I met Laura at a Best Western in Duluth, Minnesota, where she worked. At first, she was particularly nice and friendly. Then we talked about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre. “I hate it when people say that the government was behind 9-11,” she said. When I implied that there were some weird things about the tragedy and that it’s not surprising that some people suspect U.S. government involvement, she abruptly stopped talking. I think that Laura needs to believe in the goodness of her government. She needs to see it as an honest, protecting father figure and she views anyone that threatens that belief as an enemy.
Last year, for a few months, I worked at a part-time job with Mary. She was highly critical of American foreign policy, of the Church, and of the global elite. After several discussions with her about these matters, she spoke of a recent political development. “It seems, like again, I’m getting screwed over!” I forget exactly what the issue was, but I remember that it really had nothing to do with her. I then realized that her tendency to see herself as victimized and powerless was the basis for her political and religious views.
We all see the world through the lens of our psychological condition, without being aware of it. We, therefore, don’t realize how distorted our view of reality can be. Although we may use logic and reason to support our worldview, that view is largely colored by our psychological make-up, and we tend to dismiss anything that contradicts it, no matter how well grounded in fact and reason it may be. This is why it is so difficult to change anyone’s core beliefs using logical argument and factual information.
This great human fault limits our ability to mature intellectually and spiritually. It promotes a closed-minded, self-obsessed personality. It can be a major roadblock to salvation.
The path to holiness is a path to seeing as God sees. It is a process of replacing our often neurotic, myopic, egotistical mindset with the mind of God. God sees all things as they truly are and understands everything perfectly. He does not project his mental disorders onto His perception of reality because He has no such disorders and He is not self-obsessed. He is “obsessed” with His creation, and He sacrifices Himself for it. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Learn to be skeptical of much what you assume to be self-evident. Do objective balanced research before you form an opinion. Ask yourself why you believe certain things and why you may defend those beliefs with so much emotion. Ask yourself why you are sensitive about certain opinions and may dislike the people who express them. Pray that you might “put on the mind of Christ” to see things as He sees them. This is the sure path out of self-focused ignorance and into His wonderful light.