Mon. Jun 24th, 2024

CN, if you aren’t aware, is short for Christian Nationalism. The reader can assume what is meant by that, and if you assume incorrectly, that’s on you, not me. To let people know how I view it, I have written about that term here, and here. There is some raging debate on the site formerly known as Twitter between people who agree on all other fundamentals of theology.

Meanwhile, life goes on. Part of that life is taking training to maintain my Texas Peace Officer’s License, even though I retired from doing that for a living. One of the courses I’m currently taking discusses active shooter incidents and “disaster psychology.” Here, this term is referring to the psychology of a person who unexpectedly finds themselves in the middle of an active shooter event. Basically, what they experience and how it impacts them. They go through the stages of denial, deliberation, and decision making.

The denial phase consists of people responding due to normalcy bias. Basically, it is our tendency to interpret everything through our normal day-to-day experiences because it is easier for our brain to process information. Hence, many survivors of active shooter events tend to say things like, “At first, I thought it was firecrackers.” It’s an initial denial of the event because, “That won’t happen here, to me.”

A normalcy bias causes us to assume that, although a catastrophic event has happened to others, it will not happen to me. If it does, we are shocked and unable to cope with it effectively, often underestimating its full effects. 

Safety Requires a State of Mindfulness – PMC (nih.gov)

Once the disaster is accepted, they turn to deliberation. However, due to the previous disruption of their environment, people in the midst of a disaster tend to have poorer thinking skills than they would without that disruption. One of the topics discussed in this section involves “social proof” and its role in decision making. Several videos of unfolding disasters show those involved starting to look around at what others are doing, this behavior is shortly followed by a mass of people acting in the same manner. They cited research that a lone individual is more likely to help someone in need than someone in a crowd would be. But social proof of our decisions also tends to make our decisions vulnerable to be less in line with how we would normally act, they may not even make sense.

When we use social proof to inform our behavior, we are not necessarily acting rationally. 

Social Proof – The Decision Lab

Finally, the deliberation turns to decision making and the individual makes a decision to act. This training talks a lot about how those decisions are not always good decisions. One of the events used to demonstrate this was The Station nightclub fire. The image below (from this study) shows the location of the victims of that fire. Roughly half of them died trying to exit the same door, the one they came in, despite there being three other exits, four if you count windows. Helpful hint, always pay attention to where ALL the exits are in every building you enter.

Sadly, many of these victims may have had a chance to escape had their thinking, or maybe the thinking of others, been more rational. None of this is victim blaming. The purpose of the training is to help civilians be prepared to combat some the naturally occurring physiological responses to stress, and its impact on our thinking, in order to increase their chances of survival. Overall, the course has been excellent, and I can’t wait to use it to help people.

Studies have shown that when stressed, individuals tend to make more habitual responses than goal-directed choices, be less likely to adjust their initial judgment, and rely more on gut feelings in social situations.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5146206/

That’s all well and good but why in the world did I start this article with a paragraph about CN? That’s because as I am going through this training, it occurred to me that the phenomenon I am witnessing in some folks response to CN is like watching these stages play out in slow-motion. I wouldn’t know any serious Christian who would say our culture/civilization/society is not in the midst of sudden change (on the timescale of all of society) and that the changes we are seeing are disruptive of our expectations and that in general, it is currently a disaster.

There are still many who are oblivious to this unfolding disaster, though that number has started shrinking fast. Many still haven’t recognized the change around them is outside normal experience. Still, it seems a growing number of people are moving out of the deliberation phase and into decision making. And this is where the conflict is being generated.

A group of people looked at each other and knew something had to change for society to survive. Some recognized it much longer ago than others. They saw what each other were doing and recognized it as similar and started to coalesce around similar ideas. The people here I am thinking of are Doug Wilson, A. D. Robles, Joel Webbon, William Wolfe, Stephen Wolfe, and those in that group. They don’t all agree on everything but do agree on enough to begin acting. Personally, I think they recognized what was happening more quickly and started reacting before others. History may show some of their reactions were off target of where they should have been and that’s okay. We, and they, are all humans.

But here’s where the conflict arises, the Moore sisters were some of the earliest people to warn of Christian Nationalism in the modern era. It got just enough of a foothold that others, still deliberating and looking for social proof of their decisions, saw something that scared them. Their reaction was not rational (in my opinion) and was based on gut feelings and how others close to them were responding.

That would explain why people I followed for years suddenly began making weird decisions and accusations that were entirely unfounded. Some people have responded rationally. Those folks have calmly stated their concerns and defined what they mean. Others just started out with what were really wild claims.

I hope we can all take the time to do some social combat breathing, slow our reactionary impulses, and come up with rational, scripture-based responses to concerns and to what is going on with society. Believe it or not, this actually gave me more hope that the conflict I see will ultimately be resolved. I think, if this is a disaster response in slow-motion, many of those who are anti-CN for reasons that are not rational reasons, will eventually get over the shock and disruption and return to sound thinking. I hope.

If ever a post should end with a verse from scripture, this one should. Peace and Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ to you, reader.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7
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By Derek

Father of three. Married to my best friend. Follower of Jesus Christ. Love the outdoors.

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