Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Identity Gradient

I asked the question earlier about identities and if the modern Christian was more or less dysfunctional because someone slipped in one of these non-dynamic artificial entities on the right as much as they did on the left. Well, once you start noticing, you start noticing.
Ever look at the discussion with regards to evolution and the bible. A lot of people don't actually have a problem with both. Then there are the folks who must believe one to the exclusion of the other, and if you look really closely, they often don't listen to either. Due to the long period of time it takes for human children to become adults, real evolutionary advice on how to pair up and have children seems remarkably similar to judeo-christian mores.
Similarly, I have long held the belief that the gay marriage debate has nothing to do with marriage and everything to do with granting lawyers in the divorce industry a chance to raid the coffers of homosexuals. Neither the identity driven Christian nor the identity driven homosexual seems to get that one. You'd think there would be more married people clamoring for the freedoms gay people have, not the other way round.

I see it too with evangelism, especially among upper middle class people who don't actually do any evangelism. This is part of their identity, and not something they've really had to deal with in their lives, so the bulk of their actions is talking about it, usually using something that passes for a teaching, but is really so vague as to be pointless, or a specific action- like laying hands on someone and praying for them.
Most of these guys don't even graduate into the realization that their plans don't work, for reality is a train wreck and they assume, whenever the train wreck occurs, that it is really their fault for not stepping up and doing whatever it was they were told they should do. Meanwhile, the train wrecks just happen. Sometimes something good comes out of it, sometimes not.

So in practice, it is keep to the party line, and keep away from the train wrecks, which is usually achieved by earnestly talking, but never doing. If you've done enough to be able to point out errors in the plan, you may be ostracized. An alternative- often used by Jehovah witnesses- seems to be send multiple people out and make sure they do things in groups of at least two. Certainly tends to improve moral, but it is not clear if it improves anything else. Reality is less likely to slaughter your assumptions if someone else is there to back your assumptions up, but perhaps your assumptions are the demons needing to be excised.

Oddly enough, I think the closest thing to a solution is to try to be somewhat visible and let people who are looking find you. This is because people who are seeking God are, in an inadvertent fashion, leaving behind an old identity. Maybe they are happy just putting on the new one down the road a little, but for a little while, at least, they are dynamic. They are moving from one state to another because something about their former state made them uneasy.

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