Tag Archives: Religious Extremism

Solve the Right Problem

To remember

  • Define problem right = you’re halfway to a solution.
  • Define problem wrong = you’ll probably never solve it => You’ll waste all your time looking for a solution that doesn’t exist.
  • Flip side of defining the problem wrong = what computer programmers call GIGO: “Garbage in, garbage out.” >>> If assumptions are wrong = if your logic is flawless =your conclusions will be wrong.
  • social problems < base assumptions on optimism rather than realism => go straight from errors in their premises to errors in their conclusions.
  • When you start with incorrect information but make mistakes in thinking, then you might get the correct answer just by blind luck. (it does happen)
  • Why are the great monotheistic faiths – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – chronically unable to fulfill their own self-professed goal of creating individuals infused with moral sensitivity and societies governed by the highest ethical standards? = seems to define problem incorrectly, based on an incorrect assumption about what religion can accomplish.
  • Judaism taught world about universal moral law under God, improving societies and people from ancient times to the present day.
  • Christianity added emphasis on individual conscience + individual rights, helping to develop Western ideals of freedom and personal dignity.
  • Islam = great improvement on earlier practices in the region where it developed, giving at least some rights to women + , in the medieval era, fostering a high civilization to which Jews contributed.
  • << cannot do = make all individuals + societies ethical all the time, + can’t do it because it’s impossible.
  • => limitation imposed by human nature, + fact people are not all alike
  • problem > message must be simple, clear, consistent, + realistic + achievable + allow occasional failures, providing a way to recover from them and get back on the right track.
  • solution = to talk to majority in the middle

The Thousand-Year View

Steve-JobsMy latest blog post for The Jewish Journal:

Define the problem right, and you’re halfway to a solution.

Define the problem wrong, and you’ll probably never solve it. You’ll waste all your time looking for a solution that doesn’t exist. That applies in every area of life, such as religion, relationships, science, and social problems. The best movie mystery of 2008 turned on mis-identifying the problem to be solved.

The flip side of defining the problem wrong is what computer programmers call GIGO: “Garbage in, garbage out.” If your assumptions are wrong, then even if your logic is flawless, your conclusions will be wrong. Garbage in, garbage out.

Ironically, it’s the best and brightest people who are most susceptible to GIGO errors when they think about social problems.

Their kind hearts make them want to believe the most optimistic things, so they often base their assumptions on optimism rather…

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A Prayer for Wisdom Amid Violence

Editor’s note: The last several weeks have witnessed many events of violence that are difficult to comprehend, and which confound efforts to respond wisely and biblically: the Orlando nightclub shooting, repeated acts of terror in the Middle East, and most recently, terrifying violence involving police in the United States. As you process your own reactions to these events, please join pastor Mel Lawrenz in this prayer for God’s wisdom.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” — James 1:5

 

 

Dear God,

You have said in your word that whenever we know we need wisdom, we should ask for it, and that you will give it generously. In these perilous times, we pray for your wisdom from above.

Grant us wisdom to know the way you look on the affairs of our nation.

Grant us wisdom to understand how you view our world today.

Grant us wisdom to know what an ordered and just and compassionate society looks like.

Grant us wisdom to know what to do with the reality of evil.

Grant us wisdom to uphold the defenseless.

Grant us wisdom to love you and love our neighbor as ourselves.

Lord, we pray that our leaders will personally understand that you are a dynamic reality in the world and in our lives.

May we be a nation which depends on you, acknowledges your blessings, and values what you value. And on the day after the election, Lord, help us to be faithful members of your kingdom and responsible citizens of the nation we inhabit.

In Christ’s name and for his sake, Amen.

 

 


For more biblical insight to help you grapple with the difficult issues presented by acts of terror and violence, see this past posts:

Mel LawrenzMel Lawrenz trains an international network of Christian leaders, ministry pioneers, and thought-leaders. He served as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin, for ten years and now serves as Elmbrook’s minister at large. He has a Ph.D. in the history of Christian thought and is on the adjunct faculty of Trinity International University. Mel is the author of 18 books, the latest, How to Understand the Bible—A Simple Guide and Spiritual Influence: the Hidden Power Behind Leadership (Zondervan, 2012). See more of Mel’s writing at WordWay.

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