“We find comfort among those who agree with us – growth among those who don’t.” (Frank Clark)
We are extremely busy … keeping our biases alive!
The Social Exorcism is not a “Dark Middle Age” paranoid activity, but a postmodern business as well, even a more effective one, considering the powerful mass-media/propaganda tools. What we are studying now on Fascist and Communist social exorcism, others will study on our own group biases/irrational group favouritism e.g. the Brexit controversy, the 2016 US elections, the conservative-progressive cultural war, etc. (The “us” vs. “them” mentality keeps us captive to favour our own biases and stereotypes as self- fulfilling beliefs – see the minimal group paradigm by Henri Tajfel).
One of the history’s ironies is how easily change the labels of “us” vs. “them”, of “victims” and “executioners”, of those who are “revolutionaries” and “reactionaries”, keeping in place the same mechanism of group labelling and bias favouritism. Showing a “conservative fist” is a sacrilege and considered a homophobic and disgraceful act, while a “revolutionary/socialist” fist is a powerful message and Robert de Niro’s or Pope Francisc’s punch are valued as being cool, an aesthetic happening and a moral duty! In the last few years I have studied a lot about how young Romanian Evangelicals are seduced to change the generational baggage, labels and biases they discover to their parents/church leaders, as a therapeutic exercise to claim their own identity. Unfortunately, what they blame to their parents’ generation is intrinsically inherited and put in value as a new virtue (subscribing to the new and fashionable biases). Not too much hope for the future! …
Armed neutrality makes it much easier to detect hypocrisy. (Criss Jami)
There is a better way!
Jesus tells a story in Luke 18 about a Pharisee and a tax collector.
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable:
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14, NIV)
Judgemental people take on an ‘us vs. them’ mentality. And not everytime it’s about “religious people” being “the hypocritical Pharisee” and “vicious” people being the “humble and honest tax collector”. As I said above, nowadays “the proud sinners” are those in charge with Moral Inquisition and religious (especially Christians)/Conservatives are those kept at the distance for their sins.
Jesus Christ transcends this “us” vs. “them” mentality. He is not offering a Miss Universe type discourse of universal love that dissipate all barriers and polarisation (as many progressive sophists do), but instead He is operating with a painful and uncomfortable reality: we are all guilty, biased, violent, worthy to be blamed. Ironically, Jesus does not praise the Pride/Share love! self-deceiving and self-justified movement at all: For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted (Luke 18:14). When someone is offering “love” without accepting the fact he is one of those who are worthy to be blamed for our world’s disorders and pain, then he is selling just another painkiller, a surrogate, but not medicine to cure.
Our sociopsychological disease of “us” vs. “them” is a reminiscence of a violent tribalism and no matter how “evolved” and “civilised” we think we are, we have it engraved in our brain and in our social relations. To project this problem to one sort of public, a convenient one, is not a solution, but a prolonged disease. The only solution I see effective here is the way Christ showed us: to humble ourselves, to repent for our moral status, our kitch love we poison our brain and just abandon ourselves into the arms of the God who makes His sun rise on evil and good and He sends rain on righteous and unrighteous:
Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. (John 12:24)