Archives for posts with tag: political

God of all Creation and Giver of every good gift, we join in praising You for Who You are. Thank You that Your hand has been and will be upon this land. By Your grace You have guided our leaders in the past and we pray for Your wisdom and counsel for our leaders of today. Our hearts are full of thanksgiving for those who have guided us and the many who have given their lives to guard us.

By Your grace You have enabled this country to be a great nation. You have blessed us beyond measure and we recognize that privilege comes with responsibility. Help us to continue to open our hearts and hands to share Your love to all persons. Help us to be kind and generous, loving and accepting as we embrace all of Your children who are yearning to be free.

Enable us to focus on what pleases You and that unites us as a nation. Help us never to forget that all people are created equal and granted the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Remind us regularly that these basic rights are not to be denied any human being.

O Lord, help us to know that greatness is not measured in military might or economic success. Enable us to understand that political power and governmental policies do not make us great but as we follow Your Divine Leadership we will be united as one great nation.

Lord, the truth is that we don’t know how we should pray, but we trust You to know our desires and to fulfill Your will in us and through us- as individuals and as a nation. We are one nation under God and we want to submit our own wills and ways to You so that we might be a holy nation and godly instruments to do Your work in the world. This is our hope and we ask you to lead us as we work for it and wait for it with patience.

Hear our prayer, O Lord, for we offer ourselves to You as we pray as Jesus taught us…

Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever.

Amen.

Jamie Jenkins

 

Nicholas D. Kristof writes for the New York Times. In an article entitled “Media should try to fight, not spread, fear and lies,” he had an interesting observation about fake news and biased reporting.

Often information is passed on by the media and everyday people without verifying its truthfulness. Fact checking can be time consuming and tedious but Kristof adds an interesting angle on the way we process information.

According to this journalist, social psychology experiments have found that when people are presented with factual corrections that contradict their beliefs, they may cling to mistaken beliefs more strongly than ever. This is called the “backfire effect.” I had never heard this term before so I decided to check it out.

In 2006, Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler at The University of Michigan and Georgia State University created fake newspaper articles about polarizing political issues. The articles were written in a way which would confirm a widespread misconception about certain ideas in American politics. As soon as a person read a fake article, researchers then handed over a true article which corrected the first.

They repeated the experiment with several “hot button” issues like stem cell research and tax reform. Again they found corrections tended to increase the strength of the participants’ misconceptions. This was consistent even when people on opposing sides of the issue read the same articles and then the same corrections. When new evidence was interpreted as threatening to their beliefs, the corrections backfired. Instead of changing what people believed, their beliefs were strengthened.

This is nothing new. Hundreds of years ago Francis Bacon (1561-1626) said, “The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects and despises, or else by some distinction sets aside and rejects, in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination the authority of its former conclusion may remain inviolate.”

Psychologist Thomas Gilovich, Professor of Psychology at Cornell University concludes, “When examining evidence relevant to a given belief, people are inclined to see what they expect to see, and conclude what they expect to conclude.”

I do not intend to suggest that a person should be open to just anything. I am not suggesting that we discard our understanding or position on any issue. I believe there are some absolutes in life. All things are not negotiable. Strong convictions and firm beliefs are desirable but we need to be open to the possibility that there is a different perspective that we have not yet seen. We could be mistaken. Our opinions (beliefs) might be subject to correction. There could be more than one way to look at a particular topic.  

God, help us to be open to truth!

Jamie Jenkins