Regardless of where you stand on the political or social spectrum, one observation seems absolutely clear, something is not right here.
Moral divisions in this country are growing instead of mending. We are not taking the time to listen to one another. Instead, we have dug our respective foxholes and are merely seeking to improve our own fighting positions. All the while, we fail to recognize that we are attempting to dig in the same plot of dirt.
In his book, “How the Nations Rage: Rethinking Faith and Politics in a Divided Age,” Jonathan Leeman proposes that the common ground we share is a thirst for justice. Believer or unbeliever, Democrat or Republican, city slicker or corn picker, we all desire justice.
It is interesting to note that in our post-truth age there is still a quest for some type of moral “oughtness.”
Alhough our nation has come up with many different positions on what justice actually looks like, the fact that we are all seeking justice provides us with a common frame of reference that we can use to move forward.
Perhaps you have experienced the issue of division in your more intimate relationships. Allow me to propose a statement to dwell on: “The search for understanding is always more valuable than the quest to be understood.”
Approach the divisions you face in your intimate relationships with intellectual integrity. Be willing to find a common frame of reference and examine what you believe with the goal of understanding.
This means being willing to relocate your foxhole. How can you do this? Through two refusals.
First, refuse to believe in a vacuum. Intellectual integrity demands that your beliefs are formed with facts and reason. Take as an example the belief that all governmental institutions should have a welfare program. That statement on its own is “belief in a vacuum.” However, when examined by various worldviews, informed by research and sharpened by opposing perspectives, that belief becomes more concretely grounded in its historical, cultural and ideological context.
Secondarily, refuse the refusal of any belief at all. The refusal to claim any grounding beliefs renders a person as chaff in the wind. While at first it may seem like a great way to be accepted by everyone, time will reveal the utter lack of loyalty to any given idea. True intellectual integrity does not approach life in a blase and apathetic manner, rather it allows for the probing examination and acknowledgement of one’s presuppositions for the dual purpose of both shaping and being shaped by the surrounding society.
Approach your divisions with this mindset. Challenge yourself to grow through honest self-reflection. And remember that “the search for understanding is always more valuable than the quest to be understood.”