False Dichotomies

Photo Credit: "Yin Yang Grunge Symbol", © 2012 Nicolas Raymond, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio
Photo Credit: “Yin Yang Grunge Symbol”, © 2012 Nicolas Raymond, Flickr | CC-BY

I am incredibly disgusted at how we are told that we should be seeing the world as black and white, up or down, good or bad.  I am bothered how the use of false dichotomies are used to trick us into submitting to wrong.  While there is definite good and definite evil in the world, we aren’t always being told the truth about what those truths are.  We are often tricked into picking between two falsehoods.

Evil exists.  I believe that.  I have seen evil in this world, and I have seen even influence me, family members and friends.  And I don’t want any to think that I am trying to excuse evil behavior by saying that there is no evil.  Because there definitely is.  I am trying to say that what is often portrayed as evil is only used to distract.

I also don’t want to have this construed that I don’t believe in absolute truth.  Because I do know that there are truths that govern this earth and human existence. I believe in a loving God who cares for his children and wants to protect them and he has given us truths we should know and live by.

But I also believe that the devil is a tricky being.  He knows that if he tried to entice us to choose between good and evil that good will very likely win.  So, he has to get more deceptive in his attempt to get us to choose wrong.

A false dichotomy is where there are two apparent opposites that we must pick between.  If we pick one side then the other is the assumed evil.  We can’t support the one if we feel that the other is true.  However, the real truth lies somewhere outside the dichotomy.

When I say outside of the dichotomy, I don’t mean necessarily in the middle.  I am not trying to argue a centrist perspective.  There are several places that the truth can really lie.

One of these is in the middle. Not necessarily the exact middle, but that depends on the topic. Another option for countering a false dichotomy is both sides are true (or have some truth in them) and the solution is to find out how these apparent opposite truths are to work together.  A third option for solving a false dichotomy is found completely outside of the spectrum of the dichotomy.  This is where we are caught chasing two falsehood losing sight of the real truth.

Here are several false dichotomies that I have found commonly fought over in our society.  Things that on their face value are opposites, but in reality they are not:

Men vs. Women (feminism)
Republican vs. Democrat
Science vs. ReligionBlack vs. White (racism)
Capitalism vs. Poverty

I don’t wish to discuss any of these false dichotomies in-depth here.  Rather, I want to introduce you to the concept. I am sure there are more false dichotomies.  I would love to hear your thoughts.  What false dichotomies have you seen promoted in society.

So, What do you think?