Huddled Masses on the Edge of Expanding Horizons
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Huddled Masses on the Edge of Expanding Horizons • Posted: Apr 27, 2009 12:06:06Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

Was listening this week to yet another disturbing discussion on American Family Radio. The interviewee was acknowledging it probably would be a good thing for young Christians to familiarize themselves, at least in some sense, with other world views so as to "inoculate themselves" against non-Christian, non-Biblical values and beliefs. How sad. Yet, in an odd way, very human.

Just this weekend, the Associated Press distributed a piece on change and the first 100 days of the Obama administration. In that piece, a group of older voters that voted for Obama were polled as reacting to the pace of change initiated by President Obama as "too fast and too much".

From my point of view, the attitudes of the two groups, relative to departure from a region of familiarity into one unfamiliar, are very much the same. Both groups huddle together sharing fear and apprehension, trying to imagine ways to put the brakes on.

At the same time, as the AP story notes, there are other groups of people who enthusiastically welcome the changes President Obama has initiated because in them they see nothing but boundless opportunity for good. What exactly is the psychological difference here and where does it come from?

I am tempted to suggest imagination is the key, but that has to be wrong. Fear can stimulate very elaborate imaginings. Horrendous crimes have been committed based on imaginings that simply aren't true.

So, is truth the answer? In other words, is a broader sense of what's true and what isn't a better basis for imagining? Yes, I think it is. Once you understand, say, the physics and chemistry of global warming, you can begin to imagine what a workable solution might be. The less you understand of the chemistry and physics involved, the more likely you are to deny the existence of global warming and attribute talk of such things to conspiratorial designs on your personal health and fortune.

Knowledge is most certainly the best antidote to fear. But, I have no idea what the best antidote to fear of knowledge is. Teachers once used big sticks to motivate students. I somehow doubt subduing one kind of fear with an even bigger fear would be the way to go.

Thursday, April 12th, 2007