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Upgrading American Opportunities for “Belonging”

Today we live in a highly polarized “Us vs. Them” nation in which members strengthen their feeling of “in-group” belonging by increasing their distance from and tension with their “out-group” competitors — “the Others!” Endless attempts at fact-checking, while valuable, causes group members to go into defense mode instead of change. Scientists now know that “belonging is stronger than facts.”1 I want to highlight some key points from the MIT Technology Review article I quoted from above:

Members of opposing groups are strengthening their feeling of “in-group” belonging by increasing their distance between members of the groups.

Members of opposing groups are strengthening their feeling ofin-groupbelonging by increasing tension between the members of the groups.

Members value belonging is valued above scientific facts.

In order to change things we must create different ways of belonging. Trying to change things by yelling and screaming facts weaponized memes doesn’t create peace. It increases anger, hatred and violence. We must create new ways to strengthen belonging that are inclusive, mutually beneficial and that acknowledge the validity of scientific facts. The members of the founding generation of Americans left us some valuable treasures to undertake this challenge.

1. Their biblical heritages. The Scriptures that were the source of the most powerful memes in America’s founding documents.

2. The stories of their individual and collective efforts to successfully complete the process of democratic conversations and writing that were required to produce the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.

3. The stories of the human predators that used religions, governments and corporations that lured some people to, while forcing others to come and colonize the American continents.

We have three things members of the founding generation did not have -- and could never have imagined in their wildest dreams:

1. 242 years of documented history of how their dream of democracy has actually worked.

2. Access to 21st century scientific knowledge about what humans are, how they think and how they organize into collectives.

3. Access to 21st century computing power and mass communication technologies that empower individuals and give them a global voice no generation has ever had in the history of mankind.

The Biblical Heritage Center and TOV Center have partnered together to engage in the opportunities above to create those new and more inclusive ways of belonging. We hope that you will become part of the story of the generation that upgraded American democracy and spiritual traditions to the next level!

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1 MIT Technology Review September/October 2018; Technology is threatening our democracy. How do we save it?; p. 15.


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