Monday, June 22, 2015

Reality in Line with World View

Do you ever find it odd how in line your view of something is with the way you perceive it to be?

I was at a small meeting to discuss a particular religious text just a short time ago.  There was a small panel of experts who had studied the text from a variety of viewpoints. 

The text wasn't troubling to me.  I went mostly to support a member of the panel - and I was interested.  I, along with most people in the audience of about 100 attendees found the conversation engaging, even eye-opening. 

A smaller group of attendees, maybe around 20 or so, were very troubled that the angle from which the text had been interpreted in their corner of the religion was not being considered by the panel.  Honestly, to get to see the text from their angle, you really had to bend it quite a bit.  You had to insert some things that were absent and ignore some things that were present.  Most of their contribution to the discussion was centered around these insertions and deletions.

They wanted the scripture to paint a picture of their God the way they wanted their God to appear.  The possibility that God kinda didn't appear that way in this text seemed to cause them them some great strain.

I felt for them.  I know I do that to myself.  I am thinking a thought and then - wham - any bit of confirming evidence sends me into a confirmation bias overdrive.  I find myself doing it in interpersonal relationships.  I find myself doing it in interpreting business communications or financial reports.

It really leaves me in a state of either aloneness if I consider my opinion to be unpopular, or aloneness in the sense that everyone around me feels/thinks the same thing.

Being vulnerable to consider shortfalls in my own interpretation is hard work.  It's a sin, nowadays - wishy-washy, flip-flop.  Critical reflection is seen as weakness.  No wonder we don't teach it anymore.

The fear that drove these 20 folks to attend this meeting must have been enormous.  Maybe even so large that they couldn't see it anymore.  It could have been like air.  It left me considering where my air is.

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