Sacrifices & Scapegoats
I’ve heard a lot in recent weeks about how the country is so divided now, how the “left” or the “right” have been so “divisive,” or how the media is so “divisive.” It’s a great talking point. I mean, it’s wonderful to be able to pin the blame of all the current social woes on this or that group – this or that person. It makes for good theater—the man in the white hat vs. the black hat. People like to pick sides, to be on the winning team. It’s actually biblical. In the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament, we first learn about the command to take twin goats – one to be sacrificed and the other to take on all of the people’s sins and then cast out into the desert as punishment. It feels good to be absolved of our own sins by placing them on another, especially one we no longer need to look at or be around.
Only – in this case – it’s not true.
We’re not divided – we’re hi-lited.
No More Than Normal
People aren’t more divided now than they were four years ago. People are no more divided than they were 40 years ago. In fact, people are no more divided than they were 400 years ago.
The reality is – people have always been divided. They are divided by wealth, class, religion, gender, race, ethnicity, health, or politics. There are countless ways to divide people, and even in mostly homogenous societies concerning ethnicity, race, and religion – there are divides. People in America are no more racist in 2020 than in 2016 – they simply feel more comfortable expressing it in the open. Politicians care no less for people in 2020 than they did in 2016 – they just don’t hide it anymore.
The Ostrich and the Owl
The animal kingdom is full of lessons. There are food chains and life cycles. There are predators and prey. And there is variety even among species. Birds, for instance, differ wildly. The ostrich doesn’t fly but can and does run from danger. And while they do not actually bury their heads in the sand when afraid – they have become synonymous with ignoring reality while still being affected by it. On the other hand, owls are thought of as being ever alert, aware, and watchful. This stands to reason because they are predators. Creatures in the animal kingdom do not attempt to hide what they are – they simply work to survive.
Humans, however, are different. We are very adept at pretending to be something we are not. We use different language and vocabulary in different situations. We wear different clothing for different types of engagement. Depending on the environment – people even change, hide, or mask their true feelings in order to fit in, keep their jobs, or avoid ruffling feathers. This in no way changes who they are – it simply makes it more difficult to discern their true feelings and intentions.
Just An Orange Hi-Liter
A combination of factors has created an environment in America where people feel more comfortable expressing who they really are and what they actually believe. Sure there are the social media echo chambers which parrot back more and more single-minded rhetoric, but that’s just the point – they are echo chambers. If you do not scream into it – nothing comes back. Like every church and lunchroom across America – people gravitate towards like-minded individuals. You go there because they are like you. So no – I don’t think we are more divided as a country – the divides were always there. People most affected by these divides are not surprised by them.
The president didn’t divide us; he was just an orange hi-liter.
A House Divided Needs A Contractor
There are plenty of verses in the bible about what happens when there is division in a community.
But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. Luke 11:17
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. Mark 3:24-26