Reaching People Who No Longer Value the Truth

Remember Jerry, it’s not a lie—if you believe it. – George Costanza

They say that the truth hurts.

I’m inclined to agree.

When trying to reach another person across a divide of disagreement, it’s really difficult to compete with a firmly planted and fully thriving lie—in fact it’s virtually impossible.

In the turbulent days in which we find ourselves, our most formidable adversary is not the one who is most intelligent, cunning, or even immoral—it is the person who no longer has need of the truth; who ceases to be burdened by the existence or veracity of data in order to believe what they believe. 

When someone has reached this place of delusion, their only pressing commitment is preserving the myth they’ve told themselves—and so their minds for all practical purposes are rendered nearly unchangeable. To reach a different conclusion would involve them rewriting the false story they’ve already convinced themselves of and vigorously defended, sometimes for years. To consider another alternative becomes a threat to their very identity—and so rather than arguing with one’s own mind, the much less complicated or time-consuming task is to simply tell it what it wants to hear regardless of whether or not it is real.

The person who has discarded truth is insulated from rationality. He or she will not respond to the presence of a cogent argument or the proffering of measurable facts. Any information not corresponding to the narrative they’ve predetermined will be immediately labeled “fake news” and quickly rejected. You cannot win a debate with such a person, you cannot craft compromise with them, and you cannot appeal to reason—unless you are too are willing to concede to fantasy in order to reach them where they are, and this is a steep and slippery slope.

When we encounter someone whose opinion doesn’t match our own, there is great wisdom in seeking to understand the other person; attempting to see the matter from behind their eyes. But when this conclusion is reached based on fraudulent information, when he or she refuses to weigh the evidence at hand, when they chose simply to adopt the perspective of least resistance, this can be an impossibility. 

Yesterday I was speaking with a woman named Tammy. She was reiterating a well-traveled talking point from a partisan news show about the dangers of Muslims in America. I asked Tammy to take a look at a couple of well-researched articles by major newspapers, and to compare the numbers there with her perception. “Pshht!” she blurted out, rolling her eyes, “I’m not interested in fake news!” Tammy had no desire to engage information or to entertain the possibility of contrary evidence. It was much easier to devalue that information and dismiss it out of hand.

This is the FoxNews Effect on America. 

The network, along with both extremist poles of social media have done their most cancerous work by making critical thinking irrelevant, by counting on a populace with a low threshold for information fatigue, and by exploiting people’s vulnerability to intellectual ear candy. They understand that once they craft a story in the head of another human being, they only need to provide confirmation of that story; to reassure them that whatever lie they’ve embraced is true. After a short time, facts are not at all necessary to sustain believability—only the words themselves.

And so we’re faced with the task of wrestling with some really gut-wrenching questions today:
How do we teach our children to treasure honesty, when for so many people they encounter, fundamental reality is up for debate?

How do we who claim Christianity affirm our faith tradition’s call to truthfulness, when an increasing number of those representing that tradition are no longer interested in it?
How do we engage people standing opposite from us on an issue—when they no longer seem to value, desire, or entertain factual information?
What does a country become when its leaders, responsible for stewarding reality in times of adversity and matters of great consequence—have no use for it?
How does America endure a President who is allergic to reality and fluent in untruth?

The answer isn’t in abandoning the truth ourselves. In fact, these days require us to be a people who guard it more fiercely than ever; to keep seeking to know what is real, and to speak those things loudly and repeatedly in the hopes they will find fertile ground, even in the hardest of hearts. The answer is to raise children who believe honesty and integrity to be the bedrock of our humanity.

I want to believe all people can be reached, that there can be a place of common understanding in which to begin brokering compromise, even across the most vast of spaces. I wake up every day seeking to do this work, but with far too many of those in my neighborhood, in my family, and on my timeline—it is getting more and more difficult not to conclude that it is a fruitless endeavor. I’m afraid that reaching them may never again be an option—and that the only hope going forward may be to outnumber them.

This may be the truth that hurts the most.

 

 

226 thoughts on “Reaching People Who No Longer Value the Truth

  1. JP, I was with ya until I got to this line:

    “This is the FoxNews Effect on America. ”

    Just when I thought you were talking to people on both sides of the political spectrum, you pulled the carpet from under me. I feel cheated (not really).

    However, Fox News is not the only media outlet that reports in a biased fashion. As a matter of fact, a recent Harvard study showed that out of the major new organizations, Fox was actually more balanced than the others.

    The majority of the bias is on the left…and it comes out in the false facts they report. It has already been established that the mainstream media reports the news in a way that is designed to influence the American public, not inform them.

    The Chicago Tribune published a story discussing the study. Here is a quote:

    “The study found that in Trump’s first 100 days in office, the tone of the news coverage of the president has been a whopping 80 percent negative to 20 percent positive.

    CNN and NBC struck a 93 percent negative tone on their Trump stories, with only 7 percent positive. CBS was third in the anti-Trump race, with a 91 to 9 ratio. And the pro-Trump Fox News? That network was 52 percent negative to 48 percent positive.”

    Here is a link if anyone is interested:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/kass/ct-trump-media-coverage-harvard-kass-0521-20170519-column.html

    There have also been polls that show the people trust the White House more than the media, which is scary when you consider the tenuous relationship the president has with the truth.

    One of my favorite commentators, Ben Shapiro has a motto: “facts don’t care about your feelings.”

    Many people believe what they believe based on emotion. In order to understand an issue, you can’t be afraid of facts and data. Reasonable people can disagree on what the facts mean, but simply avoiding facts that don’t promote your point of view is intellectually dishonest and in the end, it keeps you from seeing the truth more clearly.

    However, this does not just happen on the right, and it is dishonest to imply that it does. There are plenty of people on the left who vehemently argue their point of view without supporting it with actual facts (I’ve seen many of them here on this blog). If all Americans would actually take the time and find the truth on a particular issue rather than staying in our own echo chambers, it would be easier for us to engage in a healthy debate.

    • Well Jeff, you sure prove your point. Though likely not in the way you intended.

      Of course any study done now is going to find “the tone of the news coverage of the president has been a whopping 80 percent negative to 20 percent positive.” That is not just due to bias, it is due to the volatile, damaging and disturbing nature of the Trump campaign and administration. To complain about bias because of negative coverage of Trump is to discard a whole lot of truth and fact.

      But in the past leading up to this point it was (and remains) the right wing media (print, TV and online) that has distorted and misrepresented on every issue. And there are more than a few studies to prove it.

      http://lmgtfy.com/?q=right+wing+media+bias

      • Sandi,

        It’s interesting that you believe that it is the president’s fault that the media is biased against him. Indeed, you would have a great point if the media did not show a history of media bias against conservatives.

        When Obama was in office, the media went easy on him. They rarely published anything that would make him look bad, and when they did, they usually spun it in a way that diminished it. If you think the reason the media went easier on Obama is because he never did anything wrong or made bad decisions, then I have a bridge in New York I’d like to sell ya.

        The reality is that the media has a proven tendency to report the news in a way that promotes the left. The study I provided showed that while Fox does have a bias, they are far more balanced than the other networks. It does not prove that the media is biased against Trump because he’s such a horrible president. If this were the case, they would not fawn all over Obama after eight years of bashing President Bush.

        Journalists are supposed to report the facts on each presidency, regardless of who is in office. Unfortunately, they are not interested in reporting in this way.

        • Jeff, I do not see that as “interesting” or questionable at all. Trump was the most vile, lying, self-aggrandizing, cruel and ignorant candidate in modern history and his administration has not proved to be one iota better.

          There is literally no surprise that the media would be treating him as such. In that regard it would be an utter dereliction of duty not to show us the truth. That is how every con is done in, by being exposed.

          I find it hard to believe you think Trump is a conservative, but sure, claim him as you like. I think you really need to admit that what the media has a “history of” is calling out bad ideas and bad actors. That so many were conservative is not the reason but rather the result.

          It is literally not true that “the media went easy” on Obama, they just did not hound him as conservatives wanted them to. Just like they did not hound Reagan as liberals wanted them to do. They covered the mistakes, the gaffes and the problems, but if you cannot see the ammunition that Trump hands them daily, that snowball handlers and “you lie” eejits etc hand them, I cannot help you see.

          I think the press saw more good, more hard work, more decency in Obama and Reagan than they see in Trump. I know most of us did too. Plus they both had higher approval ratings than Trump so they were playing to the audience.

          Of course Obama and Reagan (and every president) did things wrong, made mistakes, spoke unwisely, etc. No one can argue they didn’t. But none of them has been the spectacularly vile, dishonest and unfit president that is Trump.

          The WSJ is not among any media that could conceivably be said “has a proven tendency to report the news in a way that promotes the left.” They are a national newspaper. FOX News TV Network full of talking heads does not. The vast right-wing media empire on the internet and free radio doesn’t. So for you to claim that “the media” does anything more than tell the truth as they see it, is just not correct.

          OF COURSE Fox is more “balanced” in covering Trump…that only proves their bias though. It does kinda prove that the media is biased against Trump because he’s such a horrible president. They are not reporting the same things as the other networks or talking about the same things in the same way. They are damn sure not giving him the same treatment they gave Obama!

          REPORTERS are supposed to report the facts. Journalists are supposed to share their research and knowledge of the subject they are writing or talking about to most fully inform the audience.

          NO ONE is just going to call balls and strikes and shut up. Not the left, not the right and not the media.

          • Gloriamarie, I wish someone would show me this liberal bias news, I would watch it, I can’t find any. They keep getting more conservative all the time. Peace and Love,

            • Kathleen, the only news I ever watch is on PBS where they make sure to cover a story from several angles.

              The conservatives have been trying to sabotage the media for decades because the media tells the truth and the conservatives don’t want people to hear the truth.

              Roger Ailes’ approached played right into their hands and feeds all with tendencies to authoritarianism, bigotry, bisexuality phobia, fascism, gynophobia, homophobia, intolerance of an informed disagreement, isolationism, misogyny, prejudice, racism, rape, sexual assault/molestation, transgenderphobia, white supremacy, and xenophobia all the garbage they need to continue to feel justified in living in denial, believing fake news, lies, misinformation and to deliberately remain uninformed.

              A commitment to believing the fake news is very destructive to the health of the country.

            • Kathleen B and others who want exposure to liberal news, I invite you to where i dish it out almost every day

              One way to persist in resistance is my FB group, Gloriamarie’s Progressive Stuff, where I post actions, petitions, info, actual news, evidence, facts. There’s a pinned post that I highly recommend people read. I also ask a screening question so I can keep the spammers and the trolls out. All who read this are invited.

              https://www.facebook.com/groups/gloriamariesprogressivepetitions/

            • I know, every time I hear about liberal media, whatever there was/is, was rare, and I would mostly just standing there, scratching my head, and say “whaaat the heck?”

              • Numb and wounded but getting better, I too scratch my head wondering what on earth are they talking about.

          • Dear John Pavlovitz Reader:

            The conserberal media is a fraud in which ideological neighbors [‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’] stand side by side and shout at each other to foster the illusion of an enormous gap between them, and hence real issues must be at stake.

            IN fact nothing of the sort is true.

            Our glorious free media consists of 5-6 gigantic corporations. Consistently, they articulate the 1% or the other 9% line.

            No mass media outlet presents a 90% line.

            Blessings!

            PS: Did I mention that the conserberal gig is a media fraud?

              • Dear leslie m.:

                I might have hoped that the focus would be on the central image of two people standing side by side, shouting at each other hoping to foster the illusion that there exists some great gulf between them.

                At any rate, I’ll stick with ‘conserberal’ as that more clearly indicates the relationship between so-called ‘conservatives’ and ‘liberals’ without the phrase implying that ‘liberals’ are ‘cons.’ You know full well that as I see it, the divide is fictitious.

                For the 90%!

                Blessings!

        • » It’s interesting that you believe that it is the president’s fault that the media is biased against him. Indeed, you would have a great point if the media did not show a history of media bias against conservatives.

          The media has also shown a really strong bias against pedophiles and drug dealers. It is really hard to find positive and balanced reporting on them. I wonder what that could mean… Oh yeah, conservatives in the past presidencies have done nothing for the people they supposedly represent, but everything for their corporate donors, for the financial industry, they have made sure they have a job waiting on them when they retire from office, they have conspired to steal the votes from the black and brown communities, led the country into never ending wars in the middle east, tarnished the countries reputation with Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, stolen citizens privacy and data… And yes, Democrats had involvement in this. But you will be hard pressed to find a Democrat who did it as openly and shamelessly aggressive as the reps did. So, I would say as long as Trump just gets 1% of positive press, there is positive bias. Unless of course that 1% bit is a bit regarding his resignation and scheduling of a new election.

          » When Obama was in office, the media went easy on him. They rarely published anything that would make him look bad, and when they did, they usually spun it in a way that diminished it.

          He hardly did anything bad. This time of his presidency, basically 8 years back, 4 months into his first term Fox had a hate and vitriol filled video airing that showed Obama ordering a sandwich with Bijon mustard. The anchorman said said “Hope you are enjoying your fancy mustard, Mr. President” but what he meant was “Hope you choke on that sandwich n%*#er, you don’t belong into OUR White House”

          Trump pulls a stunt every week, and I mean every week, that would have made the GOP rally for impeachment or outright lynching if Obama had pulled it off. Plugging his daughters merchandise on Twitter? Tossing an FBI guy, especially one that is sniffing out possible wrongdoing?

          And of course Obama deserved a lot of bad press. He was drone striking people for many years. But even the GOP could not find it in the icy caverns they call hearts to criticize someone for bombing muslims. Especially if it was done in such a cost effective and safe (to American lives) manner.

          After all, all american presidents since the 2nd world war are essentially war criminals, yes even JFK, and there seems to be a consensus that says “whatever havoc you wreak in foreign countries, we won’t hold it against you”, but stick you wiener into the intern and we’ll break out the torches and pitchforks.

          » If you think the reason the media went easier on Obama is because he never did anything wrong or made bad decisions, then I have a bridge in New York I’d like to sell ya.

          So, you’re in the conman business as well? Well, then it of course makes good sense that you like Trump.

          » The study I provided showed that while Fox does have a bias, they are far more balanced than the other networks.

          No, the study provided only makes scientific sense if you compared it to at least one or two other presidential first 100 days. Because then it would show a close to 100% neg reporting for Obama, and again a favorable for Bush Jr. What these numbers show is that Faux News pretty much don’t care if a democracy is undermined and destroyed, as long as it is THEIR guy doing the destruction. If the OTHER goes out on a limb to provide affordable health care he is the antichrist. The numbers prove they are a propaganda outlet, and I am sure the producers have daily meeting (and headaches) trying to figure out how to spin the latest escapades ot tweets somewhat positive without losing the last bit of credibility even with their harebrained viewers.

          But you know what. THAT is all full well and within the game. You can have differing opinions. You can have bias, even as a news channel, as long as there is variety among the networks. But one thing that just doesn’t fly is actual fake news. Bias isn’t fake news. It is weighing different aspects differently. But omissions are fake news. Unasked critical questions in interviews are fake news. Conways attempt to conjure the Bowling Green attack is fake news. Claiming the Clintons run a child sex ring out of some pizzeria is fake news. And I have never heard Faux news condemning those. Or putting shoddy Breitbart reporting on the spot. That is the real danger.

          » Journalists are supposed to report the facts on each presidency, regardless of who is in office. Unfortunately, they are not interested in reporting in this way.

          What if the facts of the presidency don’t vibe well with the key demographic? Like the cool arms deal Trump supposedly brought back from Saudi Arabia? What are the facts on that again? Some say 110bn. Some say 300-something billion over 10 years. Great, eh? Jobs, jobs jobs.

          Well, I’ll tell you the truth you won’t hear on Faux: as of now 0bn. Zero. All he brought back was letters of intent with no binding nature and some lukewarm assurances of interest for this or that weapon systems. Of course, they are sending money to the US. They need to replace the ammo they are shooting into Yemen right now. And there are contracts for that deal. Those are contracts that were still made under Obama, though. And those are of course contracts that Obama didn’t get the media whipping he deserved for. But, yeah, they’re for shooting Muslims, so that’s OK.

          • While the Media focuses on Trump’s substantial character defects … He & his Administration did this in 100 short Days: (but got no coverage).

            –NATO Allies promise $10 Billion
            –Saudi Arabia recommits to fight ISIS
            –Restoring relations with Israel
            –298,000+ New JOBS
            –Housing Market soars
            –US Manufacturing 33-year High
            –US Stock Market soars
            –$100 Billion paid toward the DEFICIT
            –Supreme Court appointee: Neil Gorsuch
            –67% decrease in illegal crossings
            –Syrian strike
            –66 Executive Orders & Proclamations
            –Nullification of Unnecessary Regulations & blocked Agencies from re-issuing same regulations.

            • leslie m, you cannot possibly believe that those things are all due to actions of Trump or his administration. I know believing spin is your raison d’être, but seriously?

              Oh, who am I kidding, of course you believe it. May God help us all!

          • Christopher Freeman:
            FACT: You did not cite a source for your fact. Therefore, until proof is offered, it is not fact.

            source* original post
            Fact: Obama Spent millions of taxpayer money to keep the press away and bury storys and cover with other storys
            A Lot of cover up . So he could do what he wanted , Executive order

            P.S. your use of the word storys in this context is misspelled, it should be stories, to show multiple items

    • John wasn’t calling out biased news sources. He called out a news source that outright lies to its audience and spreads false information while naming it news. Which then muddies the water for other news sources and makes people, often wrongly, question everything they read that contradicts their preconceived notions as “fake news.”

      The study is a bit old, but in 2012 they found that people who watched Fox News are less informed than those who don’t watch any news at all. http://publicmind.fdu.edu/2012/confirmed/

      Bias is one thing – and every news source has its bent (http://imgur.com/h5Vuzol). But lying – and then claiming that everyone else is lying – is the true damage being done to our 4th Estate.

    • Dear Jeff:

      When you speak of the ‘left,’ do you refer to pseudo-left organizations in the orbit of the Democratic Party — such as the Democratic Socialists of America, the International Socialist Organization, Socialist Alternative, the Greens, etc. who prioritize racial/gender/sexual identity issues over class issues — OR do you refer to a genuinely Marxist/socialist/Trotskyist position as represented say in the Socialist Equality Party?

      http://socialequality.com/

      Blessings!

    • Oh, how I’d love to read that Harvard study and point out to you how and where you completely misunderstood it to the point of claiming Faux News well balanced.

    • You spelled out one of the problems of arguments, most people, even innocently will ‘enhance’ their idea of truth and it has always been so. None of us have such perfect interaction with events that we can remain true to the ideal of fair and balanced reporting of our own.

    • I have to agree with you. I want facts so that’s why I watch and support the PBS News Hour. Its the very best in unbiased and informative news. And they present both sides on political issues. More people need to watch public television.

  2. Dear John P,

    You write truth.

    “To consider another alternative becomes a threat to their very identity—and so rather than arguing with one’s own mind, the much less complicated or time-consuming task is to simply tell it what it wants to hear regardless of whether or not it is real.”

    The commitment to denial can be a very strong one. People seem to think they are justified in their own opinions, regardless of whether they are based on evidence, facts or history. Indeed we have even see how people distort historical facts to suit their own narratives of bigotry, prejudice, etc.

    “When we encounter someone whose opinion doesn’t match our own, there is great wisdom in seeking to understand the other person; attempting to see the matter from behind their eyes. But when this conclusion is reached based on fraudulent information, when he or she refuses to weigh the evidence at hand, when they chose simply to adopt the perspective of least resistance, this can be an impossibility. ”

    This has been my experience. Someone says something, I ask for a citation, evidence, facts, history to back up their assertion and it is either ignored or something untruthful is offered.

    “This is the FoxNews Effect on America.

    The network, along with both extremist poles of social media have done their most cancerous work by making critical thinking irrelevant, by counting on a populace with a low threshold for information fatigue, and by exploiting people’s vulnerability to intellectual ear candy.”

    What I fear will be overlooked in the kneejerk reactions to this essay is this phrase, “both extremist poles of social media.” The whole world knows I am a liberal, but I have been shocked at the fake news I see on ultra-liberal places. People will distort the truth to suit their own narrative and prejudices, whether on the far conservative right or the far liberal left.

    I’ve come to the conclusion, we will find the real news somewhere in the middle from moderate sources such as the New York Times, Washington Post, PBS, etc places like that which take the care to look at all sides of a story, not just one.

  3. Last week, as former-Director Comey talked before Congress, my Son and I switched between CNN, Fox and MSNBC. As the 13 year old pointed out ~ ‘it was difficult to see they were covering the same event, their spin on the matter was so different, their emphasis so skewed and their talking points so alien from one another.’

    You are angry at Faux News? Try looking closer to home as well. Look at the faces of various news teams as the 2016 General Election results rolled in to see how non-partisan those agencies are … which is to say ~ ‘Not At All!’

    Sigh.

    Since when did CNN start taking its talking points from Buzzfeed and Salon? At least everyone admits RT is a propaganda arm of the Russian government. CNN was being called the Clinton News Network for a reason too. Their blatant anti-Trump bias ruined their reputation with a large segment of the population … and they’ve done little to get it back in the intervening months.

    MSNBC has always been FAR to the American Left and has made few bones about it. At least they are … consistent?

    I used to think I could rely on the BBC. This morning I listened to some of the worst reporting in a long, long time. The news anchor was talking to a reporter love in Moscow, Russia. She had to keep leading the reporter along by the nose with obvious leading questions which basically added up to ~ “Would you just say Putin is a bad person!” and that sad episode didn’t end until FINALLY the reporter got the hint and said pretty much that. Double-sigh.

    It isn’t that Putin is, or isn’t, a bad guy. It was the quality of the presentation was so dismal. What has happened to the BBC? Worse, this isn’t an isolated case with them either.

    It is a sad state of affairs when I feel it is safer to put faith in Al Jazeera than all of the above.

    • So it was not on C-Span? I think more and more people blame the “biased media” because it is the easy out. For instance C-Span is on most every cable system that handles CNN and MSNBC and yet most will not watch the hearings or meetings or press conferences on there…

      Same for the internet. It is not hard to seek more than one of three sources and do the research required on any issue, and it is not hard to find sources that overall can be proven to be as factual or more so than most. But people will cite Breitbart, Newsmax or Krauthammer as a news source time and time again.

      The media has to live in this nation same as we do and facts do sometimes seem to have a liberal bias, as do the teachings of Jesus. So that alone does not negate them or make them irrelevant.

      • It wasn’t n C-Span by the time my Son came down to my hermitage. I’d been busy bashing away at my keyboard after 8 months of Writer’s Block when he showed up for my opinion.

        I tell both my children to search out multiple sources when hearing any news. Bias doesn’t mean the news is wrong, only you should proceed with caution.

        If someone cites Breitbart to me, I’ll look up the article and see what their sources are before considering it valid. HeatStreet, Salon, Mother Jones, or Alex Jones … being out on the fringes doesn’t make you wrong … all the time.

        • Well sure because “Mother Jones” and “Salon” have been sued, proven to have lied consistently and are equal to “Breitbart” and “Alex Jones”…said no rational person, ever. Totally false equivalency.

      • Sandi,

        The issue isn’t whether or not the media “sometimes seem to have a liberal bias” the issue is that they DO have a liberal bias and they report in such a way to promote their views while claiming objectivity.

        However, you are 100% correct when you say that it is not hard to find factual sources online. This is why I avoid watching the news networks on television. I find it more informative to read both liberal and conservative sources online. It’s unfortunate that we even have to do it this way, but if more people were willing to do the work to research the issues, we would be better informed.

        • And when someone, anyone “does” have a bias, that does not make them wrong. You seem to equate being biased with being wrong or dishonest and oddly, that is dishonest.

          The media can be biased and still tell the truth and offer the facts. Most of them do in fact do so. Those seeking to have their bias confirmed do not have to look far but that again does not mean the facts change.

          • Sandi, I suspect this is a case of if I say it, and often enough, then it’s the truth. Jeff appears to have that affliction. Nice try though. Peace and Love,

    • Dear James Dosher:

      ‘MSNBC has always been FAR to the American Left and has made few bones about it.’

      Methinks ‘left, right, far left, far right’ etc. says less about political orientation than WHO is defining the political spectrum. LOL!

      Blessings!

    • Dont Trust the News, The censored Media Agenda , The Hype reported to sway the opinion of the public.
      If the reporter does not do as directed by the media leadership , they are fired.
      That should tell you something.
      Biased, Tainted, Swayed,
      Only way is to compare between stations to see whos really reporting the Truth

      • Dear christopher freeman:

        You have yet to acknowledge that others have as much right to question the integrity of your faith commitments as you have to question theirs.

        Unless or until you come clean on this, why exactly should we listen to you?

        Blessings!

  4. For those who bemoan the “negative” spin on news stories about Trump etc., I do have to wonder how it would be possible to put a positive spin on some of his behavior. Does the reporting appear negative because what the man has done or said IS in fact, negative, or hateful, or misogynistic? Can you put a positive spin on his p***y-grabbing statement, for example? If not, does that make reporting such, by default, negative? And I’m not trying to be partisan, I’m trying to be godly and objective.

    • Rod,

      I think the issue isn’t putting a positive spin on something that is clearly negative…the issue is reporting the facts rather than trying to sway our opinions.

      If something happens with the Trump administration, news outlets should give us all the facts they have…not just the ones that support their narrative. That way, we can actually judge for ourselves and form our own opinions.

      I get that there will always be SOME bias in reporting…people are human after all. But the blatant bias of the establishment media is not accidental; they are clearly attempting to get us to believe what they want us to believe.

      • And why would they do that Jeff? Why does anyone try to sell you their bias? If you are watching American media, why would they be biased? Maybe we need to understand why the bias exists not just slam it for being offered. Like the CDC, they do not often have good things to say, but just being biased does not and will not make either one wrong.

        If two people can look at a news story and one claim it is biased and another that it is merely factual, which one is right? Seeing bias is rather as subjective as presenting it.

        If two people read an editorial and one claims it is spot on and full of verifiable facts and another says it is just biased opinion, what is it that makes one person right and the other person wrong. Facts are pesky things and the fact is, they can be interpreted differently and still be correct.

        • I say get the pundits off the air and show the raw footage but you will still get people with various reactions. The thing is more than one perspective is a good thing because we can learn from each other.

          • We have had over 400 years to learn from each other and the division just keeps being fed. I don’t think people are at all interested in learning from anyone not already as biased as they are. To the right, it does not matter how correct Nancy Pelosi is on anything…to the left, it does not matter how correct Mitch McConnell is on anything. It is also true that neither spends any time or capital trying to be anything but a party puppet. Same for Trump. Sure he was elected by a minority and on an ugly tide, but he has had ample opportunity to reach out, to show he is for ALL of us…but he knows his base is all he needs apparently, because that is all he plays to.

            The truth is that people seek to have their bias confirmed. They do not sit passively and let it happen to them, they actively seek it. Blaming the media is a cop out IMO. They are selling a product and people will buy what they want.

            That an awful lot of honest, factual and helpful news in the media is discarded is the only real problem and again, that is on us. Just like those who hear a sermon on Sunday and praise Jesus, then forget they know Him the rest of the week.

            • I agree on all points. However, to give up on diplomacy and reconciliation just because things look as though they are more divided than ever is not something I am willing to do.

              It may be what the media is reporting and focusing on but it doesn’t speak to the culmination of all my personal interactions with people I disagree with.

              Sandi, keep speaking out it’s getting through– I am hopeful ! I hope as well you would consider showing an openness to conservatives who show themselves to be respectful– because they are out there.

              • Beamer, clearly you have misunderstood me somewhere along the line. I am all for “diplomacy” and a BIG part of diplomacy is telling the truth and getting people to see it (which I think the media is trying to do).

                Also, I am well aware that there are “respectful” conservatives “out there” and I applaud that. But I do not require it. All I need is factual, truth. That is all I ask from anyone.

                Of course we are all gonna spin that truth and those facts through our POVrometer, but we have to at least start there.

                • Sandi I am glad you clarified that

                  One misunderstanding you have about me is that I never once said anything against the MEDIA. I spoke against PUNDITS. The media should get rid of them and stop paying them.

                  To be more concise. We don’t need the pundits and spin doctors , they are speculators and prognosticators we need to see the news– the RAW footage– the truth, all of it! just tell the news — that’s what I said. I don’t even watch 24 hrs news channels anymore because of the nonsense pundit panels. I can’t even hear them over each anyways.

                  Sandi, It goes to show you how even people like you and I– who agree can get off track, eh?

                  • I agree, and I don’t watch the news anymore, everyone is spinning it for their own benefit. I read from various outlets and compare, if they are different I do my own homework. I also have to say, I can’t seem to find that good ole liberal media bias. Even NBC, who everyone says is soooooooooooo liberal is hiring Fox’s castoffs. Come on, the woman who maintains that Jesus was white. Anyone who isn’t ultra conservative appears to be liberal. Things have certainly changed.
                    Just saying,

                    • Kathleen, The fact that I don’t know what you are talking shows how far off the grid I am haha! I try to ignore the rhetoric and watch the raw footage but the problem is many of the media outlets will edit the footage. That’s how I form my opinion.

                      I grew up watching the PBS News Hour. They gave the news and kept the opinion pieces, editorials and pundits separate. They didn’t fill a table with squawking mouthpieces who talk over each other because they are paid pitbulls.

                      Unfortunately, I think the 24hr news format has become entertainment for some.

                    • You are not missing anything. I haven’t watched the news on television for 8 months. I am still informed but I am keeping the pollution out. I agree about it being entertainment. I miss when HLN just gave the headlines, no comment, just what was happening every 30 minutes. Peace,

                  • I won’t disagree about the pundits, they need to relegated to the entertainment section and not on the news.

                    But that would not stop the problem people have of not liking facts that do not conform or confirm their own bias.

              • Again gdd, this nation is “led” by the US Constitution and the parameters it has allowed to happen. To act like we are ruled over is just a cop-out.

                There is a reason no nation is pure Socialist or pure Capitalist or pure Libertarian.

                There is no way for a nation of 300 million to be “represented.” It is a myth we have chased for over 400 years but it is not possible.

                And whether you can admit it or not, the moment “the workers” were running things, they too would turn into unfair “rulers.”

                • Dear Sandi Saunders:

                  Above the constitution stands the ‘interpretation’ of the constitution. But under the conditions that the constitution is increasingly a dead letter, that doesn’t matter.

                  Recognition that we are ‘ruled’ is the foundation of resistance, which is why reactionaries of all colors oppose it tooth and nail.

                  There is a reason for which France has no nobility, and that revolution is coming to America.

                  The nation certainly won’t have representation while the 1% and other 9% is represented as well as it is.

                  Marxists freely acknowledge that no utopia exists. However the democratization of economics and the location of the power of decision among those who must live with decisions made is an acceptable start. I”m willing to start there in working for a better and safer world.

                  Are you?

                  Blessings!

      • However, ‘facts’ do not necessarily add up to Truth. Each side uses the ‘facts’ to sway opinion. Facts can also be contradictory, while remaining true. ‘After the soccer game Bill got angry.’ ‘After the soccer game Bill was happy.’

        The way ‘facts’ are presented, and which ‘facts’ are left on the cutting room floor, greatly influences what people believe to be true . And so we are back to square one.

        I’m glad there is an Absolute Truth, the Bible. I think we should use it as a rubric.

        • Please, there is enough of hitting folks over the head with that book. It contains truth, it isn’t Absolute Truth and never has been.

        • leslie m, have you ever examined the ways that the Bible contradicts itself? How about the ways people tell the same story but adding or omitting some “facts” in their version?

          I know you think you are right and that the Bible is infallible and the inerrant Word of God, but surely you know that then, as now, it was also filtered through the minds and hands of man…

          • I would like leslie m., the one who has a lock on the absolute truth because the Bible is literally true, tell me what really happened in Genesis 6:1-4. Those passages make less sense than an abridged 1 minute version of the original Dune movie. It is like the author said, “I have this awesome 1000 page story all about the ‘Sons of God’, the ‘Daughters of Man’, G-d making men age and die just because, and the Giants and men of such renown that I need not mention any of them, but I am going to only write a three sentences teaser about it because my publishers said I needed a teaser. I will write this great awesome story and people will read it for thousands of years…..ack…I die”.

            • Robin wrote “I have this awesome 1000 page story all about the ‘Sons of God’, the ‘Daughters of Man’, G-d making men age and die just because, and the Giants and men of such renown that I need not mention any of them, but I am going to only write a three sentences teaser ”

              I read in the Mishnah once that the Sons of God referred to magistrates and princes.

              In his book, What is the Bible, Rob Bell makes an interesting point that one disadvantage we have reading the Bible and especially the Hebrew Scriptures is that we don’t understand the idioms. For instance we might speak of “being up front” or having a “bucket list” but in centuries to come, people aren;t going to understand those phrases because they do not have the context.

              Bell says there are all sorts of things left out of various accounts because they were understood and taken for granted.

              He talks about that woman taken in adultery and Jesus scribbling in the dirt. Christian preachers have for centuries tried to figure out what that implies. Bell poihnt out that this story comes at the end of the Feast of Shavout and the last passage read as part of that feast is about people writing in the dust. Jesus’ action would have spoken loudly to the audience, who had just heard this passgae read to them.

              Another book that explains some things we miss today is “You Don’t Understand the Bible because you are Christian” By Richard Gist

              And while I am at it… “The Bible Tells Me So… Why Defending Scripture Has Made US Unable to Read It” by Peter Ennis

      • Right Kathleen B! It is human nature not to like bad news or anything that makes you uncomfortable with your position so blaming the media has become a very convenient “out” for so many people who should have skulked away into exile.

        Anyone with internet access can be called a journalist. There was time people reviled snake oil salesmen, now sadly, they are paid millions!

  5. I don’t get my news from ANY major distributor–paper or electronic or on TV. I follow several reporters on Medium.com; I read the Russian news, the British News, and I follow Anonymous. I surf the web to find articles/reports from both sides so that I can surmise the basic facts of any given situation and decide for myself what is real and what is propaganda, bias or lies.
    My husband is a political beast and will always tell me about the latest kerfuffle in DC. I have an anxiety disorder that just having 45 as President stirs up. I am aware of his history, the things he has done in the past and the reputation he has as a businessman–who doesn’t pay his bills. Who has more than 4000 (four THOUSAND) lawsuits outstanding against him. Who has always gotten his own way because of his money (or what he says is his money; I ask, how can he truly be a “billionaire” if he OWES $650 million dollars to the Chinese banks?) and his “name”, which he is STILL making money off of, and his own bullying, bombastic and boorish nature.
    And I agree with Jeff: BOTH sides and up and down the political spectrum have their own agendas, have their own prejudices and concepts and facts to prove themselves right. And there are liberals (Democrats, if you will) who are just as open to the actual truth as anyone of the GOP. In other words, NOT. But the Democrats do not have one of their own in the White House; the man that’s there now has not done a single damned thing to make me want to re-evaluate my view of him. He has had, and continues to be presented with, opportunities to do great things, like the Presidents before him. Unfortunately for us, he’s effing it all up–and in the process, costing us our position as the global leader country; costing us allies; alienating most of the world from the USofA. When he visits other places, he IS America to their people. If he actually IS the best representative of most of the people here…may the gods help us all. Because that would mean we, as a nation, ARE just like him.
    Maybe it’s time that we acknowledge that everything we know about being an American is a lie: “Rugged Individuals” with a “Manifest Destiny”, being stronger together, being a role model for the rest of the world. You want to know who decided that? WE DID. A bunch of people who, as Billy Murray describes in “Stripes”, have been kicked out of every other nation. WE are the wretched refuse. And we have failed as a nation to actually improve ourselves and “get revenge” by living well. (“Living well is the best revenge”, a phrase I use often, particularly in reference to my first marriage.)
    Are there enough people willing to put in the hard work of being intelligent, curious, changing their minds, of becoming the reality of an ideal that we have held for over 200 years? Time will tell. I hope that I live long enough to see it. (So you all better get a move on; I’m turning 56 this year and won’t be getting any younger!)

    • KGC, I wish I could refute what you just said because it seems really harsh and hard to accept…but I cannot. The truth is that it is on us to find and share the truth as we see it. It is also true that it is on us to root out the lies and harmful effects of believing them and share that too.

      There is no utopia, there is no changing our Constitution, the rule of law, the lack of representation, the flaws in our system, the wealth that control and power brings or the importance of keeping people in line with a narrative. We just have to do the best that we can not to be fooled. Bias is not inherently dishonest. It never has been. Dishonest bias and twisted, tortured rhetoric to gain power is the fight IMHO.

      • Dear Sandi Saunders:

        Actually, what we need to do is to ‘link the struggles against the deplorable social conditions under capitalism with the political struggle against Trump and both big business parties, based on a socialist program.’ http://tinyurl.com/yca9lssj

        Social change will come solely as the working class puts forth its own program arising from its own narrative and intervenes directly into political life to for a government of the working class.

        Blessings!

        • gdd, you really do not understand the world we live in at all. Your fantasy is never going to happen. We need to learn to work within the political and social structure what we have and be as effective as the system will allow. Your pie will remain in the sky.

          • Dear Sandi Saunders:

            From the 90% perspective, the system is a proven failure. It is pretense to the contrary which is ‘pie-in-the-sky’ living.

            Behold your future:

            Mass struggles are on the agenda in the United States. They will rival the mass protests in Europe to the first Great War.

            Protest rallies, demonstrations and strikes will assume a general, nation-wide character.

            The proletariat will resist Trump, the Republican National Committee AND the Democratic National Committee on the basis of a working class agenda in a mass, political movement, independent of and opposed to both the Republicans and the Democrats, and against the capitalist system and its state.

            The assertion what ‘this will never happen’ reflects the intention of the ruling class to shed as much American blood as is necessary in order to preserve its place of privilege in society.

            So go ahead and shed all the worker blood you want. Then watch what happens.

            Blessings!

            • gdd said, “The proletariat will resist Trump, ”

              I hope so but I am not sure why Sandi has issues with that since she is part of the resistance !?

              • Dear Beamer:

                Here is the thing with Sandi Sanders:

                There are three basic forms of opposition to the Trump administration. These represent three different social classes.

                In the top 1%, there are powerful opponents to Trump’s administration.

                The next 9% also opposes Trump and his profligate administration.

                Lastly, the 90% [working class/proletariat] opposes Trump’s administration.

                Sandi opposes Trump and his administration from the ‘other 9% program. The other 9% is characterized primarily by its dependence on the 1%. The other 9% is interested in a more favorable distribution of wealth for the wealthiest 10%. The other 9% includes various political tendencies and pseudo-left outfits that operate in the orbit of the Democrat Party. Its specialty is semi-reformist appeals for making capitalism bearable as a means of continuing 1% [ruling class] dominance over the working class. If this faction secures some form of the political coup it now seeks, a more polished figure [Pense] will be elevated, and war with Russia will follow.

                I oppose Trump and his administration from a proletarian [90%] program. The working class program is characterized by its political independence from both the 1% and the other 9%. The objective basis for innumerable forms of resistance and opposition by the working class is none other than the ongoing social crisis in the United States, and the impossibility of the 1% or other 9% to offer any truly progressive program. Relentless deterioration of proletarian living conditions in the United States, and pointless violence of endless wars waged by the ruling class worldwide, are forging a profound mass social consciousness that will redefine allegiance on the basis of class.

                This deeply upsets the ruling class [1%] and its other 9% supporters who will unite to fight the 90% to the death. The 90% strategy is to fracture the 1%/other 9% alliance, forcing the upper-middle class to decide where its allegiance lies.

                Sandi Sanders resists Trump et. al. on the ‘other 9%’ basis. I reject the pseudo-left/other 9% agenda in order to resist Trump and the other 9% minions INDEPENDENTLY on the basis of class struggle emerging worldwide. So as I see it, Sandi Sanders has good reason to break with me. But she has even better reason to join me. And I trust that in time, she will.

                In any case, decades of betrayal by trade union leadership/ Democrat Party are coming to an end. As the proletariat comes to political consciousness, it will radicalize on the basis of the social crisis it faces everywhere daily. At that time, the other 9% will have no choice but to join the 1% ‘law-and-order’ calls to turn the military on the working class – OR to join the working class in its demand for direct intervention to frame a government to prevent WW III and address social crisis which is nothing less than an attack on the United States of America by the ruling class and its political lackeys.

                Blessings!

    • Dear KGC:

      ‘he IS America to their people. If he actually IS the best representative of most of the people here…’

      Donald Trump is the embodiment of the US oligarchic class and as such in so sense is representative of the working class [90%] whether considered socially, legally or politically. In a de jure and de facto sense, the oligarchy and the working class are two nations.

      Blessings!

  6. “It is impossible to convince with reason a person who did not arrive at their opinion through reason.” (Thank you, Jonathan Swift.)

    • Amen 4 Elaine Clements! Excellent quote. I think another point to ponder is the ease with which people accept opinion editorials as news stories and terribly conflate the two.

  7. Fox does fine when it’s reporting news. The problem with the network, and other such 24 hour news channels, is that to fill airspace many of the programs are not news-oriented, but opinion oriented.

    I think, that’s at the heart of JP’s post — the inability or unwillingness, I’m not sure which it is — to distinguish opinion from fact. Not to mention the internet has given every Tom, Dick, and Harry, every government, every agency, the access to express their views and opinions. And, access to other folks minds, hearts, and homes who seek to validate whatever they want to believe by finding someone or something else that agrees with them.

    The rush to be the first with a report does and has resulted in misinformation, so those commenting “fake news” aren’t entirely wrong. Information, when first presented, should be consumed cautiously and obtaining it from multiple sources, both conservative, liberal and whatever else, isn’t a bad idea to get a clearer picture of what happened as well as determining what news sources are unreliable (looking at Alex Jones).

    To be sure, bias infiltrates everything. Even with factual information, there is some choice involved in the way that information is presented and worded. There’s also the problem that in this, what I’m calling the communication (as opposed to information) age, there’s not a whole lot of people who are well-versed in communication.

    But JP’s right, there comes a time when it’s pointless to argue with someone. The whole “fake news” thing is troublesome because, for the most part, it’s not “fake” (though I do have problems with so many stories using unnamed sources, it’s out of hand).

    I realized there’s sometimes pointlessness in discussion some years ago when arguing about the Bible with a peer that ended with his true-believing comment, “He got it (money) out of the fish’s mouth.” There’s no winning there. I can’t have what I consider a logical argument with that person.

    I don’t believe there’s much changing people’s opinions at the spur of the moment, especially those that have been developed over time. My own personal beliefs have been formed from my personal lifetime experiences, and I’m sure those differ from other people’s lifetime experiences, particularly in matters of faith which I seem to have less and less use for as I get older and perceive that it appears to warp opinions into outlandish territories. I refuse to let ancient documents dictate complete fact for me, but do my best to attempt to respect those who do even when it seems inane, unless it results in atrocities like genocide, slavery, torture and the like.

    Is it a fruitless endeavor, as JP says he is coming to think? Yes, if that means posting to change someone’s opinion. But for those who think alike, or who are coming to think alike, his posts offer some solace that the world hasn’t gone completely mad. I just hope we don’t blow each other up.

    • Excellent point Sgt. Rock. Opinion may or may not be grounded in fact, but just accepting opinion as news and fact is never going to be wise or credible research. I cannot count the times people have answered a link of a news story (with attributions and data referenced) with an opinion piece or editorial. It is disheartening.

    • The pundits on both side are the problem. Liberals and conservatives trying to persuade people to think the way they do when people are more apt to not adhere to a narrow political ideology. People tend to be moderate and can see the good of both sides and now go to political extremes. Therefore pundits have to resort to more and more slanted, hair raising, outrageous claims about the other. Trump can to power at the right time for people to swallow a lie.

      • I cannot help myself, I know better, but I cannot help myself!
        I have to ask, after the Trump campaign and now the Trump administration, always the constant of his tweets, lies and dishonest rhetoric, how on earth can you claim the problem is the pundits?

        • Sandi, the media pundits and the spin doctors are a big part of the problem. They have been around long before Trump considered running for office — chopping away at people’s confidence in good government.

          Read about Chomsky’s concept of NECESSARY ILLUSIONS:

          “power elites dominate how life happens, with part of the population — about 20% who make up the political class and are expected to participate as cultural managers in a limited fashion –and most people — the other 80% of the population — are marginalized, diverted from political awareness and participation in self-governing, and reduced to apathy so they don’t vote or take charge. Media are a tool of society’s power elites and owned and controlled by them and are used to impose those iIllusions that are Necessary to keep people diverted from the political process.”

          One thing Pavlovitz has right is that good incorruptible people need to become more active in politics. Lots of them. But, it is near impossible for many good people to find the time in the day to do this because the economy is designed to keep people distracted and working.

        • The problem is that Trump is not the first president to lie and engage in dishonest rhetoric

          The media doesn’t care about lies and dishonest rhetoric, they care about whether the politician uttering these lies has an “R” or a “D” next to their name.

          They avoided calling out Obama on lies that he told and the mistakes he made. That’s not what news outlets are supposed to do. They’re supposed to report without bias.

          • No Jeff, they did not avoid calling out Obama on anything. That is again, the right wing spin on reality.

            Humans have bias. Bias is not bad or good, it just is. Bias that is honest is helpful. Bias that is wrong and as corrupt as some are is what is bad.

            The media live in America too, they do care about lies and dishonest rhetoric.

            Trump has been documented to be the most prolific and damaging liar we have had in the White House in our lifetimes. Even Nixon was not as dishonest as Trump (though maybe that was just because he did not have a Twitter account).

            • Actually bias is not defined as good. Prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, is considered to be unfair. That is not my opinion it is by definition the wrong way to go about human relations.

              • Yes but the definition does not tell the whole story. A bias against rattlesnakes has a very strong reason to exist. A bias against grandiose con jobs has a very strong reason to exist. A bias against a spin job when the truth is known has a strong reason to exist. Can you honestly say that bias against those things would be “bad?”

                Letting people get hosed because you want to be “fair” is not a good way to behave. And yes, I know that most leaders, especially politicians do it, not just those I disagree with.

                Religious leaders do it to. Parents do it. Partners do it. Employees and employers do it. Everyone spins, everyone has and shows a bias. Bias is a natural phenomenon IMO and it is not bad in and of itself.

                No one wants to look at ALL the facts and then weigh them, research and make a firm decision. That takes time and effort so many just do not bother. And in the 24 hour news cycle who can.

                Sadly, even “think tanks” mostly just go for their bias to be confirmed.

                Look at Congress, if the CBO scores legislation favorably, they are the greatest bunch of patriots we can find. If they score legislation harshly, they are a bunch of incompetent bureaucrats.

                • I don’t agree having a bias against rattlesnakes is a good thing. A bias against rattlesnakes would lead to mass extermination of them– it would lead to groups of people targeting them and going out of their way to kill them.

                  Whereas most people avoid them knowing they have a right to exist as longs they are not attached and they don’t venture on to their property.

                  Personally I am cautious when I see a snake with some natural fear. I know they they are around but I am not going out of my way to rile people up against them and proactively stir up the fear and loathing of them.

                  I will never let my guard down around rattlesnakes or any wild game. I will protect myself.

                  I don’t know what you mean by fairness can allow someone to get hosed. In fact fairness causes one to have courage and step in and try to stop the hosing.

                  Being fair is the best way to be. Because it means you will step in and help someone in need but you will also stop short of denying someone else access to the necessities of life.

                  • “Whereas most people avoid rattlesnakes knowing they have a right to exist as long the rattlesnake does not attack them and don’t venture on to their property.”

                    Live and let live but once you or someone you know is being threatened act to defend yourself or protect them.

                  • Now see Beamer, this is where the problem comes in. You assume that a bias against rattlesnakes involves far more than just leaving them alone. You assume it would be mean “mass extermination of them– it would lead to groups of people targeting them and going out of their way to kill them.” And that is real hard right thinking but not at all necessarily what a bias against them was meant to show.

                    You make the same assumptions on what “fair” means. The age old “fairness” to the rich and the poor question that Congress faces has led to them claiming it is not “fair” to take more from the rich because of the poor. That means being “fair” ends up with the poor getting hosed.

                    When in modern time, no need to use centuries, have conservatives shown the courage to step in and try to stop the hosing by showing fairness?

                    Like King Solomon tried to show us, being fair ain’t all it is cracked up to be.

                    • I don’t assume bias will lead to prejudice and discrimination because it does– especially in times of social and political crisis such as these times.

                      Where I come from there was and still is to a certain extent a terrible bias against wolves and a huge debate about the whether to cull wolves or not– which basically means an all out slaughter on the wolf population.

                      Historically bias has even led the underclass to rising up to overthrow and slaughter the upper class– after being oppressed for so long and seeing the upper class as the evil.

                      So it is not an assumption but a caution and a warning.

                      Some words like bias exist to be expressed as the negative. and fairness to be expressed as a positive. When we start changing the meaning and connotations of words we start getting in to trouble.

                      But, realistically politics has been using doublespeak for a long time and I try not to fall for that error.

                    • Another point I forgot to mention about wolf culls is that the hatred for wolves was so bad in the past that Biologist had to get involved to counterbalance the growing hysteria. A few books were written in literature to show wolves more favourably such as Jack London’s “White Fang” and Farley Mowat’s “Never Cry Wolf”. Farley Mowat was a big proponent for protecting the wolf populations.

            • Hi Sandi. I think the bias and polarisation has increased due to social media. Social media, such as Facebook, in an attempt to give people what they want, create “reality bubbles”. The more people have invested in using particular group values as an identity rather than mutable biases, the more they will reject facts that are against their biases. In essence, we are becoming more foolish because we now desire to change the facts to fit our views instead of the other way around. I try to mute my bias, which has been consistently
              and historically centralist, by looking at news sources both moderate liberal and moderate conservatives trust.

            • “No Jeff, they did not avoid calling out Obama on anything. That is again, the right wing spin on reality.”

              Nope. It isn’t spin. It’s based on facts. I wish I could put more than one link in a comment, but this one will have to do.

              http://www.mrc.org/media-reality-check/five-ways-media-bias-tipped-scales-favor-obama

              These are only five examples of how the media favored Obama. There are plenty more.

              The Obama administration had scandals…but the media allowed him to get away with saying that he administration had been scandal-free. They wouldn’t take him to task for any of it. If you’re being intellectually honest, you can’t deny that the majority of the news media is biased against conservatives. There are even liberals who admit that the news media is biased in their favor.

              • Jeff, what you have to face, and you seem really reluctant to do so, is that the very vast right-wing media empire that controls print, TV, internet and radio coverage is fully on the field and has been for decades so to pretend “the media” is somehow so biased for the left and so in the tank for the left is just plain ludicrous. We have to PAY to get left wing radio talk in most parts of this nation while the right-wing programming is all over free radio. We have to subscribe to the WP and the NYT while most right-wing sites are wide open and free.

                You can cry “wolf” but you got one of your own dude so give it up.

  8. I think the premise is and will remain true that “all people can be reached”, but those who do not want to be reached have always been and will always be another kettle of fish.

    They are the people for whom biased media was invented. And sadly, it is not even a modern invention.

    I wish I could say Trump ushered it in, or even that Falwell, Robertson, Weyrich, and Ailes did so, but the truth is that it goes back to the nature of man. This nation fought a bloody, tragic and very destructive Civil War because people would rather fight than listen.

    • It’s sad, but true. There will always be people who are willing to follow whatever movement “feels” the best. For some people, blind belief is preferable to having one’s opinions challenged.

      • Well Jeff, you might consider not being so harsh about them. In a nation of over 300 million, thinking one person CAN “represent” 500,000 or even 950,000 other people is a little wacky. (The Founders chose 30,000 to one)

        And it is not as if there are really divergent paths to choose. Sadly our religion and our politics only have so much difference between them. They are far more alike than people want to admit. So are we.

        • I wasn’t being harsh, I was just stating a truth. People tend to go with what “feels” best rather than looking at it logically. We all do it to some extent. I catch myself doing it….it can be quite easy to accept a certain argument without really thinking it through. But I think if more of us are willing to be more intentional about thinking through the messages we are sent, it will be easier to make sure that we’re as informed as we need to be.

          • We can all be as “intentional” as we want but between gerrymandering, special interest money, media investment and the sad reality of the numbers in our “representative” government, it really only leads to more and more frustration for those who “really” know things. Just my perspective of course, but the more I know, the less I wish I knew on so many subjects.

  9. And now we get down to the crux of the matter – the Lakoff observation that worldview trumps truth (I hate that that verb has now been so freighted). Yes, news sites have their opinions. It has ALWAYS been so. There are so many news outlets that cater to particular worldviews, and that this catering has become capitulating in the pursuit of eyeballs and advertiser dollars.

    There is no such thing as a completely biasless news source. There are, unfortunately, biased fact sources in the world. But the vast majority strive for a high level of objectivity. The problem comes in when we forsake the support of objective science and research because we have decided that the matter is decided or, more insidiously, when we decide that government should have no role in the funding of research with benefit to society in general. That is one area where a government that represents the country as a whole has an obvious role to play, because of its massive resources. But in a country where the government represents only a small group of monied interests, well…

    Now the question I would ask of us is this: does our worldview affect our view of God, and therefore the characteristics of the religion we follow in worshipping that God? If so, it is not to much of a stretch to realize that changing the nature of one’s religion might be an equally fruitless task.

    In the Structure of Scientific Revolutions, the author notes that there hasn’t been a true scientific revolution…just that the protagonists of one side or another have died off.

    It’s early and I’m stream of consciousness today. But the subordination of facts and objective research to belief is, in my opinion, our undoing. But I don’t know how to stop it, or if it can be stopped.

  10. Here is your problem with truth. It is your religion. All the Jesus and God talk is a pathway to war. People exchange ideas and when they are pinned down they tap out to Jesus. They get back up and fight and tap out to Jesus like a referee. See, atheists don’t have this problem. Think of all the wars religion has started. Most of your blog responses are religious yet unkind to each other. I do not know why you hold onto that. If someone said to me; Tom, what do Christians do? I would say fight and disagree like Hell. So, why do they do that? I was on a flight with a Christian (so called ) who said it was a responsibility to pray for the President. The other guy in the middle got kind of nasty. Guess what; two Christians. I didn’t say anything. Can someone tell me what causes that weird behavior? I think the guy writing the blog is a Christian.

    • Not true. People don’t need religion in order to kill and wage war.

      Under the Stalin regime, the Soviet Union killed about 20 million. It was an atheist regime.

      Mao Zedong’s regime was also atheist. They killed between 49 and 78 million people.

      Many more were killed even when these dictators were not in power because of their governments…which were not religious, but ardently atheist.

      People in general are capable of atrocities, regardless of the religion they claim to espouse.

      • To make people lay down their lives, you have to rally them behind some big idea (or threaten them). These big ideas could be “nations” or the “fatherland”, race supremacy, an ideology like Stalinism, etc. But all those have the disadvantage that you can start to question them. You can wonder if that particular patch of land or this flag is worth dying for. If this or that race/tribe is really superior. Or if the ideology is really without flaws.

        The big difference to religion as a rallying cry is that religion often is inconsistent by nature and not accessible to logic. It only worksmif you believe. Hence faith. This makes it kindmof a quick-deploy ideology. You don’t have to come up with something logical, convincing, internally free from contradictions. You just throw the book at them, when someone questions the whole setup you can just claim him to be faithless.

        It works to rile up Christians against Muslims. Muslims against other Muslims. Jews against Muslims and their own people. Everyone against everyone else. Without fail. Because everyone wants to have the one and only imaginary friend.

        • The idea that there is a God is very logical. At the very basic level it explains why there is something instead of nothing, as nothing couldn’t have given birth to something.

          That there is a God can be determined by reason alone without deferring to faith. There are many logical steps that one can take in determining that Jesus existed, performed miracles, suffered and died, and rose again, without accepting it on blind faith.

          I don’t think you will endear yourself even to the progressive christians by referring to God as an “imaginary friend.” That’s mocking. And I can tell you from at least my Catholic perspective that we do not necessarily say that other faiths do not worship the same “imaginary friend.”

          • »» The idea that there is a God is very logical. At the very basic level it explains why there is something instead of nothing, as nothing couldn’t have given birth to something.

            Then what came before God? I mean for God to create something, he must be there. Who made God from the nothingness? I have not seen sound reasoning for this infinite regress problem.

            It’s the same with the other side, the scienctific big bang. You have to accept that as the singularity that started off everything. There is nothing logical about either.

            • I have been toying with the idea that God – the singularity. The intense feelings of awe associated with religious experience, sacred sites or this Earth itself would be result of an innate ability to detect and respond some sort of actual field/wave/particle that we do not yet detect by scientific methods. Funnily enough, it also makes sense of why confirmed atheists can also experience these feelings, but attach no religious/spiritual meaning to them and why even the most skeptical can be “overcome by the moment” in certain contexts.

              Now, whether this makes any more sense than any other theory is certainly up for debate and I am in no way saying I believe this to be fact. It’s simply a “what if” that has evolved from trying to reconcile my own very real spiritual experiences with scientific fact.

              We have made great strides in a wide variety of fields but we do damned little to integrate those sciences and how they relate to and affect our human experiences and even less to integrate the sciences, humanities, and religion/philosophy. Thus my own mind tries to fill that void.

    • As a former Atheist, I think you are being disingenuous when you say Atheism isn’t religious based. In fact, Atheism is simply a belief in the lack of a belief, but a belief none the less. A belief in something that is just as difficult to prove at the basis of Christianity or any other religion. Let me ask you which is harder to believe:
      1) That a being helped create the exact environment needed to sustain all of life on this planet. An environment that if off in any of in millions of different variables ceases to sustain life.
      Or
      2) That out of sheer “luck” this environment formed, was sustained and produced the 1 in 10^40 (that is 10 followed by 40 zeros) chance of life.

      I had a science friend of mine explain it to me this way once. The odds of life existing on earth are about the same as the odds that a tornado would go through a junkyard and leave a fully assembled Boeing 747 in its wake. So which requires more “faith” to believe?

      However, your point is relevant that man lets his creation of religion get in the way of everything. You see Jesus is not a safety net, religion is. And the thing that many Christians never understand is that religion and God are not the same thing. That is what creates the behavior you ask about… In the same way that fights and wars have started over the different views of the beauty of a woman, or the sports jersey you wear. As long as man creates an idol out of his version of “the truth” conflict is inevitable because no two men or women will ever agree on perception.

      • How does your theory explain all those useless millions of bits of burning gases and orbiting rock in the rest of the universe then? I mean, if the creator pulled off the Genesis on Earth, whats with all the rest? Did he get lazy? Is this particular rock so special compared to others?

        Even if the chance is 10^40, I haven’t checked, why is it impossible to believe we pulled the lucky straw? There are enough losers visible to the telescopes, so why not?

        On the plus side, I believe we will have to adjust the number soon. We haven’t been looking for planets in the habitable zone for a long time now… But even just starting out we kmow hundreds and discover new candidates daily. One of these days, presumably within the next 20 years I am sure we will find one with an athmosphere that does not consist of sulphur or 100% CO2, but with oxygen. That’s gonna be a sjgn ot life, well at least of photosynthesis, plant or algae metabolism. It is inevitable, IMO, and of course that particular rock will be forever out of our reach. But I refuse to believe that I am special, that our species is or that this planet is.

        • Andy, believing we are created does not make us “special.” It makes our Creator special. Being created does not make this planet “special” either. It makes the Creator special.

          If indeed this is all just happenstance from a mixture of the right rocks , water and gas, then it stands to reason the universe has created more than just the one that we have found so far.

          BUT, and here is the big, important part, even if we find another planet like us (or even better), that just means a Creator did it more than once. It still won’t prove that it was all an accidental bend in the arc of the universe.

          It costs us nothing to believe in God and it soothes in a way science never can. But it might cost greatly not to believe in God and that is a gamble many people on this earth, no matter the particular religion they embrace, will not risk it.

          Oddly enough, once you iron out the minor differences among religions, both sides agree on the basic premise of being a good steward to the planet and people we have.

  11. The problem for JP is that he has his own “truth” that does not necessarily align with “objective truth”and he plays fast and loose with “logic” to make his case.

    How do we reach people who believe the lie that it’s a right to kill an inconvenient fetus?

    • Joe. it’s a teensy bit ironic, that Pastor JP is calling for Truth (but, Im glad he is.) He says on this website, ‘….I welcome you to say what you believe. Knowing that ultimately, the Truth is somewhere in the middle.’

      I know Pastor John is talking about ‘political facts’ here, not the uncertainties of ‘bible doctrine’, but everyone knows we have reached a stalemate in our post-post modern Culture. When you question bible Truth, what difference does it make what you stand on?

      Propositional Truth is uncertain (to Emergents), which leaves them with ‘Spiritual Feelings’ & ‘Social Actions’ as their only reliable substance of Christianity.

      Where is the cross?

      • Hey, aren’t you going to respect my “disguise”? Don’t give me away. I hope you don’t find that handle offensive, btw. There is no intent to insult those of other denominations (unless they are progressive).

        With the progressives, there is no standard for truth regarding morality. They change or edit the Bible to say what they want it to say, so anything goes that feels good, and it’s “hate” to say anything they approve of is wrong.

        But that same “reasoning” seems to carry over into politics, especially since they see their liberal democrat policies as “christiainity.” You don’t like welfare–then you go against Christ because he said we should create massive government programs and redistribute wealth by taxation. That is one “fact” they have codified and to have another idea of taking care of the poor is to go against a fact and their religious dogma. They have a similar litany to excuse their support of unjust abortion rights.

        Anyway, Fox news leans right but it’s not “faux” news and it is less partisan and more fair than CNN by a long shot. CNN is obviously out to get Trump, as is most of the media, including JP’s blog.

        I also see JP “evolving.” It won’t be long before his wrath is not just against Trump and his cabinet of “millionaires and white supremacists,” but against the average people who voted for Trump. His followers already vilify them, but when he does it himself and gives them “permission” it’s going to get even nastier here. He’s gotten to the point where he’s insinuating they are “stupid” but within a few more weeks he will be calling them “evil.”

        This is a very weird obsession for a Christian pastor to have. If he teaches the truth about Christ, everything else will fall in place, but I suppose that’s the real issue. He can’t teach the truth about Christ because he doesn’t know it or understand it.

        • True Church:

          The ‘accuser’ is still going strong. [I think JP has already called Trump voters evil.] There will be no let up, because they have no place to go with their questions & frustrations.

          Jesus Saves.

        • Both progressives AND conservatives alter the truth regarding morality. For example, conservatives take issue with homosexuality even though, throughout many Bible Books and translations, Jesus himself never said a single word about homosexuality. Conservative Christians willingly declare as absolute truth verses of the Bible which support their point of view but ignore verses which condone behaviors now generally accepted as wrong (say, slavery or the ostracization of women during their periods).

          As for the intermingling of religion and politics, it is going to happen. I find your “against welfare” example interesting because, as I understand it, Jesus was very clear about taking care of “the least of these”. However, in lieu of a coordinated effort by Christian churches to support the disadvantaged (where IS that effort, by the way?) and granting that some who need the help will (rightly) not accept church-imposed constraints on their lives, the government must serve as the agent.

          We can discuss whether existing assistance programs could be more effective. We can discuss the hoary conservative belief that “welfare” is a binary choice between a few pennies tossed to a poor person by someone who considers themselves a “real Christian” and an engulfing bureaucracy (why do conservatives never entertain the [likely] existence of a middle ground?). I DON’T think we can discuss how one can call him/herself Christian and be against basic medical care and education and such. The glee coming out of Washington as “the least of these” are stripped of what little protection they get in America, coming from people who wrap themselves in both the Bible and the flag, is disgusting and cannot represent any form of Jesus I recognize.

          • It’s Steve.

            Jesus said:
            –‘Man shall leave his parents and cling to his wife’.
            –‘God created them, Male & Female’
            –‘There is no marriage in Heaven’
            –‘For some are eunuchs bc they were born that way, others were made that way by men, and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept this.’

            Importantly, and instructively, Jesus performed his first miracle and began his Ministry at a Wedding, between a Man & a Woman.

          • Its Steve, do you really think “More Catholic than Catholic” is serious? This guy gave me a really good laugh today. Maybe he should run for Pope himself since he seems to know more about morality than Jesus himself and far more than us lowly mortals.

        • Seriously Joe, do you think you are in “disguise?” Your words prove who you are, regardless of the identity you post under.

          The one true church, and the one in the Bible is Judaism. You may want to set up yours as the only true Gentile church…

          It is a lie (some Christian you are) to say “With the progressives, there is no standard for truth regarding morality.” Just plain “false witness” of Biblical proportion. And for a Catholic to say others “change or edit the Bible to say what they want it to say,” is the soul of irony.

          You clearly do not even know what progressive Christians or political thought is because it is NOT “anything goes that feels good,” not by a mile. It is hard work being either one.

          Where you get the hubris to think you get to “approve” or disapprove of anything or anyone is a big part of the problem. You chose the verses that conveniently seem to exclude what you don’t “approve” of and totally ignore the many, many more verses that inconveniently seem to include those you don’t “approve” of.

          And that same “reasoning” seems to carry over into your politics, especially since we see your conservative, literal, Christian Right policies claim that God only said for us to “individually” help our neighbors and to ignore the suffering in the world or anything we cannot personally handle. Despite the fact that cooperative living and community aid was just as real in Biblical time as it should be now. I mean did God not just hate the good rulers, am I right? I am sure he chastised Joseph for hoarding all that grain…

          God has to cry at the irony of your support for massive government programs of war, spying, bedroom and restroom policing but not for feeding the poor.

          God has to cry at the irony of trillions in redistributing wealth by taxation for the industrial defense complex, border walls, and militarized policing but not for offering comfort to our own suffering.

          What we have “codified” is the notion that God wants us to take care of each other any way we can, not just the way you claim we should.

          I totally get it that the Christian Right only likes parts of the Constitution but our Supreme Court decided in 1973 that the right to an abortion of your own fetus was included in the natural right of privacy, freedom and respect for your person that this nation was built on.

          What I do not get is how you all can continually rail against abortion while simultaneously refusing to support ANYTHING that would lower if not stop almost all of them. Hypocrite much? When the only solution you support is to use the force of law, you are just not living the love of God.

          Fox news is totally right wing spin AND it is also “faux news” because time and time and time again they lie, creatively edit, omit and distort. They are not remotely “less partisan and more fair than CNN” by any objective metric.

          Maybe if CNN and most of the media was “out to get Trump” that should buy you a clue. They live here too.
          They have families too. They are invested in this nation too. Don’t the more millions that did not vote for him and do not support him matter at all?

          As Trump’s reign goes on, yes, you will all be called to account for what you foisted onto this nation. We were vilified, insulted and treated like pariahs for the 8 years of Obama so welcome to the club. Unlike the Hotel California, you can always leave. In fact, speaking of that, you have been asked to do so. And you dare speak of anyone else’s “weird obsession?”

          • Sandi, I think Joe is starting his campaign to be the next Pope. He Covfefe’s the Popemobile. Covfefe is a word, Trump says so.

          • Seriously, Sandi, do you think I think that when I blatantly insert the word “Catholic” into the name and when I post in a similar manner and use similar avatars that I’m in “disguise”? Do you have a sense of humor?

            I will happily take credit for helping to “foist” Trump on our nation, but it’s hard to do that being in such a blue state. The best I can do is express my eternal gratitude to those people in PA, MI, and WI who did their part to keep Hillary out of office.

            Also, I do not have to accept your “pro-life” premise that as many social programs as possible will end abortion and that unless and until we tax and spend and increase government even more, that that justifies 50,000,000 abortions. Laws against abortion will decrease abortions. Humanizing the fetus instead of referring to it a “choice” which can be discarded if inconvenient will decrease abortions. If the Left would find compassion for the unborn and join the Right in denouncing abortion as an injustice, it would decrease abortions dramatically.

            What is “progressive christianity”? If I were to judge by what I read here it means:

            The bible is as malleable as silly putty. There is no authority to interpret it, so it can mean what you want it to mean, so long as “nobody gets hurt.”

            There is no such thing as “sexual morality” except what a couple might agree to. If a couple agrees to be monogamous then that’s THEIR progressive christian morality. If a couple wants to be “swingers” then that’s THEIR progressive christian morality. If two men want to make love to each other, then that’s THEIR progressive christian morality in spite of the words of Paul and 2,000 years of Church teaching.

            If a woman is pregnant, in progressive christianity if she has the baby, that’s HER progressive christian morality. If a couple is fornicating and an inconvenient pregnancy comes along that’s THEIR progressive christian morality to destroy the embryo or fetus so the woman can continue in her profession or studies and so the man can move on to the next babe, and so long as “nobody gets hurt and everybody is loving each other” this would be acceptable in progressive christianity. (If progressive christians can’t get behind laws against abortion, can’t they at least agree to forbid abortion within their own ranks?)

            Also, in progressive christianity, any disagreement with its doctrine is considered to be “hate.”

            There’s more, but that’s all I can think of for now.

            • Seriously, Joe, I have no sense of humor about you. I consider you sick and twisted. Nothing funny or amusing about your antics at all.

              Of course you “will happily take credit for helping to “foist” Trump on our nation,” that shows the extent of your ignorance.

              You “do not have to accept” my “premise” but the truth remains that by not supporting anything more than the force of law against it, YOU ENABLE ABORTIONS every day that dawns. Own it.

              The only thing that “justifies” abortion is the right to privacy and the freedom to control your own body.

              If you can get them passed, laws against abortion will decrease abortions, but so will what I said so why is the force of law your choice when the Supreme Court already ruled on it? You want to control women.

              “Humanizing the fetus ” is not going to change any minds, just lays down a guilt trip (very Catholic of you).

              It is the Left that has compassion for the fetus and the mother, and if the Right would find compassion for the mother, they would seek the alternative to the force of law as well. But what is the fun in not punishing women, the LGBTQ or immigrants?

              Abortion is not “an injustice,” it is a private choice you should have no say in. And until you work for the programs and policies to lower the statistics, you are an enabler of the very thing you hate.

              You have no place to judge anything or anyone unless you are doing ALL you can to change things for the better. And you are not.

              The hundreds of sects and denominations prove the “bible is as malleable as silly putty” not progressive Christians.

              You lie when you claim anyone thinks “There is no authority to interpret it.”

              You lie when you claim we think “There is no such thing as “sexual morality.”

              Progressive Christian morality allows a woman to choose an abortion but it does so with the parameters of supporting every way we can, not to have to make that choice. Your conservative Christian dogma does not. You only want to force control. Twisting what we believe does not fix the cruelty of your position.

              Why “forbid” what you know God will forgive? Does it stop murder? Does it stop stealing? Does it even stop drunk driving? Yours is the religion of confess and forget it…

              You know what “hate” boils down to? Go look in a mirror. Hate is refusing to do anything to fix or make better except what you want done. There’s more, but that’s all I can think of for now.

      • No more ironic than your professed faith with all the answers revealed still being ever present to harangue John’s POV. See I do not find that to be how normal, well nourished, happy in their faith people behave. I find you to be just as searching and lacking as the rest of us, just totally unable to admit it.

  12. The only response I have to this is that numbers don’t add up to the truth — that is evident because Trump was elected :/

  13. Since I posted 3 Christians all arguing. Makes my point. Anyone tell me people who believe in God fight over everything? The sooner you get over your God thing the quicker you will be content and you won’t have a need to beat each other up on a blog. I am just curious as to why it works this way?

  14. I think this is the most difficult bridge to make. We are to be bridge builders and yet we need truth as a bedrock for this bridge. We have lots of people that don’t understand what they are doing to each other.

  15. Thank you JP! I can only imagine what it is like for a 5th grade teacher to conduct a unit in class on the difference between fact and opinion in the U.S. Or, how about a Sunday School class of 5th graders with a similar discussion? My prayer is that truth will prevail in the hearts of Christians. It’s something we ALL have to address.
    In my neck of the woods, public education funding is so bad that this is probably one discussion that will be cut from lessons. Maybe that will solve this dilemma.
    Still giving thanks in all things (but it’s getting more difficult).

  16. “I want to believe all people can be reached, they there can be a place of common understanding in which to begin brokering compromise, even across the most vast of spaces. I wake up every day seeking to so this work, but with far too many of those in my neighborhood, in my family, and on my timeline—it is getting more and more difficult not to conclude that it is a fruitless endeavor. I’m afraid that reaching them may never again be an option—and that the only hope going forward may be to outnumber them.

    This may be the truth that hurts the most.”

    The problem here is that they don’t need to be reached with the “progressive” version of the “truth,” but rather a real “objective truth.”

    He HAS reached us. I totally understand what he’s saying but I’m not buying what he’s selling.

    I know what motivates me and most others like me and it’s not what he says it is. And I know that it’s a perversion of Christianity to say two men can make love to each other without committing a serious offense against God and likewise with terminating a pregnancy. He will never be able to reach me with his “truths” about homosexuality and abortion because they are lies and not truths.

    The pastor needs to get his own house in order about “truth” before he preaches to others about it. At least he needs to make an effort to understand why others might see things differently than he does, and that it’s not because they are evil or ignorant.

    • “The pastor needs to get his own house in order about “truth” before he preaches to others about it. ” As do you Joe, as do you. Here is where some credibility would go a long way, and you have none.

  17. I love this article… I think the issue is less about why people don’t believe truth or facts or science or alternative science. It is more about people don’t know what the words “truth” or “facts” mean anymore. “Truth” and “facts” have been supplanted by “opinion” and “perception”. As an example….
    One of the news networks last week did a very unscientific study live on TV. The sample size was not statistically accurate nor was the demographic, but the result was no less astounding and telling as to what people think “truth” and “fact” mean today.
    A reporter when to a Comey Testimony watch party in a part of the country that voted heavily for Donald Trump in the 2016 election. They found 9 people that were open and clear about their support of Trump. They asked this group to go off and watch the coverage, the only condition was they all had to stay in the location so it was clear they all saw the same coverage.
    The reporter then gathered them all back together and asked them questions about what they saw. There was one series questions that sums up this discussion about “truth”. The reporter first asked how many people thought Comey was lying under oath, and four hands went up. Then asked how many thought Trump was lying and no hands went up. Now follow this because here is where it gets interesting… That mean FIVE out of nine people in that group think neither of them is lying in spite of the fact that they have each called each other liars and that the “truth” each is presenting is counter to the other.
    This is a complete disconnect from an understanding of how exactly truth and untruth works. 1+1=2 is a true statement and if I follow that by saying 1+1= green you cannot accept statement one as true and then also agree that statement two is true.
    Truth and non-truth are mutually exclusive, but we have replaced that corollary with opinion.

    • Thanks for this observation Andy

      This is why I don’t call anyone a liar when they view the facts from their own perception– not everyone can distinguish the meaning of facts the same way.

      The truth is out there but a little out of reach.

      I don’t blame people either because we are indoctrinated from youth. It takes respecting the process people go through to deconstruct their false reality and come to terms with the truth outside their bubble. Often we don’t give people space to process or begin the process instead we make arguments against them or call their point of view a lie. Then they understandably have a knee jerk reactions to what they are presented with.

      In addition some people never have the opportunity to test anything they know and therefore never start down the road of questioning their perceptions.

      I think of many of the conservative christians I know who hold to traditional doctrines and are some of the most loving people I know. It amazes me how God’s grace can work through their lives even though they are biased or stuck in preconceived ideas about science, human nature and other religions.

    • Awesome post Andy. May I summerise?

      There is a belief that someone’s ignorance equals someone’s knowledge, that an expert opinion can and should be overridden by a popular unknowledgeable person’s opinion due to group identity. This is where the disdain for experts and expert informed conclusions happen and the group followers will cling to a charismatic and brash group leader’s uninformed opinions. We have seen this happen on both sides but we are more focused on the ones currently in power doing this.

    • Ahhh this made my day ! This is why I stopped watching 24 hr news networks. Just give me the news and what happened not the ifs or speculations or maybe this or maybe that. So grateful you posted this .

        • Thank You!

          Prayer helps of course, but as things are going, I will have to find more strategies for protection. I got it, their fear trumps over compassion, caring, etc. and when their fear seeps out, it is insane, I mean really psycho crazy.

          • Well said! I would advise people to write down what things they will not do no matter what and post that in their office because eventually you may have to remind yourself. The MSM is slowly rotting our brains and the AltNews is doing a real number on millions of Americans.

            When comedians are better truth tellers than the MSM outlets then we have a real problem.

            • What is your avatar Robin? Is that gay underwear?

              Where can I buy it? I’m open minded enough to appreciate the colors and design.

              • My avatar looks better than yours that have “His Compulsive Lying Orangeness” on it.

          • Robin made an excellent point. In some ways we do need to insulate ourselves from the world outside but not in a fearful way rather to recharge our depleted energy and to rest.

      • I’m glad you liked it Beamer. 🙂 Seriously, we are living in a war zone right here trying to live and survive for so many of us here. It is many things, and I don’t want to write a book about it in here. News is difficult most of the time. I look for other ways, I have a number of people on Facebook who I trust with the news, I still have to check it out anyway, because one of mine changed to the dark side. For local news, we keep telling them to stop with the very loaded headlines to manipulate people, and it does work for them, like a bunch of lemmings.

        The scammers are everywhere, especially against Seniors, including us here too. We have our landline fixed now so we don’t have to hear them as loud, and I have to say, when they stop giving the scammers money, eventually they will go away. I mean really, giving some stranger money for bail for his grandson? Seriously, handing your bank account numbers to them? Stop It!!! Kids, call your parents, often so they hopefully won’t be so lonely that they will talk to the scammers less. Find whatever things are needed to keep them safer. Last month, another scammer tried it again, at least we caught it. Our gas bill, the envelope looked exactly normal, except the address was changed, would hardly notice it, so we did notice it, and remember about 5 years ago, they pulled the same thing with changing the address, so how many others just got scammed? The gas company will still want that money.

        We were enjoying our quiet backyard deck on Memorial day, and we were getting ready to go to a neighbors rhubarb that they offered it to us, we were going to make rhubarb crisp, and that is when we couldn’t go there because we went for 3 hours straight with semi-automatics blasting loudly, yes, perfectly legal for them to do that, it did give us all dreadful headaches with the noises pulsing in our brains. When it stopped, we did find out there were 8 late 20ish men who were doing that. We got the rhubarb, but no rhubarb crisp made that day. One of the guy, his grandparents were not far where they were doing that, one in his mid 90’s, and the other one recently had a heart attack and too old for a bypass, I mean her heart is only working 5%, and they had to go through all that noise also? It affected many others living around the area.

        Well, this is just a small fraction of the war zones I mean. I tell yah though, we need to find whatever will help us to ease us through it.

        • Amen, and I so agree about the scammers, if I don’t know the number I don’t answer, if it is legit they will leave a message otherwise, we don’t worry. Even when they leave a message if there is a number I verify. I’m 75 but I know better and am mystified that others don’t. By the way, I know where my grandsons are and I also recognize their voices. That is the one that truly mystifies me. Peace,

          • Thank you Kathleen! That is what we do also, just quieter now for ignoring them. 😉 We also like the quiet, soothing voice telling us who is calling, before the answering machine picks up. We also check out the ones w/o names since for some reason dr. appt. come up just numbers, so have to wait who really is calling, for sure.

        • Gosh, that’s crazy, seriously it is a war zone! It’s true about seniors. No matter how much we warn our mom about scams she will listen to them and though she won’t say “yes” she can’t hang up the phone. It’s something about the way she was raised, to be polite. So I got her to practice saying “No, thank you” and hang up the receiver immediately. It’s a compromise.

          Wow, I am thinking about that gunfire and it scares me that people have guns like that out there. :/

          • Thanks Beamer, really in many different ways, we seniors are being attacked, from in all directions. Tired of all the years creating beautiful trails on our land, and anytime can happen to make it less safe for even our own property.

            Sorry it took so long to respond, didn’t forget either, though I probably should have been in the hospital the last few days, but try to avoid hospitals since I always end up with more things to create more reasons for insurance who they hope they will never have to pay any preexisting things, and most were “oops” though when in the hospital we have to sign so they won’t get sued, however, they can tell me what the “oops” caused them then. I used a lot of garlic, aspirin, lots of water, and sleep and finally this morning I could see that I was finally able to think again, most pain is gone so on the way to recovery. Don’t forget the praying also, a lot.

            We have people have connected our other trails, w/o permission btw, so we have had someone raping young women w/children coming out from the wooded trails, never caught. Some older two men would rob all around us, daytime, I chased them away, and they are both old and driving an old pink caddy with wings, and they still have never been found. Our house have stray bullets, nearly every one around our neighbors have semi-automatics, except us. We now have people can take pot shots at people, within 1/2 mile from schools, just as long as they are shooting at others from inside their houses, outside their windows. Legal, though whatever the sheriff deputies talked to him, he has never done that again at least. Neighbor putting carrots out for the deer so that he could step outside in his skivies aimed directly towards our backyard and we have grand kids living here. I put canned cat food in his carrot piles before, and eventually he figured out to quit doing that, reason being careful the person belongs to some old Harley gang member. Well, I could go on and on why everything around here is like living in a war zone. One plus for him though, he can’t stand Trump. 😉

          • The differences between my numbness is before I didn’t even realize that I was crying so long and so much wetness from the tears, and each time was a shock to realize that. Now at least when I notice that I feel something on my cheek, and then find out it is a tear, I am finding it out sooner now.

            Some of the worse are the religious batsh*t crazy ones, they lie, cheat, set up people, say things that no one I ever knew would say or do that, yet they do. Oh yeah, I guess they mean “passive aggressive” means that they can do anything they want to hurt or harm others, and consider they are doing this “for god”. One of them traumatized my 6 yo granddaughter a few months ago. Now if she had just told us that “no, we only want scouts that are from our church” we would have been fine with that. Instead telling the little girls about a party, wonderful party, except the “new person” (oh, meant my granddaughter) and all new people at their party will lie, steal, break up and destroy your favorite toys. What kind of sick people would say things like that to little kids like that?, well, that horrible person did that to my granddaughter! It took us some time to help her understand what just happened, and that she lied to her. This is just a milder version of how they work, still as destructive as she tried though, they can say that they are being “sensitive”, watch out, get the heck away from them, immediately!

  18. I like this but it won’t change much because I think people have become lazy. They don’t want to learn, they don’t want to think things thru, it is so much easier to accept what your group is telling you. I don’t see that getting any better either because the education that people are getting now is inferior. We don’t educate people to think for themselves, to look at all issues and make an informed decision. It has become cultish. This is my group and this is how my group thinks. No thinking outside the box, even in news people go to their groups news station, paper, whatever. I have noticed that people seem to take great pride in the fact that by golly they don’t got no education and they are doing fine. Someone a lot smarter than I will have to figure out how to bridge the divide because it makes no sense to me. Why people don’t want to expand their horizons, learn more and verify is mystifying to this old lady. Good post, Thank you, and Peace and Love,

  19. I have an interesting and frightening new post on my blog that dovetails rather perfectly with the main post today on the John Pavlovitz blog. If you would like to read it, please click on the following safe link:

    https://faith17983.wordpress.com/

    Y’all have a happy week—and quit trolling on Gloriamarie—or else I will come back here and smush you.

    • Why is it that when I see the phrase “Bible-believing Christian” I automatically want to tell them that I am a “Sears Catalog believing Christian” to see their response?

      • Robin wrote “Why is it that when I see the phrase “Bible-believing Christian” I automatically want to tell them that I am a “Sears Catalog believing Christian” to see their response?”

        Now that you’ve put the idea into my head, Robin, I may just be naughty enough to say that one of these days.

      • “Why is it that when I see the phrase “Bible-believing Christian” I automatically want to tell them that I am a “Sears Catalog believing Christian” to see their response?”

        Because you don’t like their religious beliefs or their politics and you want to mock them?

        • I’m not mocking all Christians. I’m mocking those Christians that use the bible and traditions as weapons to fuel their prejudices because they are worthy of mocking. In other words, I’m mocking you.

    • Charles, great essay. I’ve posted it (with proper attribution) to my FB group, Gloriamarie’s Progressive Stuff, so it might reach a wider audience.

      I do with there was a way to subscribe to your blog.

  20. Dear John- thanks for putting into words why reality-starved religionists make me want to puke. The TRUTH shall set you free- unless you can’t find it because you’re wearing self-inflicted blinders.

  21. I’ve come to a hard realization as a Christian in this new world. The only way to save the faith is to abandon the Bible. The Bible actually has nothing to do with Christianity… at all. It is the root cause of “believing in nonsense.” If we, as Christians, insist on having the core of faith be obscure writings from thousands of years ago, writings that can be conveniently interpreted to “prove” any level of nonsense, then we will always be lost in the argument.

    Think of a few very simple points:

    * Jesus never read the New Testament. He was vehemently against blind adherence to the old one.
    * Jesus never once said that the Bible was the word of God, or breathed by God, or anything like that. It didn’t exist.
    * The book we know of as the Bible was (probably) assembled around 325 AD… That’s three hundred years after Christ. During that time there were thousands and thousands of good Christians who did not believe in the Bible… it didn’t even exist. They lived as Christians, were even martyred… and did not believe in the Bible.
    * Jesus’s teachings are so simple, so obvious, so easy to understand that people with goodness in their hearts can live the teachings of Jesus simply by examining their own lives.
    * The true value of the Bible is as a historical record which gives us clues to the world of Jesus and early Christians. It has preserved the most basic sayings of Jesus himself. If we use it as a tool to illuminate delusion, rather than a primary focus OF delusion, then we will begin the long hard road of rewriting Christianity into a force of goodness, truth and beauty in our lives and in the world.

    If we, as Christians, want to participate in a world where truth exists, where harmony exists, where delusion is exposed, then we need to get rid of the root of our own delusion.

    • Dear Connie D:

      Christians cannot abandon their Bibles. But it is critical [in my mind] that Christians not begin with the Bible; they should begin with God. The difference matters greatly.

      When you begin with the Bible, the great question is, ‘what does it say.’ This leads to endless textquoting and very little Biblical perspective [other than claims that ‘Biblical quotes ARE Biblical perspective].

      When one begins with God, the great question becomes, ‘who is God.’ That is followed by ‘what is God like’ and ‘how can I know God.’ Here the emphasis is not on prooftexting but on relationship and meaning.

      Christians still go to the Bible for their answers. But because the questions change, so does the entire ethos. And the result is something that lives and breathes. There is openness to the Spirit’s guidance and to the role of discernment within the community of believers.

      Blessings!

      • Well, one needs to be careful about which ‘god’ one is channeling.

        I’ve channeled other gods before, and I never want to do that again. That is why I only read the bible. That’s the GOD I’m looking for. The GOD of the Bible. The GOD of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob.

        • Dear leslie m.:

          I believe I said that Christians go to the Bible for their answers. And I don’t recall implying ambiguity about what God in whom I believe. On the other hand, I don’t recall saying anything about channeling.

          I love and read my Bible; but if I never read anything else, I think I’d be severely intellectually impoverished. I may not be far from that now, but I’m not going to make matters worse by reading only the Bible.

          Blessings!

          • GDD… i mostly was responding to Connie. Who wants to find God… but has thrown out the bible. So this made me think, that she might want to be more careful about what god she calls on.

        • So leslie m, you believe your posts here show you are “channeling” God correctly? That is some kind of hubris you got going on…

          • Thank you. Once again glorying in their ignorance. Only read the Bible, there is so much more out there, and it always makes me wonder what they are afraid of. Knowledge is power and my faith is strong enough to read, hear other views. Anyway, Peace and Love,

    • Connie D– I think there are two core problems facing the Christian Church today.

      First is it’s relationship to Scripture. When the KJV Bible is looked upon as the inerrant and literal “Perfect Word of God” and “Absolute Truth” is to be found in a literal reading of those words, then one is forced to deny scientific evidence. It also becomes their idol. They cease to worship God and worship the narrow image of God created in their minds by their faith leaders. (Which is what Joe Catholic is fond of accusing John of doing, btw.) I am convinced God is far too vast for me to comprehend more than one iota of that Ultimate Reality that is God.

      Second, we need to understand why God had Jesus minister for 3 years before Calvary. If the cross is all that was needed to redeem us, then all the ministry and teachings wouldn’t have been necessary. Christ is the final Sacrificial Lamb so just get him to the age of 12 (His Bar Mitzvah), then to the cross and that’s the end of it… except it wasn’t. Christ isn’t just “The Answer” to sin, He’s “The Example” God sent to us of how to live the way God intended. We will ever fall short, but it is in the living that our faith is proved or disproved. Do we grow up and follow His example or do we constantly run to Him like frightened children
      expecting Him to save us and protect us from the normal everyday perils of living?

  22. We Can Be Pro-Jesus and Pro-America

    COMMENTARY
    By Kaitlin Curtice 6-12-2017

    A few days ago, my family stopped to eat in a small town in Alabama before we arrived home from vacation. It was a lot like the towns I grew up in in southern Oklahoma, and a few minutes after we began to eat, the church crowd rushed in. I noticed that we began to stand out a little more, that it was clear we were traveling through. I began to notice my own body with my medicine bags hanging around my neck, and I could feel the tension rising. A few minutes later, a woman standing behind us began sharing about her recent trip to the “third world country” of Tanzania. There were many layers to these comments, but the attitude felt unfortunately familiar.

    We began to watch the restaurant fill up more and more, and I felt the distinction between the church as we want to see it and the church as it is. When we left, we returned to the car and I remembered that we had an LGBTQ equality sticker in the front seat that we’d forgotten to put on our car months ago. So I slowly peeled the sticker off and put it on the back windshield, right next to another one that says, “And also with y’all,” a southern version of the “Peace be with you” blessing.

    I thought about how my faith used to be and what it looks like now as I embrace my life as a Native American Christian. I can’t say that I loved Jesus less when I was younger, but I can say that my view of the world, of the diversity of Christianity, and of the bigness of God, have changed.

    In many conversations I’ve had with my friends who are people of color, it’s clear the church has set itself up in America to mostly benefit a certain kind of person. The white American church is a Western version of the gospel that often manifests as a top-down model that benefits the wealthy. And the more that I learn about my own Native American identity tied to the church, the more I see that truth throughout our nation’s history.

    Still, I am pro-Jesus and I am pro-America.

    I long for this country to face the truth of its origins, to lament those truths, to make a way forward, especially in the church, for people of color to have a voice and a mark on the way churches are operated, on the way the gospel is viewed through a cultural lens.

    Being pro-Jesus does not mean we have to be anti-America, but it does mean we have to address the things in American culture that warp the truth of who Jesus is. If claiming Jesus means holding up our cross in one hand and the American flag — or the confederate flag — in the other, we are not living the gospel.

    I am against the version of white American Christianity we’ve created that discriminates against the poor, people with disabilities, and people of color, one that abuses the earth and elevates consumerism and corporations, and that upholds patriarchy in place of giving a voice to its women.

    If we ignore the injustices done in the name of God in the history of America — slavery of Africans and genocide of native people, for example — we have lost a piece of the true church, the piece that calls for us to be honest and to reconcile ourselves back to the wholeness of God, a wholeness that accepts and calls all people worthy of the love of Christ. So I am for a version of America that laments these things, that finds a way forward in welcoming the outsiders and making it a priority to give women and people of color a voice.

    I am for an American church that follows the ways of Jesus outside the norms of a constantly busy consumer culture based on convenience.

    I am for an American church that sees the world as the imprint of God and not solely a large mission field.

    If there is anything the world needs to see of us today, it is that we are making right what we’ve made wrong, and the only way to do that is to begin again with Jesus, with the ways of true forgiveness and repentance.

    I am pro-Jesus and pro-America because I believe that what lies in our “greatness” is not that we are great, but that there is a long vision God holds for the world to be a benevolent and holy place. That kind of greatness is not based on power or control. It is not based on abuse of those who are lower or other. It is based on the love of Christ, on sacrifice based off of that love.

    So, in following Jesus of Nazareth, we step outside of who we’ve become and we find who we are called to be — in the life of a man who spent every day with the ones the world thought would destroy its greatness.

    The truth of Jesus is what we follow — a future America based on shalom and grace.

    That is the America I am for, the America we are working toward every day.

    Kaitlin Curtice
    Kaitlin Curtice is a Native American Christian writer and worship leader living in Atlanta. She is an author with Paraclete Press and a blogger at http://www.kaitlincurtice.com, and writes on the intersection of culture and spirituality.

    https://sojo.net/articles/we-can-be-pro-jesus-and-pro-america

  23. Connie D.

    I don’t think I have read such foolishness ever concerning the Bible. If you reject the authority of the Holy Scripture, then please tell me what objective source of Truth do you make the claim to be a Christian? How do you understand the things of God if you reject the Scripture?

    How does one understand theology, doctrine, and the mind of Christ if you reject the authority of the Holy Scripture? Your logic is weak and sorely lacking.

    • What one needs do to “understand theology, doctrine, and the mind of Christ” is to realize the Bible is not an idol. If you let the Bible become your “golden calf” you are not doing it right. The ancient stories, recollections and testimony were edited into being this Bible, and we need to always remember that but most especially if we are using the Bible as a weapon against any group of people.

      God will likely forgive mistakes made in love, but I do not read it as going easy on mistakes made in anger, hate or self-righteousness.

      It is a big gamble to do so IMO. I see it as a map, not an idol and I proceed accordingly.

      • It says in the bible, God forgives any sin that you repent of.

        If He only forgave ‘mistakes’ made in love, that would not line up with what he says in his bible.

        Well, I know we disagree on what value the bible has. I think it has all authority. (not the paper its printed on, but the Truth in it.)

      • Sandi, who said anything about the Bible being an “idol?”. In fact, that word hasn’t come up. That’s your very poor excuse and logic for rejection the authority of the Holy Scripture in the life of a Believer.

        I stand by my previous position. The Bible is the objective source of Truth that the Holy Spirit has given to us in order that we might know God, His Son Jesus Christ, and His Divine purpose for our lives.

        In the Scripture, we learn such powerful theological truths and doctrine like the following:

        The Doctrine of Salvation, which includes: Justification by Faith, Sanctification, Imputation, Expiration, Divine Substitution, Regeneration. Paul teaches all of that in the book of Romans.

        There’s the Priesthood of Christ, the Priesthood of all Believers, the Advocacy of Christ, Christ as our Mediator. We find these teachings from the Book of Hebrew and First epistle of John.

        Then there is pnuematology (study of the Holy Spirit), Ecclesiology (the study of the Church), the study of Eschatology (the study of Prophecy). These studies are found in the prophectic books of Daniel and Revelation, the book of Romans and more.

        If we reject the authority of the Holy Scripture, how can we understand these truths? If the Bible isn’t important, we have no legitimate basis with which to make our claims of being a Christian, and the Bible is the only objective source of Truth that teaches us the nature of the plan of salvation.

        • Tony. i agree w you. However, Progressives /Emergents, believe that the Church is an obstacle to faith.

          [They think that the World is radically changing, and that the Church must also radically change. –That is the task they have set for themselves. ]

          Emergent Leader, Brian McLaren teaches that, ‘Scripture is neither authoritative nor a foundation for faith.’

          What’s curious, is the genuine rush they get from saying ‘Good-bye Bible’. Oddly, they seem proud of it.

          • leslie m, once again you are bearing false witness. Progressives do not “believe that the Church is an obstacle to faith.”

            Nor do we think that “the Church must also radically change.” But the Church MUST learn to be “radically” honest and “radically” loving. And in the end, is that not what the Scripture tells you too?

            I do not know this “Emergent Church” you keep whining about, nor what their leaders teach. But you are not talking to “Brian McLaren” here.

            You have NOT heard any follower of Christ say or imply that they get any “genuine rush…from saying ‘Good-bye Bible’,” You are literally bearing false witness against most of us here. Oddly, you seem proud of it.

            • My loudest AMEN. I have to admit Leslie M really tries my faith that says I need to love everyone. I am so trying but she keeps saying things about those of us who do not see things through her lens that is plain garbage. None of us have said any of that, but boy she is an “authority”. I do think there are places in that book she keeps hitting us over the head with, that might take issue with the way she behaves. Just saying.

            • To leslie: If a church has to “radically change” to simply follow Jesus’ acts and words then there is something radically wrong with that church.

        • Tony, when you start with “if you reject the authority of the Holy Scripture…” there is no way not to see that you worship it as an idol. It is not, it is not meant to be.

          The “very poor excuse” for logic is to claim that pondering, questioning or not accepting someone’s interpretation of the Bible is, in any way, a rejection of God.

          The authority of the Holy Scripture in the life of a follower of Christ is in our faith in God as we read the road map of the Bible, not in idolizing the Bible as infallible, inerrant, or complete.

          Stand anywhere you like, the facts prove when the Bible we have was compiled, edited, translated and offered. That same set of facts has proven that there were things lost, things left out, things not known. To call the Bible “the objective source of Truth,” as if there can be no other, is idolatry as I understand that word.

          I did not, and would not, say there is not much to be learned and love in the Scripture, I merely caution that we should nor make it more than it was meant to be. Unlike some, there is no story of the Bible being handed to anyone on golden tablets. We have to trust in God and not weaponize what is very logically and likely not complete.

          Nothing I said implied “the Bible isn’t important,” it just cannot be God, it cannot be an idol. It is man-made and we have to accept that.

          The Bible is not objective truth. It is very specific and subjective truth as offered. That might mean that it is fully God’s truth revealed and it might mean they or we have misinterpreted or misunderstood it. The only “legitimate basis with which to make our claims of being a Christian” is not to use the Bible as a weapon or an idol as we worship God.

          You sir, and all others, are free to believe as you see fit. But the objective truth is that we might all be wrong.

          • Sandi, you are as silly and fake as they come! Your response has nothing to do with what I wrote. Your weak strawman argument is as old as Time.

            I said nothing about the Bible being idolized, and just because someone believes in the inerrancy and infallibility of the Scripture, that doesn’t mean they’re idolizing it.

            So, stop running like a coward,and answer my question, if you reject the authority of the Holy Scripture, from where do you get your authority to say you’re a Christian?

            How do you understand the Biblical truths I listed if you reject the authority of the Holy Scripture?

            This time, please answer the questions!

            • Inerrancy and infallibility of scripture, especially as translated into the KJV, IS idolizing the Bible, in my opinion. It is clear that Jesus refers to stories well known in the Jewish community and was considered scripture that are not in the Bible today.

              If you rank Leviticus and Paul at the same level as what Jesus did and said, that is not Chrisitianity by definition. Christianity is Christ centered, meaning Christ come first. When in doubt refer back to what Jesus said and did each and every time. We “progressives Christians” are, in reality, reactionaries. We are reacting to the “Johnny come lately” theologies. We are trying to push Christianity back to the early church and adding our 21st Century understanding of the world with it.

              If you talk to me or “the man with many aliases” here there is one thing we both agree on. “Old time religion”, in our eyes, is not the KJV bible, or the late 19th Century neo-Calvinist version of Revival Prohibitionist Protestant Christianity, and it is certainly not the “Prosperity Gospel”. To us these are heresies. Our view of “old time” is the Council of Nicea, the early Popes, the beginnings of the Church of Rome, the Vulgate and Septuagint Bibles written in the Greek and Roman cultures, which are radically different than ours.

              • Well said Robin, and not only that, to claim “inerrancy and infallibility of scripture” as you interpret it, is idolatry.

              • Robin wrote “If you talk to me or “the man with many aliases” here there is one thing we both agree on. “Old time religion”, in our eyes, is not the KJV bible, or the late 19th Century neo-Calvinist version of Revival Prohibitionist Protestant Christianity, and it is certainly not the “Prosperity Gospel”. To us these are heresies. Our view of “old time” is the Council of Nicea, the early Popes, the beginnings of the Church of Rome, the Vulgate and Septuagint Bibles written in the Greek and Roman cultures, which are radically different than ours.”

                I almost 100% agree with you, Robin. I am of the opinion that for the most part, the Early Church is all we need, which does not include “the beginnings of the Church of Rome, ” because the Church of Rome did not start until 1054 CE before that there was just the catholic church. In 1054 CE there was the split between East/West and the establishiment of the Roman Catholic Church nd Eastern Orthodoxy as separate churches. I prefer the theology that predates that time period.

                I would also exclude the Vulgate because when Jerome translated it, he did so in a manner very prejudicial to women.

                Other than these quibbles, I agree with you.

            • Tony, I have answered that question with every post. I guess you lack the spiritual maturity and discernment to see it though. I get my “authority to say” I’m a Christian by being a follower of Christ. The Bible is and will always be supplemental to that.

              Let me dumb this down for you: I never said that I did not understand Biblical truth nor have I ever said I “reject the authority of the Holy Scripture.” You assume that because you think anyone who dares not agree with your pronouncement is some heathen. You are wrong.

              I said, and I am hardly the first, that to still insist the Bible is both “inerrant” and “infallible” when you KNOW church leaders (men) translated, edited, and produced it for their purposes, is to idolize the words they chose over what just might be a different truth if we had benefit of ALL God will reveal. Go study some history, I dare you.

              I did not say you went all tribal and danced around the Bible anointing yourself, but you clearly prove you worship it and that is idolatry same as if it was a golden calf. Own it. Insulting me won’t change you. It reveals you, but it won’t change you.

  24. America, the Bully: We Grew Up This Way

    By Kaitlin Curtice 1-04-2017

    My 5-year-old son sent a letter to Donald Trump a few months ago in which he referred to him as a bully, because he watches the way this man speaks of and to others. If my 5-year-old can catch the palpable tension in the United States today, we must have a lot of questions to ask of our nation’s values. I am not a political scientist, nor do I pretend to be, but I love culture and the way people come together to create the historical rituals of a nation, and it’s important to notice how those rituals carry on generation after generation.

    But the truth about the United States is that we grew up a bully from the very beginning, and the recent decision to put Trump in the leader’s seat has certainly made that more apparent.

    Alongside his rise, oppressed minority groups continue to make their voices heard, such as the water protectors of Standing Rock and the Black Lives Matter movement.

    I am a Native American woman of Potawatomi and Cherokee ancestry, and I am also a Christian. As a worship leader, I stand in the tension that lies between Native American spirituality and the church, an over-arching rejection of Indigenous beliefs and any attempt for those beliefs to have a place in Western worship.

    Over the past months, along with the elections and the events at Standing Rock, the reality of my Native American ancestors’ suffering at the hands of the leaders, not only of this country, but the Christian faith, has become appallingly more clear. We owe a great deal of thanks to the water protectors at Standing Rock and others like them for reminding the world that, while Trump is a new challenge, this nation has always bullied those that they thought shouldn’t belong.

    While school violence and the fight against bullying is an absolute horror today, we mustn’t forget what it was like in Native American boarding schools across the country where Native American children had their native languages and cultures beaten out of them for the “greater good” and the sake of conversion to Christianity. The motion to make America great again has been this nation’s cry every few generations, as the privileged have felt threatened by someone who didn’t fit the American model of perfect individualism or western Christian faith.

    If we really want something to shift under the reign of Donald Trump, we need to realize that he is not the first bully to head the gang; the very DNA of this land that was “made for you and me” was made at the expense of my ancestors so men like Trump could rise to the top and trample those who seemed to be in their way.

    If we are going to create a better America for our children, one in which we are truly followers of morality and peace, then let’s begin at the beginning.

    Cornel West, when speaking at Standing Rock, called America’s original sin the “mistreatment and dispossession” of Native American peoples. So to root out that original sin and give back to native peoples a place of honor at the table, America must first acknowledge the sin, which is going to mean a breakdown of the very core of Western privilege.

    There’s an ancient Indigenous story about the Iroquois and the great Tree of Peace, under which the five nations buried all their weapons of war to begin a new world of harmony and justice together, to reject the forces of danger that threatened all tribes and peoples.

    It is not possible to go back to the beginning, nor is it possible to root out a bully’s actions and attitudes of the past.

    But there is a de-colonization that must take place in our everyday languages and actions, in our churches and faith places, and in our government. The events at Standing Rock in the wake of this election have shown us this, and we cannot forget.

    We do not forget the Thanksgiving table, the Trail of Tears, the Trail of Death, Wounded Knee, pipeline spills, Mount Rushmore, the digging up of sacred burial sites, the building of the railroad over native lands, and the extreme poverty and depression faced by native peoples.

    And those historic moments have made room for more and more bullying, for the oppression of more and more minorities and peoples of color, for Western culture to say that this is the way a civilization becomes great.

    The work we have to do will take longer than Trumps’ election cycle, but it must begin now, in our homes around the dinner table, and in our churches at the pulpit.

    nd there, in those honest spaces, the Great Peace buries weapons of war, and slowly but surely, the bully loses his power and his oppressive and violent voice.

    One of the most powerful things that a bully can do is apologize for what’s been done and transform into a new creation, which, of course, is what the Christian faith is all about for as long as we’ve been taught.

    So it must be time for the church and the culture of oppression that is the American way to find a place in which to apologize and restore an honoring relationship with the oppressed who first walked this land, and put the culture of bullying behind us for good.

    Kaitlin Curtice
    Kaitlin Curtice is a Native American Christian writer and worship leader living in Atlanta. She is an author with Paraclete Press and a blogger at http://www.kaitlincurtice.com, and writes on the intersection of culture and spirituality.

    https://sojo.net/articles/america-bully-we-grew-way

  25. Matthew 25 Movement

    I pledge to protect and defend vulnerable people in the name of Jesus.

    In America right now, too many people are feeling very afraid because of the new political realities in Washington, D.C., both because of the political rhetoric of this election campaign and how they were targeted as groups of people. In response, the message of Matthew 25 is rising up at the grassroots level and among faith leaders — within faith communities, congregations, denominations, seminaries, and faith-based organizations. It’s the Gospel text where Jesus says: How you treat the most vulnerable is how you treat me.

    People are feeling a need to act. Matthew 25 can lead us in what to do. And so we’ve created the Matthew 25 Pledge — just one sentence which simply says: I pledge to protect and defend vulnerable people in the name of Jesus. Clearly, many people in America are feeling quite vulnerable right now, but the Matthew 25 Movement — a broad collection of national faith-based groups, grassroots activists, heads of denominations and more — is focusing on three groups of people who are especially at risk under a Trump administration. So here we offer our starting point, pledging to:

    Support undocumented immigrants threatened with mass deportation; and advocate on behalf of refugees who are being banned from coming to America.

    Stand with African Americans and other people of color threatened by racial policing.

    In line with our commitment to religious liberty we will defend the lives and religious liberty of Muslims, threatened with “banning,” monitoring, and even registration.

    This is the beginning. This is where to start now. But if and when other groups of people are targeted by government decisions or by hateful cultural responses, we who sign the Matthew 25 Pledge will also seek to surround and protect them. Rather than just watching, grieving, and feeling sorry for what is happening to the most marginalized, who are named in the 25th chapter of Matthew, we can pledge to join together in circles of support in the name of Jesus.

    https://sojo.net/matthew-25-pledge

    • Dear Gloriamarie Amalfitano:

      Agreed. But do you know — because it would stand by the stranger, the sick, the homeless, those in prison — any significant Matthew 25 movement would be regarded as politically subversive. After a mass media campaign vilified/discredited its leaders, the state would act directly to suppress such a movement. And many apologists of the 1%/other-9% nation would support the repression of the Mt 25ers.

      Blessings!

      • gdd, so… what’s your point? That it would be civil disobedience? Big deal, the USA was founded on a huge act of civil disobedience.

        • Dear Gloriamarie Amalfitano:

          Believers will learn that fidelity to Christ indeed bears a price. But that is a good thing. Moving in this direction, we will remember who we are and to whom we belong. We may be shunned/expelled by the state, but our God will keep us and raise us to unending life on the last day.

          Blessings!

  26. I wanted to pick up on John’s experience with a person who dismissed mainstream news articles as fake news.

    What news outlets are fake news? Is it the New York Times? The Washington Post? The Wall Street Journal? MSNBC? CNN? ABC? CBS? The BBC? NPR?

    I wonder if people who dismiss all of these sources as fake (at least with regard to stories on the Trump administration) don’t have a tiny bit of dissonance. Or, do they buy the mainstream-media-is-left-wing- and-hates-Trump narrative without question.

    If it’s the latter, I wonder when you start to approach a cult-like mindset, with unquestioning faith in the cult leader, and dismissal of any evidence contrary to this leader’s views.

    • Dear Friendly guy:

      Personally, I suspect they are all purveyors of false news at times. I also suspect that all of them stray into truth at times. I’m not sure where this leaves me, but there it is.

      Blessings!

    • Friendly guy, IMHO, some passed “when you start to approach a cult-like mindset, with unquestioning faith in the cult leader, and dismissal of any evidence contrary to this leader’s views” a long time ago.

      Hence the cognitive issues we see.

  27. But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
    Romans 14:10
    Like all to know , It is NOT my Job to make you see Truth, It is MY job to Tell Truth.
    NOT my Job to force christianity down your throat
    It is MY Job to Rebuke, exort, Tell How, Why, What the Truth is.
    God is HOly and If you dont see , It is up to you to ask WHY ,
    Why do YOU hate Christians,
    Why do YOU hate Godlyness,
    Why do you Hate Holyness
    Why dont you see Truth
    Examine Your hearts daily to see if you are in the faith, to see if you really know Christ, and Really Believe.
    YOU have to ask , Not up to me to Judge YOU , But it is up to me to speak the truth, tell the truth, lead you to the Bible
    Evidence that demands a Verdict.
    YOU will face God for your self
    NO one to blame
    No one to speak against
    No others to take up the slack for your actions, thought s , decisions, views on life.
    Cry out to God,
    Ask for forgiveness,
    Ask him to open your eyes so you can see truth

    • Dear christopher freeman:

      Oh good grief!

      Have you ever considered that …

      YOU hate Christians,
      YOU hate Godlyness,
      you Hate Holyness

      or that …

      [you] dont you … Truth?

      You hand out this stuff like candy with no idea who the people here are in real time. Has it honestly never occurred to you that others have as much right to question the integrity of YOUR faith commitments as you have to question theirs?

      Blessings!

  28. There is a difference between facts and opinions on what the facts mean. Bias means opinion, and there is nothing wrong with that, as long as it’s out in the open.

    For example, if you’re following the voting record of a certain congressman, you should be able to quote the register and say he or she voted for this or that …and it will be fact. Whether or not you AGREE with that vote is where bias comes in. And that’s where debate comes in. You don’t debate whether or not that vote took place, what you do is debate whether or not the vote was good or bad.

    See, what’s blurry these days is what the facts actually are. Somebody says this or that is a fact, but doesn’t cite where that information came from, is adding to this mess. And social media is extremely guilty of this kind of thing, and yes, it happens on both the liberal and conservative side of things. This is where we’re losing our way, I’m afraid.

    • Jan Foley wrote “See, what’s blurry these days is what the facts actually are. Somebody says this or that is a fact, but doesn’t cite where that information came from, is adding to this mess. And social media is extremely guilty of this kind of thing, and yes, it happens on both the liberal and conservative side of things. This is where we’re losing our way, I’m afraid.”

      Which is one of the reasons I cite a lot of sources. Of course, these are ignored by people who don’t choose to have evidence and facts contradict their opinion.

      The sad fact is that there are people who believe that their opinion is just as worthy as evidence and facts, not matter how much the evidence and facts proves the opinion is baseless.

      For instance, let’s look at some of the opinions white people have held against POC which have no basis in evidence, facts, and history.

  29. Pingback: The Platform is a 4-Letter Word - JaxPolitix - Disambiguations for the political and social musings of Jack Altschuler

  30. I’ve been saying for at least a year that the only way to end stupid people is for them to die out over the coming years. And this reality isn’t sad, it’s promising.

  31. Pingback: The Platform is a 4-Letter Word – Part 2 - JaxPolitix - Disambiguations for the political and social musings of Jack Altschuler

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