Christianity is like a health insurance risk pool. In a health insurance risk pool the healthy people have to join to balance out the sick people so the premiums don’t skyrocket. In Christianity the people on top (who have the least incentive to be virtuous) have to be as virtuous as the people on the bottom or the system collapses (as it is doing now before our eyes). It’s harder to be virtuous when you are on top because you have power and it becomes completely optional and is even detrimental in your quest for more power and control.
Christianity romanticizes things where the weak defer to the strong like forgiving, waiting and serving. But the strong are supposed to be doing these things as well. If they don’t the system breaks down. Especially because those at the top set the tone for those further down. People imitate successful people.
the wave is what society says is important
the undertow is what really is important
when you’re on top
you’re moved by the wave
when you’re on the bottom
you’re sucked by the undertow
There are a lot of things that whether they are true or not depends on your place in society. Some things:
Being virtuous generally gets you good things if you are on top but just keeps you treading water if you are on the bottom (or worse). This is because virtue is optional for those on top so when they exhibit it they are rewarded. Further down virtue is expected so the lack is punished. Still further down virtue is seen as weakness and punished. On the bottom you generally are in derelict subcultures that revolve around vices and substance abuse. The groups that don’t involve these things are generally higher up and not accepting of those on the bottom.
If you are on top you are treated as if you have innate worth but the further down you go the more your treatment is tied to how and whether you function in society. This is because in both cases you are being treated based on how you are valued, it’s just on top people don’t like to believe they are being treated well just on the account of what they have to offer so they made up the “innate worth” trope. When you are on the bottom all artifice disappears and people really shine their true colors in your face. You only really feel the weight of importance of looks, money, and status when you do not possess them. Because when you don’t people go into “reduced functionality mode” around you, polite but curt (at best), or all the gloves come off and they insult and demean you because you have no power to fight back.
Positivity is generally a luxury for those on top. The self-esteem movement is for those on and near the top because they are the ones who invented it so naturally it would only apply to them. People on and near the top are controlled more by a “soft touch” because they already have most of their lives together. People further down often need to be controlled more tightly and for this to happen negativity enters in. There is even a survey somewhere that said how poor kids heard at least twice as much negativity as rich ones.
Two things for Christians:
Trust in the power of your prayers. This means if you are praying for someone you have to treat them as if that prayer was already answered. Otherwise you aren’t praying in faith. For example, if you were praying for someone to get a job you would have to treat them as if they already had one.
Things said about people on the margins are unfalsifiable. For example if you say God is near people on the margins. People who do not experience this will be silenced and ignored because they have no voice. Conversely if you make a claim about the most powerful people that is false, they will immediately shut it down and will be listened to.
When your politician wants to do the right thing, they need your help.
If you call/tweet your representatives about something they already agree with, you are telling them: We have your back. You don’t have to worry that doing the right thing will cost you the election. Doing the right thing will get you votes, and make you *more* likely to win. That gives them more options.
I made a tool to do this.
How corporates co-opted the art of mindfulness to make us bear the unbearable:
While there can be little doubt that the practice of mindfulness can lead to significant health benefits, its current prominence in corporate culture is nested within a social, cultural and political context where stress is now seen as a failure of the individual to adapt to the productivity demands of the corporation. In other words, if you’re stressed out, you’re not working hard enough on your personal focus strategy. You’re letting the team down.
What Growing Up White in a Black Church Taught Me about Racial Justice:
People don’t fight for justice as an abstract concept—at least not for very long. What they do fight for is people. They’ll fight harder for those people with whom they can more easily empathize, and they’ll fight hardest for those people about whom they care most. If white people are going to make a robust and lasting commitment to racial justice work, then intimate inter-racial friendships must accompany and sustain that commitment.
Christians are so turned off by people with disabilities because they display God’s inaction in action. They are kryptonite for prayer, their conditions often worsen instead of better with time. Christians are not allowed to resent God for his inaction directly so they do so vicariously through individuals with disabilities. That’s why people with disabilities often get treated worse in church than other places.
Great NYTimes Article on the end of truth:
Social networks and hacking also “have enabled us to see, in full color, into the innermost workings of every institution and into the attitudes of those who run them,” noted Seidman, “and that has eroded trust in virtually every institution, and the authority of many leaders, because people don’t like what they see.”
I think we can all agree that society’s relationships are continuing to transitioning from Martin Buber’s I and thou to I and it. But the transition is like the dead zone where your cell phone is trying (and failing) to reach the outermost periphery of your wi-fi network but doesn’t know well enough to give up and connect to the cell phone network.
It is a recipe for depression when you are expected to believe you have innate worth (I and thou) while experiencing the opposite (I and it). The culture and modern psychology in general is so disingenuous about this. Can’t we just admit that physical appearance, money, status, and charisma are the most important things. Can we quit pathologizing low self-esteem and learn to see it as an often correct self-assessment. The whole concept of self-esteem presupposes one has innate worth which is untrue for all but the luckiest of us. We need to move to the way it was in pre Christian times where people were open and honest about one’s value being tied to their station.
Has Evangelical Christianity Become Psychopathic?:
Every generation redefines what it means to be, or belong to a religious group. Religious ideologies, interpretations, and doctrines are fluid. But whatever it is, or whatever it becomes, is made by the people who belong to the religion and what they collectively decide to make it.