Recent American politics has seen an upsurge of anti-establishment or contrarian thinking, but this has been a common feature of conservative Christian communities for a long time. In this video, we explore how to walk the fine line between questioning dominant cultural assumptions without falling into a reflexive, self-confirming contrarianism that is just as susceptible to groupthink as the establishment.
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00:35: How do we avoid on the one hand being brainwashed by the mainstream, and on the other hand being overly attracted to fringe movements?
1:30: Examples of several “fringe” movements in contemporary American politics and religion.
2:15: Healthy skepticism about expert groupthink or perverse incentives as a factor underlying anti-establishment viewpoints.
2:50: Danger of reflexive contrarianism that holds to a minority viewpoint just because it’s the minority.
3:30: Just because the Gospel is foolishness doesn’t mean that foolishness is the Gospel. Being persecuted for righteousness’s sake is different from being persecuted for being a jackass’s sake.
4:15: How do we avoid the dangers of reflexive contrarianism? Beware of adopting a standpoint of bidirectional confirmation bias.
5:30: How do Christians in contrarian communities try to encourage open-mindedness without being obnoxious?
6:45: The need to cultivate communities that encourage respectful dissent, in which disciples can challenge mentors.