068: Religion, Politics, Polarization

At one and the same time, in today’s U.S. culture, as well as around the world, the majority of people are coming together in this time of pandemic and efforts to reform racial injustice, while also, when it comes to politics, most observers report a level of hostile polarization that we have rarely seen. Animosity toward those we disagree with is high. And then there’s religion, which at its core is generally unifying, centered on beautiful principles that call us to see each other as fellow human beings under God or, if not theistic, in the universe of relations. If that’s so, why this antagonism to those “other people” who dare to choose this or that political leader or set of policies and emphases. Are they stupid? Deceived? Evil? 

LDF host Dan Wotherspoon is joined today by two Latter-day Saint friends, Jenne Alderks and Walt Wood, whose political views often differ from each other but who don’t have it in their hearts to demonize and completely dismiss those who differ with them. In the episode, Dan, Jenne, and Walt wrestle with the dynamics at play today, especially in the areas of politics and religion, while also keeping an eye on our needs to self-examine continually, especially in the ways that can lead to deep, personal changes (as we determine needs) and more generosity in today’s highly polarized social landscape. What is the role of social media in causing this polarization? What is it that underlies the anger that is such clear display these days? How might understanding that lead us to wider perspectives and greater compassion toward others?

How can everyone along any spectrum find scriptural or other forms of authoritative support for their version of things, leaving religion without its full power to call us toward community and the interests of the group over those of us individually? What causes societal shifts? And when a society comes together over something, why do the enthusiasms die down and individualistic tendencies return to transcendence? And much more!

There’s much in this episode to think on and that, hopefully, can lead us all to greater self examination and the type of deepened spirituality which can lead us to call our opponents “blessed.” Listen in!

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Links: Forthcoming

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