe in God. Some people are just afraid to offend God if they get it wrong. Most issues stem from either needs or deep fears.

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  64. Ken P.: Loneliness is a serious problem. Uncivil behavior in politics is a problem. This does not necessarily mean that loneliness causes angry politics. I read Brooks’ New York Times piece and I find his conclusions to be a reach at best. The subtitle “When people have a hole in their life, they often fill it with angry politics” can’t be shown to be true based on any of the arguments he makes. People react to loneliness in many different ways (drugs/alcohol, depression, and a myriad of self-destructive behaviors), but angry politics? Lots of people are into angry politics that are not lonely (or have a hole in their lives). Also, not all lonely people are angry. Brooks’ mentioning of mail bombings and Synagogue shootings show nothing other that there are crazy people out there (remember Timothy McVeigh and the Unabomber). I think Brooks trying to tie loneliness to politics tells us more about him and his particular media bubble point of view than it does about the problems at hand.

    Angry politics are caused by angry people. Social and other types of media fan the flames of these people. Social media give these angry people outlets for their anger.

    Couldn’t have said it better.

    I absolutely agree that loneliness is a huge problem, and that we need to figure out ways to recreate real community. I disagree that this has anything to do with angry politics. Although, since I do think much of this divisiveness is instigated and inflamed by social media (on top of the old school talk radio), I suppose you could make the stretch and say tha loneliness turns people to social media, which then inflames angry politics. 😉

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  65. Daisy: Twitter especially is a non-stop outrage-fest by a lot of people

    Not here. Mine serves up nonstop videos and still photos of adorable, adorable, adorable animals. Twitter is where I go to get away from rage. 😉

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  66. Friend: Not here. Mine serves up nonstop videos and still photos of adorable, adorable, adorable animals. Twitter is where I go to get away from rage.

    Mmm-hmm, which is why I have some social media accounts where I don’t follow anything about politics or religion.

    I hardly post anything controversial or about politics on my Facebook account.

    The rest of my post above said this:

    I do have social media accounts where I intentionally do not follow any political or religious accounts at all – I just look at interesting or fun stuff – and it makes all the difference in the world.

    The headlines I see when I scroll through those particular non-political and non-religious accounts contain little to no bickering, complaining, hostility, yelling, etc. It’s very refreshing.

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  67. Daisy: Being alone or lonely could be one factor of a few for why some of these guys go on the violent rampages that they do.

    Maybe. Or maybe these folks have been so hostile for so long that everybody refuses to share space with them.

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  68. Daisy: I can assure you based on my personal experience, that even if you sat out 2016 (like I did), you will still get venom from the political blow-hards – the people who eat, breathe, and sleep nothing but politics.

    The No-Life Fanboys.
    For in POLITICS they Live and Move and Have Their Being.
    (Kinda like the old USSR and its imitators, where EVERYTHING “Ees POLITICAL Matter”…)

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  69. In-person interactions play an important role in alleviating one’s feelings of loneliness, with those who experience infrequent in-person interactions (face to face)

    I still go inside the bank. I avoid Amazon unless Im ordering something from somewhere far off. People call me old fashioned but I know cashiers, bankers, and the people that stock the shelves in stores and they know me.

    Life is naturally full of relationships.
    Technology that is built to scratch the instant gratification itch has our social life moving away from organic interaction as we order our all natural products from a flat screen in our study.

    Social media is far from social. The self promotion laced with prideful embelishments makes many guilty of false advertising. Yet so many spend hours a day promoting self awesomness while those on the other end of the spectrum view others self stated awesomeness as they yearn in jealous want.

    A wise man once told me.. The most selfish among us often end up alone.

    The evolution of social norms is accelerating. In addition to abstaining from facebook and instagram, I try to break the new mold by parking my car and going inside every chance I get.

    Something about eye contact with others is refreshing to my soul.

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  70. Daisy: On the many different social media accounts I have, I’ve noticed, on the ones where I follow more pop culture news and sometimes share pop culture news articles, that teen to 20-something fans of various singers and bands get into nasty, nasty fights – feuds – with each other.

    Ah, yes, FAN FEUDS.

    Like the first fan feud I was in on, that Slo-Mo flamewar of Seventies D&D, “Blacow vs the West Coast” in the pages of Alarums & Excursions. D&D campaign philosophy & power levels as Dogma of Cosmic Importance.

    Since this was long before the Internet and mimeographed fanzines had a one-month turnaround, the flamewars were much slower, but just as viciously and fanatically fought.

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  71. TS00: I absolutely agree that loneliness is a huge problem, and that we need to figure out ways to recreate real community. I disagree that this has anything to do with angry politics.

    We do need to reach out to lonely people. Regarding ways to recreate real community, all the pieces are still there: we can join things, meet neighbors, invite friends over, get to know workers at the store, etc.

    For me, though, angry politics can be a show stopper. If somebody starts huffing and puffing about the GD so-and-sos, and I’m one of the GD so-and-sos, I clam up. Expressing any disagreement, even pleasantly, would make me a target and not persuade the other person.

    If I don’t feel compromised, I might stay friends with the person. These friendships can work if the political anger does not keep rearing its ugly head, AND if there’s something more important than politics to do or discuss. But such friendships feel like work to me, and rather hollow.

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  72. james: In-person interactions play an important role in alleviating one’s feelings of loneliness

    Apparently a study has shown that casual interactions (buying bread from a store clerk, saying hi to the letter carrier) are very effective in helping people maintain good mental health. Too tired to look it up right now…

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  73. Headless Unicorn Guy: Which is bad. Living alone for a year or two is one thing, but year after year after year?

    Then I must be in horrible trouble, because I’ve been living alone for the last 32 years. On the other hand, I can play punk rock REALLY LOUD (like right now) and I don’t have to worry about roomies. I will turn it down in a little bit so I don’t disturb the neighbor kids as they’re going to bed.

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  74. I think you miss my point. I have no knowledge whether he is an angry guy or not. My point was I thought it was unfair to say a young earth creationist was angry and divisive as if some old earth believers are not. I’ve seen quite a few old earth commenters here say some very snarky things about young earth creationists. Nobody ever seems to have a problem with that.

    dee: I will stand by my comment. I have watched Ken Ham for years and believe he has single handedly created an unnecessary divide in Christendom. His entire ministry is based on encouraging an *us* vs.*them* sentiment.

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  75. I think this is spot on as I recognized in myself when I’m feeling lonely I gravitated towards political sparring on fb and I have to ask myself what’s motivating me to spar and when I reconginzs it’s out of loneliness I don’t do it. And I think loneliness in today’s your is what is driving them to embrace socialism! We have today’s youth raised in single households or with emotionally distant parents in droves!! I also think lonlineness is what causes mass shootings as well. We have an epidemic of lonlieness in the USA and Mother Teresa pointed it out so well!

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  76. Friend,

    “Apparently a study has shown that casual interactions (buying bread from a store clerk, saying hi to the letter carrier) are very effective in helping people maintain good mental health. Too tired to look it up right now…”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    maybe it was this? http://www.thisemotionallife.org/series

    I got so much out of it. episode 3 covers happiness.

    Harvard Psychology researchers tracked happiness. Found that positive exchanges between people (someone tells you about their excitement about getting a new job, a stranger holds the door for you at the grocery store, a friendly chat with the cashier,…) buoy up human emotions, foster happiness, which in turn gives them ‘strength’ or inner fortitude, we could say.

    they found that the happiness that results from these positive exchanges has 3 generations:

    1. person A is buoyed up by a positive exchange, enough that they want to share something positive (friendly chat, friendly helpfulness, etc) with person B.

    2. person B is buoyed up enough that they want to engage positively with person C.

    3. person C is buoyed up enough by that encounter that they want to engage positively with person D.

    It all started with one friendly human encounter.

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  77. dee,

    Hmm…it seems to be like he was trying to be relevant in pointing out the huge divide between liberal and

    james:
    In-person interactions play an important role in alleviating one’s feelings of loneliness, with those who experience infrequent in-person interactions (face to face)

    I still go inside the bank.I avoid Amazon unless Im ordering something from somewhere far off.People call me old fashioned but I know cashiers, bankers, and the people that stock the shelves in stores and they know me.

    Life is naturally full of relationships.
    Technology that is built to scratch the instant gratification itch has our social life moving away from organic interaction as we order our all natural products from a flat screen in our study.

    Social media is far from social.The self promotion laced with prideful embelishments makes many guilty of false advertising.Yet so many spend hours a day promoting self awesomness while those on the other end of the spectrum view others self stated awesomeness as they yearn in jealous want.

    A wise man once told me..The most selfish among us often end up alone.

    The evolution of social norms is accelerating.In addition to abstaining from facebook and instagram, I try to break the new mold by parking my car and going inside every chance I get.

    Something about eye contact with others is refreshing to my soul.

    Here, here, James.

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  78. Ken P.: I read Brooks’ New York Times piece and I find his conclusions to be a reach at best.

    Tribes used to be regional but are increasing ideological as more institutions around me degenerate into mono cultures and people end up in thought ghettos. Likely if your personal contacts are only with those who agree, you will become more hostile to disagreement, lacking in understanding and thus more stupid. Brooks, who works within the NYT bubble is a good example.

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  79. Liberals may be ahead of conservatives on the issue of loneliness.

    Bill Clinton when asked if he was ever alone with that women ms. Lewinsky, sad profoundly

    I never felt alone…….

    So it may just be a state of mind

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  80. Daisy: I find it weird how people have lost an ability to “agree to disagree.”

    Do you think this is a recent loss? Where I grew up, if people sensed disagreement, they quickly changed the subject out of fear that an argument would blow up.

    Within our little circles, we learned why we were right and others were wrong. It wasn’t just different to eat ____, it was weird and inferior. This explains the fear of argument. I was not equipped to try a bite of ____, or ask what my friend liked about it. I was only equipped to say, “Ew.”

    It is hard to listen respectfully to opposing viewpoints, and maybe even harder to coax a friend to share one. We’d rather keep mum than risk the friendship, but the price we pay is never learning what our friends believe—and whether the friendship would survive.

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  81. Thersites: Tribes used to be regional but are increasing ideological as more institutions around me degenerate

    I cringe at the thought of giving up on institutions, but I don’t know your experiences. Have you tried to reach out, hear different viewpoints, and offer ideas? Or have these institutions so degenerated that they could not say anything worth knowing? Have you been yelled at too many times to try again?

    It took a year for our local officials to fix the broken lights in the parking lot at the playground. I kept contacting them and even accused them of not caring about children. But this turned out not to be a matter of changing a few bulbs. The lights were out because of an underground cable cut that was not reported. They were part of a sprawling system under renovation. It required time, expertise, and many thousands of dollars to find the cut and make a series of complicated repairs and improvements.

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  82. 2 Comments not approve. However to the “Same Heather” You have not read carefully on this blog. I would suggest you do a search and see how many people he has hurt through the years, especially abused women.

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  83. Bridget: Wow! That would really upset me. This kind of action would make me think he was a class A bully. Plus, would anyone else be able to do this without getting in big trouble? No. To me, this is just a bully in power proving he can do whatever he wants.

    I would not be amused. I was freaked out a few years ago when a strange guy in a white vehicle was following me all around town. I wouldn’t enjoy some over grown Christian fratboy mega preacher doing that to me as some kind of joke! The frat boy mentality is not funny!

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  84. Lily Rose,

    We agree, although I do take into consideration that we all have different dispositions and many may be just fine with the car on the path and the honk. I just wouldn’t be fine with it, and it would definitely shape my view of the person who did it.

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  85. Daisy: I find it weird how people have lost an ability to “agree to disagree.”

    Just in my experience, “agree to disagree” has an undertone of “You’re Right But I’m Never Going to Admit To It.”

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  86. ishy: Both sides just seem really fake to me.

    I haven’t had the chance to read all the replies yet, but I’m not sure how much is fake per se and how much is just mindlessly repeating ‘talking points’ instead of actually listening.

    I was reading a lovely essay by a woman about her divorce and how her husband was never appreciative of her cooking and how that contributed to her losing the joy she used to have in cooking and never wanting to cook for a man again. In reading responses, many people just ran with this as an ‘anti-man’ screed, or anti-cooking screed, or anti-division of labor screed…which made me wonder how it would be possible to read it and come away with that impression. The only thing I see is not listening and lacking in empathy. I see so many drawing sides on literally *everything* and it’s frustrating.

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  87. Muff Potter: How we were promised that computers and technology were gonna’ solve all our ills.

    This is very dependent on how you use them, though. You can use technology to retreat from life (I think we also see this with things like gaming – probably I used to use reading to retreat but reading has a different set of benefits mentally that balance it out a bit).

    But you can use technology to connect with real people too and it can be invaluable for that purpose. Scheduling meetings in real life with people has never been easier. But you have to actually go and do the work of connecting in real life.

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  88. Linn: Most of the recent incidents with lone shooters have been very isolated people with social media accounts and strong opinions.

    One recent event was also a man whose fiancé left him. I don’t think isolation is really the only issue – the anger and entitlement of an abusive man tends to drive people away, so a bit of the chicken and egg situation.

    I think we need to get much better at early recognition and interventions. I’m not sure the best route to that though.

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  89. Daisy: Some single people are fine living on their own, some do get lonely.

    After living with roommates for years during school/after, I LOVED living alone. For a very long time. Roommates are a drag, a SO is a different story. But you have to consciously look for connection as an adult and maintain friendships, even as life stages change. It took me a long time to figure some of this out.

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  90. Benn: Bill Clinton when asked if he was ever alone with that women ms. Lewinsky, sad profoundly

    And yet conservative evangelicals back then were oblivious to the real damage Bill Clinton did to our nation. All they cared about were his sex antics with Lewinsky.

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  91. Lea: I haven’t had the chance to read all the replies yet, but I’m not sure how much is fake per se and how much is just mindlessly repeating ‘talking points’ instead of actually listening.

    Well, I was talking more about the public faces of some of these issues that use the controversy to get votes/popularity/views/advertising/etc. I am not sure a lot of them really believe some of the things they say they do.

    I think many normal people listen to them and believe in what they are saying. I hear a lot of people who really seem to believe some sort of utopia is going to come out of the views of whatever side they are on, and ignore the major shortcomings of the views and the public mouthpieces that espouse those views.

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  92. Lea,

    “But you have to actually go and do the work of connecting in real life.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    just brings to mind that our own social life / friendship / relationships is in the realm of our own personal responsibility.

    if i’m lonely, i do need to do the work and take the risks of finding and nurturing relationships. and learn how to do that, if necessary.

    like, if i want to maintain better health, i do have to eat healthy food and get some exercise. it’s work. usually a learning curve there. part of personal responsibility.

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  93. elastigirl: take the risks of finding and nurturing relationships

    Yes!!! And it is a risk and sometimes it’s awkward or scary to try to start a friendship, or bump up a casual one to something more active. But it’s worth it.

    I mean, I feel like I had to figure out how to make new friends as an adult and it’s harder than you remember when they seem to have come so easily as a kid/college student/etc. You have to seek sometimes.

    You know I think I’ve mentioned before reading about the ‘incel’ community and many of those guys think a relationship will just fall into their laps without having to do any work and although it sometimes happens that way, mostly it doesn’t. I think the friend thing is similar, although of course it’s also quite different. Both require you to put yourself out their, meet others and try to form connections. A lot of success is truly showing up, consistently.

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  94. ishy: Well, I was talking more about the public faces of some of these issues that use the controversy to get votes/popularity/views/advertising/etc. I am not sure a lot of them really believe some of the things they say they do.

    I thought that way for a long time, but now I’m not so sure. I think it’s sometimes true, but also sometimes not. It can be hard to tell the difference and the end result is equally bad though, so I’m just concentrating on that.

    But I was really more thinking about interpersonal conversations. Do random conservative commenters on twitter really think someone should make dinner for their husband every day regardless of whether he ever returns the favor, says thank you, or even appreciates what is done? Some of them clearly do. And some just jump to blaming ‘feminism’ without reading what actually happened with any empathy. IDK. Just something I’ve been thinking about. I feel like a lot people can’t be talked to because they are so determined to recite their points and that’s maddening. You can’t possibly have a conversation with someone like that.

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  95. elastigirl: if i’m lonely, i do need to do the work and take the risks of finding and nurturing relationships.

    One doesn’t even need to be super cheerful and polished. At my gym, there’s an incredibly old lady who lives alone and works out every single day. She introduced herself by handing me a freshly picked pepper in the locker room. Yuck, but so kind of her. She constantly tells me I need to work out more, yet there’s no criticism behind it—just a belief I can get stronger. I love her to pieces.

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  96. Headless Unicorn Guy: Just in my experience, “agree to disagree” has an undertone of “You’re Right But I’m Never Going to Admit To It.”

    That’s odd. I hear, “I’m Right But You’re Never Going to Admit To It.”

    Guess we all speak fluent Subtext. 😉

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  97. Friend: I hear, “I’m Right But You’re Never Going to Admit To It.”

    Ha! That’s definitely what it means when I say, with a hefty dose of ‘I’m so tired of this ‘conversation”.

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  98. ishy: I hear a lot of people who really seem to believe some sort of utopia is going to come out of the views of whatever side they are on, and ignore the major shortcomings of the views and the public mouthpieces that espouse those views.

    “This Time We WILL Achieve True Communism!”
    (Complete with Unicorns farting rainbows and Free Ice Cream for everyone!)

    Like in the French Revolution, the Republique of Perfect Virtue always beckons from the other side of the “regrettable but necessary” Reign of Terror.

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  99. Lea: In reading responses, many people just ran with this as an ‘anti-man’ screed, or anti-cooking screed, or anti-division of labor screed…which made me wonder how it would be possible to read it and come away with that impression.

    Simple.
    When all you have is An Agenda…

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  100. TS00:
    For want of a better place, just wanted to send a message to Okrapod, if she is reading. I miss your insights, and hope that you are comfortable, surrounded by love and filled with peace.

    Yes. I too have been wondering (anxiously) in recent weeks how Okrapod is doing.

    Re: the OP, Paul’s remark in 1 Cor 11:19, commenting on divisions in the church at Corinth, has been helpful to me in seeking to find a posture of patience with and understanding toward those with whom I find that I disagree. Perhaps in the church there is kind of evolutionary process at work in which it takes time (sometimes a very long time) for what is best to be determined or discovered. Diversity can be helpful in the sense of accelerating the “trial and error” process. Of course, this calls for a lot of humility on the part of those who ultimately find themselves “not approved”, but also on the part of those who, in turns out over time, are more nearly in the right, since the goal is not for person A to be exalted above person B, but for all to grow toward the fullness of Christ.

    I suspect that something like this is at work not just in the the churches, but also in politics, economics, science, and every other field of human endeavor. Our pride slows progress.

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  101. Samuel Conner: Diversity can be helpful in the sense of accelerating the “trial and error” process.

    Very nice point. One thing our church does fairly well is to solicit lots of viewpoints. People accept “losing” better if they feel heard and respected.

    Maybe the overall decline of US church attendance has narrowed viewpoints within many churches, and decreased the number of people who interact civilly and regularly.

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  102. Friend: Maybe the overall decline of US church attendance has narrowed viewpoints within many churches, and decreased the number of people who interact civilly and regularly.

    Most of the folks with critical thinking skills have entered the “Done” ranks … done with church, but not done with Jesus.

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  103. Samuel Conner: have been wondering (anxiously) in recent weeks how Okrapod is doing

    Yes, indeed. I’ve also missed Lydia and Gram3. Hope they are all doing well.

    I suppose I’m done, but just haven’t quit yet. About the time I think about exiting the blogosphere, something gets my spiritual hackles up again.

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  104. dee,

    I attended a church during the 2008 election when they posted a “Voter’s Guide” straight from a conservative Republican group. Just for “informational purposes”. When I asked where the Democratic “Voters Guide” was the pastor told me with a straight face that Democrats don’t publish “Voter Guides”. That confirmed what I was beginning to suspect, that he would freely lie when it served his purpose, and that he would believe he was somehow being truthful. That incident and others sent us down the road.

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  105. Loren Haas: . When I asked where the Democratic “Voters Guide” was the pastor told me with a straight face that Democrats don’t publish “Voter Guides”.

    I definitely could see a pastor from my former NC church saying something like that, with a straight face, knowing he was not telling the truth.

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  106. Friend: Do you think this is a recent loss? Where I grew up, if people sensed disagreement, they quickly changed the subject out of fear that an argument would blow up.

    Recent? In the last several years I’ve seen this change, yes.

    I don’t remember everything being as hostile growing up in the 1980s. And not everything was politicized as it is now.

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  107. Headless Unicorn Guy: Just in my experience, “agree to disagree” has an undertone of “You’re Right But I’m Never Going to Admit To It.”

    That’s never how I’ve used the phrase or understood it.

    Two people can be equally intelligent, kind, and have all kinds of great qualities but just see the same issue differently.

    And I do think many in our culture today have lost the ability to just agree to disagree.

    You no longer can. If you disagree with someone on a political or social issue, they don’t just think you are wrong, but they think you are evil.

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  108. Lea: I was reading a lovely essay by a woman about her divorce and how her husband was never appreciative of her cooking and how that contributed to her losing the joy she used to have in cooking and never wanting to cook for a man again.

    In reading responses, many people just ran with this as an ‘anti-man’ screed, or anti-cooking screed, or anti-division of labor screed…which made me wonder how it would be possible to read it and come away with that impression.

    The only thing I see is not listening and lacking in empathy. I see so many drawing sides on literally *everything* and it’s frustrating.

    When I’m on conservative sites (I’m a conservative person), the habit for a lot of other conservatives is is,
    any time a link is placed to an essay (with a small excerpt below it) by a woman about why she chose not to have kids, or does not have any,
    99.9% of the conservatives in the comments section assume (wrongly) that the woman of the essay is a man-hating, child-hating, Democrat-voting liberal feminist.

    Now, if you actually read the articles linked to and don’t just go by the small excerpts the conservative site pastes below the links (which I do – I click the link and read the whole thing),

    -you will find that often in such articles, some of the childless women say they wanted to have kids, but could not due to this reason or that reason (maybe they cannot afford a kid, have health problems, can’t meet a guy and get married – all kinds of legitimate reasons).

    For some of these women, they did not want to have any kids of their own, but they explain they do not hate children. They just don’t want the responsibility of raising a kid – which is fine.

    I’ve asked other conservatives under such linked articles leaving nasty, hate-filled comments about those childless women if they even bothered to read the article by the woman or not, because it sounds like the moment they see a news headline about “Why this Lady Says She Doesn’t Have a Child (or doesn’t want to have one)” –
    -they go into immediate “Assumption Mode Over-drive” and incorrectly assume the woman is a hyper feminist, abortion loving, man-hating harpie.

    Any woman who doesn’t have a kid or who does not want one is just assumed to be a Democrat, liberal, feminist, abortion supporter, who is anti-Family Values and all this other crud.

    I myself never had a kid – but I was a Republican for years, still conservative, so I don’t fit the assumptions held by a lot of conservatives about childless women, and I get so tired of all those instant assumptions people make.

    Sometimes, liberals make automatic assumptions about people, too. I’ve had that happen.

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  109. Lea: Scheduling meetings in real life with people has never been easier. But you have to actually go and do the work of connecting in real life.

    Element in truth to that, but I find it’s easier said than done.

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  110. Lea: You know I think I’ve mentioned before reading about the ‘incel’ community and many of those guys think a relationship will just fall into their laps without having to do any work and although it sometimes happens that way, mostly it doesn’t.

    They also think they will always, or they think they should, have success the first time they approach the first women they are interested in.

    They don’t seem to understand you may try 100 times with 100 people and fail.

    Some of them strike out because they all feel entitled to an air-brushed, fashion model who has double-D breasts – and they themselves may look dorky, and not in the same league as the models of their fantasies.

    If, on a looks scale of 1 to 10, you are a 2 or a 4, you should consider being realistic and trying to date other 2s or 4s, rather than chasing after the 10s that 99% of men of all ages want.

    They also are under the very wrong impression that dating and finding true love is super easy for women. Only men have dating hard, they believe (so wrong).

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  111. Wow, that video by Casting Crowns was powerful! As I watched the soldiers entrenched on opposing sides walk toward each other, then shake hands, then talk to each other and drink with each other, I thought: How I hate war! If only soldiers on battlefields everywhere could lay down their weapons and fight no more. This brings me to one of my favorite folk songs. ‘Last Night I had the Strangest Dream’
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dn_99vvS5U

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  112. Daisy: You no longer can. If you disagree with someone on a political or social issue, they don’t just think you are wrong, but they think you are evil.

    People in my extended family have always felt free to express hatred over the dinner table but not in public. We have enough viewpoints for people on all sides to hate somebody else. Such delightful times (not).

    With kids, I try to pass along values instead of opinions. I refuse to tell them how I vote (the value of the secret ballot), but I ask what they think, and try hard to present thoughtful opposing views. This can be awkward, but it does teach critical thought. It took deliberate effort for me to identify my own prejudices and dislodge them. Always a work in progress.

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  113. This is just the musings of an older woman, but here goes:

    Having worked in public school, taught SS kids, fostered, adopted, given birth, I have learned to recognize the unbonded child. That child will likely grow into an adult unable to bond. We are awash in unbonded unbondable people.

    Now add the hopelessness that comes not only from that loneliness, but from the deeper loneliness of believing you are nothing more than an evolved amoeba. No god exists, no such thing as right or wrong or good or bad. No noble sacrifices, no selfless giving or grace filled receiving.

    Good grief, we make abysmal gods of our own universes. No reason for beauty, no real deep love, no purpose.

    Seems there are some things amiss in our society. Perhaps we need first to focus on making sure every child has a chance to bond with ONE stable caregiver. No changing nannies, no string of day care workers. What if each kid were raised by a stay at home parent? What if we seriously and quickly removed kids from no good harmful homes and placed them in permanent loving good homes post haste?

    What if that generation of bonded children heard the old message there is a God, right and wrong, love, reason to sacrifice themselves for a higher good?

    What if we gave up nihilism and cynicism for advent and never picked them up again?

    What if we embraced hope and joy IN SPITE OF AND IN THE FACE OF terrible tragedy and evil?

    What if deviates commit suicide at a higher rate not because society refuses to accept deviancy but because deviancy is inherently unhealthy? What if killing a baby is killing a baby, not making a choice? What if sloth really is a sin, and leads to boredom and suicide?

    Those are harsh thoughts, believe me, I know that. But I spent too many years in the checkerboard part of the rez. I know if you take a bright happy talented bonded young man, send him a check every month but provide him no meaningful work, make him unneeded financially in the life of his child, let strangers spend 10 hours a day with his child, make him irrelevant in the life of the child’s mom and unneeded by his elderly relatives, you have just created an alcoholic. At least that dulls his soul pain.

    But let him face the hard stuff in life and MEET THE CHALLENGE and the bottle holds no appeal.

    So I do muse at times that maybe we were smarter before we got so smart.

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  114. Loren Haas: I attended a church during the 2008 election when they posted a “Voter’s Guide” straight from a conservative Republican group. Just for “informational purposes”. When I asked where the Democratic “Voters Guide” was the pastor told me with a straight face that Democrats don’t publish “Voter Guides”.

    I am morbidly curious (in the sense of a man watching a suicide attempt) to see what that particular church did for the 2016 election.

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  115. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    I went “No Contact”, so I have no idea.
    I could guess, based on experience, but decline to do so.
    My current pastor gave no direction, other than to continue to teach about Jesus to his generally open minded congregation of refugees from other churches.

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  116. linda: What if we seriously and quickly removed kids from no good harmful homes and placed them in permanent loving good homes post haste?

    I know you’re sharing hopeful ideas. I just don’t think most children are resilient enough to cope with the change you describe. You’d have to define harmful homes, define and locate good homes, and have a safe process to move children. The move would traumatize the child, who (having already been harmed) might have a super difficult time trusting that the new home is loving and good. Would this be like witness relocation, or could the child have contact with the original family?

    Children do sometimes need to be removed from a home. Often, though, they are better off in a flawed place with some love and some stability.

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  117. Friend: s. I just don’t think most children are resilient enough to cope with the change you describe.

    Even removing children from a bad home can be traumatic.

    I also think a parent being ‘stay at home’ has nothing to do with a child’s ability to bond. Attachment issues are real but more complicated than that.

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  118. Friend: Maybe. Or maybe these folks have been so hostile for so long that everybody refuses to share space with them.

    Good point.

    I’m not convinced on the loneliness angle. Perhaps all those who engage in hate politics are lonely but not all those who are lonely engage in hate politics. I also think there’s a difference between loneliness and isolation. But some of the most disagreeable people I know are very involved in their groups and connected with others… I do have a friend who lives a rather isolated life who I don’t call as often as I used to because they usually end up ranting in a tirade about something but it’s not about politics. I don’t know, the jury is out for me on this subject without further correlation. I do see and detest the current very polarized and intolerant atmosphere. It gives me a headache. I remember reading predictions about the rise of tribalism and polarization back in the early 90’s and here we are. Something about there being too many voices, too much information, and people retreating into groups based on identity, if I remember right. Things have gotten really ugly. And even the most even tempered, upbeat, positive people can get attacked if they just mention a hot button keyword for some group. It’s taken a lot of the enjoyment out of the internet for me. I really appreciate the civil tone on this site and the way people interact with each other. I’m sure it takes a lot of work to keep it that way but a lot of respect goes to our hostess and the commenters here for being very decent human beings, it is a breath of fresh air.

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  119. Muff Potter: John Lennon is not the only one.
    I’m a dreamer who imagines too.

    The trouble is, and what I always think of when I hear this song, the only way to have a society like he describes is to control what people think and that would have to be enforced with violence, so as I hear it, in the back of my mind I’m picturing prisons full of those people who won’t stop believing.

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  120. Muff Potter: How we were promised that computers and technology were gonna’ solve all our ills.

    Had discussions recently with 2 programmers that both expressed disillusionment about what the internet has become.

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  121. Max:

    Then it is not a church … you will know them by their love for one another.

    As opposed to their ‘love bombing’ which can seem real in the beginning but definitely doesn’t hold up when there are differences.

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  122. Max: Yes, indeed.I’ve also missed Lydia and Gram3.Hope they are all doing well.

    I suppose I’m done, but just haven’t quit yet.About the time I think about exiting the blogosphere, something gets my spiritual hackles up again.

    I’m glad you are here, Max, you have a lot of good sense to share.

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  123. You can’t handle truth!,

    This reminds me of what SciManDan on YouTube (famous for his anti-flat earth videos) calls the “truth paradox”–i.e. that whenever you see “truth” in the title of something on the internet, the contents will likely turn out to be absolute cogswollop.

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  124. linda: the deeper loneliness of believing you are nothing more than an evolved amoeba. No god exists, no such thing as right or wrong or good or bad. No noble sacrifices, no selfless giving or grace filled receiving.

    Atheists are always complaining about this misperception. What if one of them were to lament the influence of Christians who believe themselves servants of a capricious extracosmic entity, and who recognize no right or wrong apart from its whims?

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  125. SiteSeer: you have a lot of good sense to share

    If I have any sense at all, SiteSeer, it’s of the common variety.

    “Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.”
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

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  126. BillToo,

    I agree. I’m sure my theology doesn’t perfectly match Ham’s, but I’ve met him and he’s not an angry person, not hateful. He has an unusual personality and sense of humor that, mixed with his passion on creation, is apparently mistaken for angry. In a post talking about isolationism, us vs. them, etc., calling him one of the most angry people rather negates what you’re saying. This is why there is all this contention, I think: too much talking. Bloggers and writers have to write or they lose their audience, and sometimes, whether with good intentions it not, they stir the water to keep the muck afloat. There’s a verse in Micah, I think, about God getting tired of all our words.

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  127. SiteSeer: I really appreciate the civil tone on this site and the way people interact with each other. I’m sure it takes a lot of work to keep it that way but a lot of respect goes to our hostess and the commenters here for being very decent human beings, it is a breath of fresh air.

    Worth repeating.

    I’ve been away from TWW for awhile, and did miss it. Grateful to be back.

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  128. JN: Bloggers and writers have to write or they lose their audience, and sometimes, whether with good intentions it not, they stir the water to keep the muck afloat.

    And so you prove your own point. I stand by my observation of Ham.

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  129. BillToo,

    I believe Ham is an angry man. I have been closely following him for about 13 years. About 5 years ago, I said I had read almost everything on his website. Even some of his fanboys haven’t done that. As for commenters, including myself, we are not influential. Ham has built his reputation by jumping up and down in the public square and so he gets to be critiqued.

    Not only do I believe he is angry, and bit a snotty, I know his *science* is wrong. But, he can always go back to *You weren’t there, were you?” and get away with nonsense. And Christians nod in the pew and try to pull the *you weren’t there, were you,* baloney and wonder why people think Christians can sound nuts at times.

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  130. SiteSeer,

    I don’t get that at all from Lennon’s old song.
    To me it’s a purely voluntary thing amongst humankind.
    A future time, not of perfection, but one where we humans have grown up and gotten past the bullying of elementary school and the angst of puberty.

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  131. SiteSeer: Had discussions recently with 2 programmers that both expressed disillusionment about what the internet has become.

    Now you’re preaching to the choir.
    It’s not just the internet.

    Before I retired from many years in the Southern Cal. aerospace industry, I worked with a FORTRAN based CADCAM software program that ran on a UNIX platform.

    They’ve since tried to revamp it to work on all microsoft machines.

    What was once a beautifully elegant and straightforward application program, has now been turned into a byzantine quagmire of needless complexity and useless glitz.

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  132. Zla’od: Atheists are always complaining about this misperception. What if one of them were to lament the influence of Christians who believe themselves servants of a capricious extracosmic entity, and who recognize no right or wrong apart from its whims?

    They have blogs too, and comments galore about the excesses of Christian behavior. In reply, Christians don’t hesitate to pile on the hate. All sides are amply capable of looking ridiculous.

    Intriguingly, both Christian and atheist sites often write about the very same stories of spiritual abuse. There’s a lot of common ground, if only we could see it.

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  133. dee: Ham has built his reputation by jumping up and down in the public square and so he gets to be critiqued.

    Any three-year-old can tell you:
    He Who Throws the Longest and Loudest Temper Tantrum WINS.
    The secret is to outlast everyone else, and they fold just to make it stop.
    And “I. WIN.”

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  134. Loren Haas: He was good at suggesting one thing and then denying he actually meant that, just as in the “Voter’s Guide” issue.

    Plausible Deniability, worked out well in advance.

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  135. One comment not approved. I was accused of posting under different names and of having a *filthy* mind. I wonder what sacred cow stomped on. Good night!!!

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  136. JN: Bloggers and writers have to write or they lose their audience, and sometimes, whether with good intentions it not, they stir the water to keep the muck afloat. There’s a verse in Micah, I think, about God getting tired of all our words.

    Seems to me that preachers must preach to keep their audiences (and salaries) as well.

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  137. Dee – this is such a good post. It’s important to talk about this. The political divide in Christianity is so destructive. If someone is not able to maintain relationships because of political differences, I think there is a serious heart issue with that person. It reminds me of the Pharisees who put the law before relationship with Christ. Christ certainly was not pleased.

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  138. Lea: Even removing children from a bad home can be traumatic.

    I also think a parent being ‘stay at home’ has nothing to do with a child’s ability to bond. Attachment issues are real but more complicated than that.

    When kids are removed from a bad environment, we have to make sure they don’t end up in a worse one which in some cases is easier said than done. I don’t want to beat up on foster parents because there are many good ones out there, but sometimes, it would be hard to tell the good from the bad such as in the case of Caleb and Mary Beery. They looked like a social worker’s dream foster family and look what happened there. I also know a child that was put in foster care with a Youth Pastor and his wife who looked great on paper. Turns out the Youth Pastor was a pedophile (wife was not charged with anything as she did not know). That was in the 90s, and I found this guy used as an example of spiritual abuse on an atheist website. I also found his credentials as a pastor, and he looks like he came from some kind of reformed background. And I also don’t think a stay at home parent is a panacea to cure all of society’s child abuse ills. I worked for a very talented psychologist who worked with mentally ill inmates, and she used daycare for her four young children. She is an extremely devoted mother, and there is no doubt that her children are bonded to her as their primary care giver. She has a very involved husband, a blue collar worker, but the kids are VERY bonded to “mommy”. Her children are all boys, attend a christian school, and are being raised to see girls as equals. I also know a stay at home mom, evangelical christian, homeschools her kids and her oldest is college bound. Both of them are devoted mothers so I don’t think we should be beating up on what women do (or men who become stay at home parents). And daycare workers are often underpaid, overworked, with no real benefits so there is a high turn over rate so maybe we should focus on retaining good daycare workers by giving them more respect and incentive to stay long term. Just a thought.

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  139. JN: He has an unusual personality and sense of humor that, mixed with his passion on creation, is apparently mistaken for angry.

    All I know about Ham is that he made a big ridiculous boat, so I’m not speaking to him in particular but…I’ve seen a lot of pointed ‘humor’ directed at people being excused and I think making it a ‘joke’ does not in any way make it not coming out of anger. So, I could see that being an issue.

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  140. Lily Rose: Just a thought.

    I think these are good thoughts. It’s easy to talk removal, but we have to be very careful about it. There are bad home environments, and there are neutral ones they could be removed to. (And I’m thinking of the removal of native children to be adopted and the mountain of issues related) We have to be very aware that even when everything works best as it could and kids are removed from a bad home environment to a loving one, that it is *still* traumatic to them. (I have a situation close to me where I am observing and I think it was for best but still very difficult on the child).

    I think I’m just paying way more attention to the impacts of trauma now.

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  141. Lily Rose: retaining

    This is the key word. Children need consistency, and that means retaining the familiar people in their lives—parents and others. I’ve heard a psychologist say that the best parent is the “good enough parent,” not the one with perfect insight and boundless riches. Children have to adjust to the real world, where it can be hard to pay the rent on time, the boss flies off the handle, and love comes out of nowhere. A little challenge from adults’ flaws helps children learn to fend for themselves.

    (And yes, of course, children need basic safety and freedom from abuse.)

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  142. Lea: All I know about Ham is that he made a big ridiculous boat

    All I know about Ham is that some families take their children on pilgrimage to that big ridiculous boat because it is the Only Place Where The Truth Is Told In Our Fallen World, and thank heaven dear Mr. Ham is willing to help. Such folks revel in Ham’s effort to take down Bill Nye, who is probably worse than Pol Pot. I have to wonder how these folks found out about poor, self-effacing, downtrodden Mr. Ham. Without his tireless efforts, no one would have ever heard of Noah. /sarc

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  143. As adoptive parent to an abused child, I am very aware the problems removal entails. But please hear me: the solution is NOT leaving a 3 month old infant in a family where the baby is not fed or changed, but is beaten into unconsciousness. Nor is the solution returning that child later on to that home after 6 mandatory parenting classes, thus allowing the child to be repeatedly raped.

    Our child was eventually rescued but several siblings were left in that abusive situation as the “best practices” had changed and the thought was to now maintain the birth connection family at all costs.

    Then there was the family next door to us for a while, where the system was providing the school age children with free breakfasts and lunches, the parents with WIC and EBT cards, and the family got commodities. And yet the kids were put to bed without food consistently and the parents and grandma and great aunt regularly invited us over for tbone steaks, prime rib, etc. NO, just NO. We fed the kids whenever we could access them, reported the situation to the proper authorities to no avail, and prayed heaps.

    And the system’s answer was “it is more important they be with their parents”. YIKES! Sometimes, truly, the answer is removal.

    Now all that said I am all for close tabs on foster situations, and all for some limited ues of well run group homes. But of course it goes without saying that close tabs and well run can never be taken for granted.

    If we truly want a healthy society parents are going to have to step up to the plate and truly parent well. It may mean not having sex every time you get the urge if you cannot care for a child. It may mean having less money so either mom or dad can truly bond with that baby and be there for it until it is truly old enough for preschool, maybe, or school for sure.

    For at least 18 years it may mean less parental me time and more parenting. It may mean more focus on parents with the kids and less soccer, screen time, or scheduled extra activities for the kids. It may mean more telecommuting where possible.

    In short, it may mean slowing down making babies long enough to actually raise the one’s you make.

    I don’t have a tub full of easy answers.

    I’m just musing that maybe when we look around at angst and suicide and mass shootings and abuse we need to realize “Houston, we have a problem.” I’m not advocating things were rosy in some by gone age. I’m advocating that what we are doing now, and have done the last 40 years or so, apparently is not working well.

    And that we have been sold a bill of goods with the thought careers trump family life, personal autonomy trumps parenting, and that the “kids will adapt to whatever I feel is best for ME.”

    I truly believe we can do a whole lot better.

    Personally, I freely admit I think the healthiest family for all concerned will adhere to some Biblical principles. I freely admit I believe that when mom and dad have had sex with no one else but each other, that in a committed marriage, treat each other and the kids with the love and respect the Bible commands, teaching and disciplining without abuse be it physical, mental, emotional, or sexual, the children have better odds of turning out to be decent human beings.

    There will be fails, and they may be epic fails. But I believe strongly that unbonded children are usually unable to form healthy bonds as adults, and that it is all down hill from there for society as a whole.

    I believe if we can fix the system to avoid unbonded states, we will have solved most of our more pressing societal ills.

    But that is just me. Your mileage may vary.

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  144. Friend: All I know about Ham is that some families take their children on pilgrimage to that big ridiculous boat because it is the Only Place Where The Truth Is Told In Our Fallen World, and thank heaven dear Mr. Ham is willing to help. Such folks revel in Ham’s effort to take down Bill Nye, who is probably worse than Pol Pot. I have to wonder how these folks found out about poor, self-effacing, downtrodden Mr. Ham. Without his tireless efforts, no one would have ever heard of Noah. /sarc

    I never heard of Ken Ham until my sister in law started to homeschool with all Christian resources. I remember cringing when I read her science textbooks as I was not brought up with this viewpoint. I just couldn’t get on board with dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark. I remember feeling somewhat puzzled in high school biology, but I shrugged it off. Now I just think my views are somewhere between intelligent design and theistic evolution. I still think kids should be taught real science, but not a hill to die on for me.

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  145. Lily Rose: Now I just think my views are somewhere between intelligent design and theistic evolution.

    Which has the Preponderance of Physical Evidence on its side.

    Problem is, what does “Intelligent Design” mean?

    Ideally, it could mean what used to be called “Natural Theology”, how God reveals Himself through nature, singular and consistent. More a philosophical underpinning of Science than anything else. But in recent practice, the name has been hijacked as a coat of camouflage paint for Young Earth Creationism Uber Alles.

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  146. linda: As adoptive parent to an abused child, I am very aware the problems removal entails.

    But if leaving them in the situation presents BIGGER and more Destructive problems?

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  147. Headless Unicorn Guy: Which has the Preponderance of Physical Evidence on its side.

    Problem is, what does “Intelligent Design” mean?

    Ideally, it could mean what used to be called “Natural Theology”, how God reveals Himself through nature, singular and consistent. More a philosophical underpinning of Science than anything else. But in recent practice, the name has been hijacked as a coat of camouflage paint for Young Earth Creationism Uber Alles.

    Well, I was never young earth creationist so when I use the term intelligent design I mean some kind of old earth creationism by the God of the Bible not aliens or something like that. More in line with Reasons to Believe. Not everyone agrees on that, but not a hill to die on.

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  148. linda: It may mean having less money so either mom or dad can truly bond with that baby

    I don’t think money has to do with bonding, except that if, say, a father had to work 4 jobs to pay for his kids while his wife stayed home it would be very hard for them to bond. Parents who truly love their kids will bond appropriately with them. When I was a kid, we spent some time with my grandmother during the summer and as a result, shocker, we had time to bond with multiple people! Love is not solely limited to parents, the important thing is to have decent nurturing people in your kids lives if you can’t be their 24/7.

    Abusive situations are different.

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  149. Lily Rose,

    Got the Old Earth Story from government schools and media, then dwelt for a number of years among the Hammers, and it just seems the two sides are deliberately stirred up to distrust and fight with one another. It seems to me that a bit of honesty and humility might resolve a lot of the needless hysteria.

    Like Lily Rose, I do not see either view as a hill worth dying on, but it might help if people were willing to admit ‘This is my THEORY’, or the interpretation that seems to answer the most questions to me. If you take out the ‘This proves that God is a myth (or has little skill in the use of human language)’ rhetoric, you might be left with a bunch of people admitting we don’t know exactly how things came to be, or in what amount of time. We might be able to allow people to hold to differing theories without crying ‘heretic’ or ‘flat-eather’.

    I remain firmly confident in the existence of an eternal, supernatural Deity from who all matter derives. I have grown increasingly less sure of the man-made descriptions of this Deity or his past and present actions. Can we not humbly admit there is simply a lot we can only guess at, and listen and laugh good-naturedly at each others’ guesses over a nice Malbec?

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  150. TS00: We might be able to allow people to hold to differing theories without crying ‘heretic’ or ‘flat-eather’.

    You may hold different theories all you like, but in school they should teach the ones that are supported by evidence.

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  151. Headless Unicorn Guy: Which has the Preponderance of Physical Evidence on its side.

    Problem is, what does “Intelligent Design” mean?

    Ideally, it could mean what used to be called “Natural Theology”, how God reveals Himself through nature, singular and consistent. More a philosophical underpinning of Science than anything else. But in recent practice, the name has been hijacked as a coat of camouflage paint for Young Earth Creationism Uber Alles.

    I see ID as a big tent. If creation of living things as described in the Bible is true, so is ID. If evolution is totally guided by an intelligent being, ID is also true. ID seems to push and attempt to prove one thing: Living things in their current forms are not here by complete random unguided chance.

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  152. dlc,

    The major problem with ID is this. One makes a judgement that something looks like it was made by an intelligent designer. It is an assumption made a prior. As a Christian, I believe there is an intelligent designer. However, if I were to explain an phenomenon, I would need to research and see how it came to be. Science is merely a way to figure out what processes God used to make some things we see around us. It is a process used to see what there is out there that can be used to cure cancer, for example.

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  153. Lea: You may hold different theories all you like, but in school they should teach the ones that are supported by evidence.

    I think that they do, don’t they?

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  154. TS00: Like Lily Rose, I do not see either view as a hill worth dying on,

    I have watched one too many kids walk away from the faith because they were told “Just say this and you will be able to bring down that old meanie evolution believing professor.” They do and they realize their arguments hold no water. If it causes kids to unnecessarily turn their backs on the faith, maybe we should be a bit more concerned.

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  155. linda,

    How do you feel about members of the military having children when they are going to be called away to defend our country? Sometimes they are gone for 14 months or longer at a time. Some are one submarines on which they cannot communicate for extended periods of time.

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  156. TS00: Can we not humbly admit there is simply a lot we can only guess at, and listen and laugh good-naturedly at each others’ guesses over a nice Malbec?

    I second the motion.
    There was a time when I would have suggested a fine Tequila (not cheap) made by an old family (with nearly 400 years experience) in the Northwestern Sonora of Mexico.
    But alas, these days I no longer indulge, so I’ll content myself with pomegranate juice and Perrier instead.

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  157. dee: I think that they do, don’t they?

    I certainly hope so…although I suppose it depends on who you mean when you say ‘they’. I think there are people out their teaching very bad science, but hopefully most are not.

    Although I went to public school and my bio teacher literally SKIPPED the chapter on evolution so who even knows?

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  158. Lea: I certainly hope so…although I suppose it depends on who you mean when you say ‘they’. I think there are people out their teaching very bad science, but hopefully most are not.

    Although I went to public school and my bio teacher literally SKIPPED the chapter on evolution so who even knows?

    My brother thought his fourth grade teacher was “stupid” because she told the class that the earth was only 6,000 years old and dinosaurs coexisted with man. My brother, the science geek, raised his hand and told her that the textbook said otherwise, but she just told him the text book was wrong. This happened in public school. I had this same teacher the year after, and I could not understand why my brother didn’t like her because she was my favorite teacher in grade school. I thought she was fantastic! I was puzzled when my brother told me her science views as I do not remember her saying this stuff to our class. I now realize that far from being “stupid” this teacher was probably an evangelical christian who believed in creationism so that was her way to slip creation beliefs in a public school context. I think my class was spared from this because parents must have complained and she was told not to do this. And this was in the early 80s before Ken Ham and his ilk came on the scene.

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  159. Lily Rose: And this was in the early 80s before Ken Ham and his ilk came on the scene.

    Yep. Mine was early 90s high school! I went to private school in elementary and as near as I can remember the (Christian) textbooks taught the big bang and all that as a theory, but also said a bunch of Christian stuff too, but I don’t remember the details. High school teacher I think just didn’t want to deal with any drama but could have personally objected too.

    So…I don’t have high hopes that everyone is just teaching the science straight. Particularly since I’ve read SO many horror stories from kids who were homeschooled to add to my own personal experience. I don’t think I got the full picture from school, Christian or public, till college bio.

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  160. dee,

    What I find even sadder is that these same kids were never taught to pick and choose on their own and then own what they choose, even if it means tacking into the prevailing wind.

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  161. Muff Potter: There was a time when I would have suggested a fine Tequila (not cheap) made by an old family (with nearly 400 years experience) in the Northwestern Sonora of Mexico.

    Ah, I like a fine tequila. Indulge rarely, and go for the top shelf when you do. 😉

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  162. For the past six years, I have attended an LCMS church and one of the most refreshing aspects of this congregation is the total absence of politics in our church life. My previous church was a Calvinist, fundamentalist type and the emphasis on conservative politics seemed out of order to me, in spite of the fact that I agreed, and still agree, with many of the positions. Recently, I read an interesting article about Christian bloggers and their influence on millions of people. One author that I read at length was Jen Hatmaker. In my opinion, this blog/group illustrates the danger that arises when believers isolate themselves with only people that think exactly as they do. I was shocked to learn that according to many of Hatmaker’s internet “friends”, I will apparently be barred from heaven because of who I voted for. I am not exaggerating when I say that this one site has hundreds if not thousands of professing Christians who label Republican Christians as Pharisees, haters, and destined for Hell! Anyone who disagrees with the majority opinion is attacked and ridiculed.

    Is this caused by “lonliness”? Many of the writers talk about lonliness, isolation, and rejection. Maybe relying on the internet for “friends” causes the lonliness. It’s much easier than making friends with people in your neighborhood, who might be disagreeable at times. These internet Christians even refer to themselves as a “tribe”, which pretty well makes them an exclusive group. It seems very easy to despise other people while one is online!

    I guess that the Christian blogsphere is just a microcosm of the bigger problem today. Everything is political, those who disagree are to be silenced, and there is no longer room for debate. On anything. I’ve experienced this in a right wing church. Now, I am seeing an anger explosion from left leaning Christians. It breaks my heart to hear another Christian say she had dropped every friendship she had with Republicans because of President Trump. We have to stop disrespecting those we disagree with. Social media is a cause and an effect of our broken culture that produces detached people who only value others if they wear the right label.

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  163. Laura Smith: These internet Christians even refer to themselves as a “tribe”, which pretty well makes them an exclusive group.

    I’ve heard New Calvinists refer to themselves as a “tribe.” The problem with tribal religious movements is that they thrive on “us vs. them” by protecting insiders and attacking outsiders, insulating themselves from voices outside their theological bubble, and becoming egotistical/arrogant (we alone have truth). Love and humility are not words commonly used to describe New Calvinists. This is a perfect group for a cult of personality to originate and thrive … we are seeing it across the reformed movement through followers and minions of Piper, Mohler, Dever, etc. … what happened to Jesus?!

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  164. Laura Smith: Social media is a cause and an effect

    I disagree. No one is be being forced to digest social media one way or another. Social media is not the problem.

    People have a choice. It’s peoples choices around social media that is the issue.

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  165. Max: I’ve heard New Calvinists refer to themselves as a “tribe.”

    In most tribal languages, the name for themselves is “The People” and the name for everyone outside the tribe is “The Enemy”.

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  166. Bridget: I disagree. No one is be being forced to digest social media one way or another. Social media is not the problem.

    People have a choice. It’s peoples choices around social media that is the issue.

    But do they?
    Social Media apps are said to be designed to be as ADDICTIVE as possible, and I believe it. Not just the everyday observation of everyone around me staring and stroking their smartphones like Gollum with his Precioussssssssss, but news of $1800-a-seat Silicon Valley seminars by psychologists and biochemists specializing in the mechanisms of Addiction teaching how to make your App as Addictive as Possible. The Holy Grail of the “Adult Diaper App”, where the Meat Puppet will pee/poop his/her pants before they’ll look up from YOUR Social Media APP. There’s even a Social Media App Development firm here in SoCal named “Dopamine Labs”. Dopamine. The brain chemical central to the Addiction/Tolerance Response.

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  167. Headless Unicorn Guy: In most tribal languages, the name for themselves is “The People” and the name for everyone outside the tribe is “The Enemy”.

    In the case of New Calvinism, everyone in their tribe are “The Elect”; those outside the tribe are “The Reprobate.”

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  168. dee–I would say no single parent should be deployed like that. If the child has both parents in their life, and remains with that parent, I think they will fare better than some of the military kids I have known who spent maybe this year with mommy or daddy, next with a grandparent, couple of years later back with a parent, then back with a grandparent, etc.

    But your question is good and right on point. Maybe to prevent unbondedness parents are going to have to make–and society must also make–some really different lifestyle choices.

    But as to the military: in WW2 most kids still had mom in their lives. So they had at least one parent to bond with. I don’t think they fared as well as kids with both parents (assuming here we are talking good parents in all cases) but certainly better than kids shifted around pillar to post.

    But maybe you simply don’t deploy if you are a single parent.

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  169. Lea, if you do the investigating you will find it truly is critical that an infant have a primary caretaker that is consistently available. It really does matter.

    Of course instead of dad on 4 jobs mom and dad can both work, but might be better served by alternate shifts instead of daycare. Daycare workers are gold if they are good BUT they have no commitment to your child. If they get a better job, move, etc they will suddenly disappear from your child’s life.

    I know what I suggest rankles, but that is the point. Right now we are focused on what is best for mom or dad or both. And it simply is not working with our kids.

    We might have to reconfigure our whole society to make the best interest of the child primary.

    Even if it is harder for the parents, and harder for the employers.

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  170. linda: Daycare workers are gold if they are good BUT they have no commitment to your child.

    And not every parent that works is putting their kids in daycare. Some use alternate schedules, some use family members or leave kids in smallish situations with friends watching them. I think you need to accept that parents are going to make decisions based on their circumstances and instead of judging them, offer them help if they need it. I believe kids that have loving involved parents are going to be fine, and those parents are going to be making the best decisions possible for their circumstances.

    If you have an abusive parent, the kids are going to have issues even if they are home with them and following all your prescriptions(maybe even more issues).

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  171. Points well taken! I certainly agree that there is “tribal” mentality on both sides.Remember, I was once in a fundamentalist, Calvinist church where everyone had to drive the same vehicles, listen to the same music, cook the same foods. Think the very same way, too. The Bill Gothard movement was the essence of tribalism. I am just pointing out that after having read quite a bit of Jen Hatmaker’s discussions ( she being an oft mentioned example of “hip”, liberal Christianity) I am pretty taken aback at the anger displayed by some of her fans. There are numerous examples of a person voicing dissent ( this is walking into a minefield ) only to be attacked from all sides- being ridiculed, told to leave the discussion if you don’t agree with Jen, called a Pharisee, and sometimes even having your Christianity questioned. If you question, you are bad. That’s it! As far as what I think of her, she has every right to say what she thinks. What bothers me are the many followers who are obviously unable to hear an opinion other than their own or Jen’s,(which are identical.) If you are interested in exploring the intolerance of some liberal Christians ( since we already know about the exclusivity of Calvinism) I would encourage you to check out some of these individuals and their followers.

    As far as saying social media is a cause or an effect, or symptom, of lonliness, I agree no one is forced to partake. It most certainly is an addictive substance though, and like other addictive things, will cause more trouble for some than others. That is not an excuse, but it is at very least a caution.The problem lies in gradually believing that all good people agree with you all the time, and those who don’t agree can be verbally assaulted with hateful words that few of us would think of using in person.

    I just keep feeling blessed to be in a church where people leave politics aside as the lesser priority that it is, and focus on loving God and man to the best of our understanding. It is so refreshing and seems to be a rare thing. Of course your politics reflect your theology, but if your politics seem angry maybe your theology is too ?

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  172. Laura Smith: If you are interested in exploring the intolerance of some liberal Christians ( since we already know about the exclusivity of Calvinism) I would encourage you to check out some of these individuals and their followers.

    They (liberal-progressives) can be just as intolerant and Orwellian as the most ardent fundagelical. I’ve seen it happen on their (progressive) blogs.

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