What Divides Us? Interpretation

I heard on a radio talk show yesterday that what divides our nation is hate.  Yes, we are divided.  And yes, there is hate.

But I believe we are actually divided by interpretation.

How do you interpret Leviticus 20:13?

  • Red Team: This clearly states that homosexuality is a sin.
  • Blue Team: This is part of the Holiness Code which was culturally binding in ancient Israel but not for us.  The Holiness Code also says we cannot eat shellfish, plant a field with two different kinds of seed or wear two kinds of cloth at the same time.  

So do you pick and choose what to believe according to what you already believe?

  • Red Team:  No.  We take the Bible seriously, if not literally.
  • Blue Team:  Jesus taught us not to store up treasures on earth so does that mean we should not have a savings account or a 401k? We take the Bible seriously too – seriously enough to do textual, source, historical, and form criticism.  (It’s amazing what the LORD has let us learn.)

What about the Confederate Statues?

  • Red Team:  They are symbols of Southern heritage in America dating back to the late 19th Century after the U.S. Civil War to honor Southern history. 
  • Blue Team: They are symbols of white supremacy erected primarily in the early 20th Century and as late as the 1950s during the Jim Crow era, to honor (white) Southern history and to intimidate non-white Southerners.

What about immigrants and The Caravan?

  • Red Team:  They’re illegal. They take our jobs. They are changing our way of life.  And some of them are criminals.
  • Blue Team: Many are fleeing violence and you can’t apply for asylum without crossing the U.S. border first.  And immigrants enhance our way of life. They gave us Google and eBay and blue jeans and Chobani.

We see things differently.  I might see a person and think “criminal” while you might see a person and think “family.”  And it’s possible that several things can be true at the same time. I believe that Black Lives Matter but I also support police officers.  I believe that guns should be legal but I don’t believe that military weapons should be available to non-military people.

Nuance is good.

This has been an especially rough week – between the rampant violence and the barrage of political ads with Halloween voices trying to scare us before the election.

How can we bridge the division in our country?

We can try to see things from someone else’s point of view.  If you love Donald Trump, make friends with a DACA kid and hear her story.  If you hate Donald Trump, makes friends with a #HimToo victim and hear his story.  Maybe we’ll continue to disagree.  But it’s harder to hate people if you know their story.

Is it a duck or a rabbit?  It depends on how you see it.

3 responses to “What Divides Us? Interpretation

  1. The Weeds podcast last week shared a research paper that suggests exposure to contradictory political viewpoints actually increases polarization. I appreciate that you’re asking us to make friends, not just take in different points of view. Those are different activities.


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