Bridging The Divide

11/11/2004

The terms "vitriolic," "hateful," "polarized" and "intolerant" reveal the sentiment and temperament of many American voters. Both sides are convinced their positions are correct. Those who supported losing candidates and issues seem dumbfounded and confused that so many voters "don't get it." It will be a true test of character to see whether the winners in this election can find common ground in order to bring the people of this country together without compromising essential principles and moral values. 

I am concerned that many of our religious, social and political leaders may not understand the importance of moving our country toward the absolutes upon which lasting freedom depends. We must learn how to reason together, seeking to hear clearly. We must engage in healthy debate to tackle the issues that are crucial to the long-term security and success of our country. Communication always breaks down when there is a lack of unconditional love and wisdom, so we must lay down our anger, hurt and personal bias in order to truly hear each other.

This breakdown in communication is actually fueled by representatives of the national media -- a force so biased that many cannot accurately present the truth. Why? First, when the truth is revealed, many journalists do not recognize it and, second, when they do, their worldview drives them to detest, ignore or attempt to destroy it. Liberal reporters routinely distort the truth. One of their most effective tactics is to misrepresent conservatives and people of faith by interviewing extremists and irrational voices. They refuse to allow articulate communicators and peacemakers an unedited opportunity to be heard. As a result, a growing number of moral advocates are uncomfortable being interviewed because of the hostility, frequent editorial misrepresentation and misplaced sound bites. Instead of working with the media, they work around it, building their own audience and support. While this is often necessary, it can also have the unintended effect of further polarizing our population.

History has proven that religious fervor--even when wrong, unbiblical and contrary to the nature of God as represented in the Old and New Testament--is one of the most determined forces on earth. As I wrote in my book The Absolutes, religion can be dangerous. It can even destroy legitimate spiritual faith. Not only did misguided religious zealots devastate our nation on September 11, their atrocities ushered in the Dark Ages, and they demanded the crucifixion of the truth revealed and love's greatest expression: Jesus Christ. 

This is why it is imperative we understand that only true wisdom and unconditional love can inspire necessary changes. Love is the greatest expression of truth's profound effect. Love will heal hearts, open lines of communication, inspire us to care about the concerns of others, pay the price to protect freedom and sincerely desire the blessing of freedom for others. We must, however, remember that freedom can only exist when it is built on the proper foundation -- a foundation that consists of boundaries, guidelines, laws and their enforcement. 

Just as sports must have rules in order to bring meaning to the game, life itself must have absolute principles in order to experience enjoyment and fulfillment. Our traffic laws do not hinder our safety and well-being; these rules actually protect our freedom of travel, as well as our very lives. True moral values, when willingly self-imposed and properly upheld, help keep us from harm and give us liberty. But because human beings have a free will, there will always be those who rebel and cross the line. Like a reckless driver, their actions will catch up with them, and they will suffer the consequences. Sadly, innocent people may also suffer injury, and even death, because of the rebellious actions of others.

In this same way, those who protest moral absolutes through their words and actions put themselves and others at risk. Relativists say there are no absolutes (and in this they are absolutely certain!). This type of thinking must change-- and it will not come without commitment and clear communication. The truth must be proclaimed -- even debated. As long as it is presented in love and complemented with a willingness to listen, it will have its transforming effect.

Once we learn how to genuinely communicate with each other, we can begin the healing process. After that, we can begin moving forward together as "one nation under God." Even though everyone may not believe in God, we can still recognize that there are established and accepted boundaries by our population because their benefit has been proved throughout history.


Author: James Robison

Word Count: 765

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, an international humanitarian aid ministry; host of the television program, Life Today; and author of The Absolutes.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, randy.robison at loi.org

Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.