What is a conspiracy theory?
Psychologists attribute finding a conspiracy where there is none to a mental phenomenon called illusory pattern perception.
It is a way of seeing through a lens that explains trouble; as you know, today these theories abound. There’s just enough “truth” in many so we can’t declare it is an out-right lie.
“It’s not a lie… if you believe it.” (George Costanza, a character on Seinfeld )
In The American Crisis of Selective Empathy, David French repeats a question that is on my heart:
“How, do we have difficult conversations with a person we believe has dangerous ideas?”
In the above article, David French suggests a couple of starting points:
Prepare — Yes I know what I believe but do I understand what and why a soul believes something I can’t grasp?
Can I articulate their position accurately with kindness, not judgment?
LISTEN — which when I scramble the letters I see the tool to open my ears and shut my mouth: silent —
Let go of a rebuttal . . . unless asked:
[E]mpathy ultimately doesn’t pontificate, it participates— . . . don’t wait for a person to be right before you dive into their life with sacrificial love. (David French)
I watched this video clip – – – that David French used, illustrating an approach worth considering. Love looks different in practice than it does in my head. – – – I can’t silver-line, a verb Brené Brown invented, the beliefs that are dividing our nation, our world and the church. Nor, should I silver-line my own convictions. (Isaiah 8:12)
Empathy can help me stay out of JUDGMENT which is my favorite camping site. What does my empathy look like in these uncertain times, when we are each tempted to inhabit a conspiracy theory or two?
I believe what empathy looks like is staying engaged with people — praying the Lord blesses them and changes me.
How-some-ever, empathy doesn’t mean I won’t:
stay out of crowds if I can;
mask up when I am in a crowd;
run the risk of a vaccine for the good of me and thee;
wash my hands and
get on with my own business —
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously. ~ Micah 6:8