Cognitive Dissonance, Christianity and the GOP

For reasons previously discussed, I do not advocate a politician on this blog (though I am a Ron Paul supporter) as I currently am not trying to promote political involvement on this blog, not really my thing.  So as a disclaimer, this post isn’t really about politicians or politics even though it uses a clip from a 2012 GOP Primary Debate.  This is instead about the separate mindsets that people seem to hold and why it is then so important to think about and evaluate the ideas you hold to make sure you don’t have conflicting cognitions.  Conflicting ideas causes what is called Cognitive Dissonance, which is a discomfort held by holding two or more conflicting ideas or views at the same time.  If some of your foundational views conflict with one another, one or both of them have to be wrong and it is worth the time and effort to determine a proper foundation that doesn’t conflict.  If we want to be an instinct based animal rather than a rational human, occasions of cognitive dissonance doesn’t matter; but if we want to be rational entities with sound ideas about the way the world works we need to address conflicting ideals in our lives.

So, on to the particular case I’d like to address.  I may be stereotyping this crowd a little bit, but chances are high that a majority of this crowd consider themselves Christians and thus those who follow Christ and proclaim him Lord.  It is after all a GOP Debate and republicanism seems to have Christ as a figurehead (even if Christ himself would probably wish not to be associated with a democratic party).

The clip I’d like to show is from the recent South Carolina GOP Debate, and all I’m really interested in sharing is from 6:00 to 7:20

Watch the crowd shot they show after Newt Gingrich promotes killing all our enemies using Andrew Jackson as a proxy (Technically his foreign policy included removal of the Indians, or as some would consider it Ethnic Cleansing).  The pure elation in the crowd that is shown is amazing to me.  I can understand that certain enemies should be killed as a matter of justice and self defense but is it something Christians should be actually elated about?  Shouldn’t it be more of an “unfortunate reality” that has to happen, not a joyous desire to kill every enemy!?  It is arguable whether Christ himself would promote killing for such an “unfortunate reality”, but I don’t think it’s arguable that he would be applauding and crying tears of joy over the thought of killing our enemies.  Did he not state that we should be peaceful people and loving our enemies?

Then they go on and boo a mention of the golden rule applied to sovereign states.  Again, I can understand the desire to go to war or to secretly enter a country to capture an enemy; but to actually boo Christ’s second greatest commandment?  Even if I disagreed with the application of the golden rule (which I don’t in this instance, but I understand if you do) due to the “unfortunate reality” or terrorist attacks, I would never boo and hiss the golden rule proclaimed by Christ as the 2nd most vital commandment.  I am just stunned at the disregard for simple, straight-forward Christian principles; I think I would only be more amazed if Paul got Boos after saying this:

Note: I don’t agree with the video title or comments made during the video about Santorum or Bachmann as I don’t think they felt shamed and it’s a childish statement anyways.

The cognitive dissonance here, if it isn’t obvious, is that these people would all proclaim that Christ is the Lord of their lives and guides their thoughts and actions; but then will turn around and cheer, pump their fist in joy, and applaud a statement about killing our enemies and literally booing a statement that rationally and in a simply understood manner applies Christ’s own vital commandment!

My God, there are certain times where I feel hopeful about the moral future of this country and other times where I despair about it; this is one of those times where I despair.


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