Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Ostrich Syndrome

The incredible revelations surfacing in the upcoming New Zealand elections have, for me anyway, highlighted a part of human nature that is pretty universal - our propensity to bury our head in the sand when confronted by something that is potentially dangerous.

In the case of the elections, the accusations being made about the Prime Minister and his party are overwhelming, and the world is watching, waiting for him to cave in. But meanwhile, the party faithful not only refuse to believe the evidence, but actively deny the possibility of any wrong doing. Their leader and his political party would not just be unwilling to commit such things, but would be incapable because they are so honorable.

You constantly hear comments like "John Key is such a lovely man", "he has such a lovely manner and smile", "he's a good family man" etc.

People are afraid to admit they could be wrong. They can't admit they voted for someone who could do that. They aren't prepared to face the implications of the issues. The status quo is more important than having to live with the mess that will ensue. Its better to hang in there with the devil we know and just bury our heads in the sand, in the hope it will all blow over and everything will carry on as it was.

Christendom is exactly the same - only on a much larger scale.

We do the same with our beliefs. Its impossible that we have made a mistake. It's completely inconceivable that our treasured belief system, that has been established over nearly 2000 years, could even vaguely be off course, let alone off the tracks completely.

So we bury our heads in the sand when confronted by new evidence. We refuse to believe that anything outside the traditional christian paradigm has any validity. We claim that our spirits know that anything outside that paradigm is a lie from the devil. Our faith system is so firmly stitched up that those who even entertain the possibility of alternatives are branded rebellious or at worst, heretics.

We are actively discouraged from pursuing any line of questioning that isn't confined within the current theological boundaries, and taught that the only truth to be had is strictly within the bible. We must not undo all the good work that centuries of minds far better than ours, have sweated over, apparently under God's guidance, to bring us orthodox, unquestionable doctrines.

Of course, we conveniently overlook the fact that there has been endless arguments over those doctrines, but none the less, the bible is unquestionable (whatever that means).

But just like our comfortable voters refusing to have their paradigms shaken no matter what is put before them, christians remain standing with their heads firmly buried in the sand (well, bent over somewhat I guess!).

Why? Because they have too much to lose. The mess created by confronting and sorting through the real issues could damage the status quo irreconcilably. The truth becomes too "inconvenient", no matter how its presented. Reasoning is futile, logic is futile. All questioning outside the accepted doctrines is deemed deception.

I could go on, but to those who have seen this phenomenon, well, they know the futility of trying to confront it.

How do we help people get their heads out of the sand?

Bloody good question. For me, deep down, I could never be satisfied by the status quo, no matter how determined I was to fit in, or to embrace it all because everyone genuinely believed it was the only truth. No, I had to be wrong, I was rebellious, so I towed the line and repressed everything until it all turned to custard.

And yet for many others, they are blissfully unaware until one day, a light get's turned on.

Perhaps its a deep desire for truth and integrity - to want to know truth for ourselves, no matter what the cost. Perhaps that finally rises up in some and breaks into the light.

And many never make it. They simply perish with their heads still happily stuck in the sand, and genuinely happy at that! Ignorance is bliss I guess. And in the end, I simply can't judge a person's worth just because they are happy where they are! Of course, everyone is equally loved and intrinsically part of God whether they know it or not. So its not like I feel superior - just sad and sometimes frustrated.

But something in me refuses to accept that people can't live better lives, happier, more fulfilled, more loving and compassionate, if they can let go and allow themselves to think bigger and not be afraid of where that may lead, because ultimately, all roads lead to love. It would be great though, if we could get the best out of the journey on that road!