From my most recent post at The Blazing Center:
It seems most people function under the assumption that everything in life is a zero sum game. Basically (extremely basically) that means that everything equals out to zero in the end. Imagine having 10 dollars. If I took ten you would have zero, if two people took 5 you would have zero, and so on. The sum would always end up so that the gains by some leave others with nothing. In areas of life that aren’t quite so numbers oriented it looks more like “I am right and you are wrong” or “If this is true then that is not.”
Whether or not we realize it, it is this sort of black and white mindset that causes all sorts of conflict. For example, my wife and I were recently going out on a date. She walked into the room ready to go and I complimented her hair. Her immediate response? “Oh, you don’t like my outfit?” I had not realized that the total number of compliments allowed was one and I had brought sum to zero by using it on her hair. Such a light-hearted example still shows the mentality to think in stark terms about subtle or complex issues. I actually loved her outfit, but by emphasizing my appreciation for her hair I had left the door open for her to misunderstand me.
Many of the instances when this happens aren’t nearly so trivial . . .
Such thinking is a logical failure and faulty reasoning. It stems from a lack of thoughtfulness and willingness to listen and consider all sides of an issue. Just recently I saw somebody tweet something to the effect of “The gospel is about how we live this life not where we go in the next.” Really? The gospel is not about where we go when we die? Nonsense. The gospel is about both! The argument is about which side of a coin is the “true” side without ever realizing it’s the same blasted coin.
. . .