How “love of God” and “love of neighbor” defines your life, your family, your politics and your future.
ProLifeCorner- By Larry Plachno
Give me a few minutes of your time and I will share with you some of the highlights of 25 years of research into interconnected social problems that will probably change the way you look at society. It may even change the way you look at good and evil in your own life.
Summertime of 2015 marks 25 years since I began research on what some of us call Interconnected Social Problems. At that time I had five kids and was disenchanted with “Political Correctness.” I felt that there must be logical reasons for our social problems. Hence, I started research in the summer of 1990 at the downtown Rockford Public library accompanied by two of my kids. For the record, I might mention that I later adopted kid number six and number seven showed up as a pleasant surprise. Hence, I have somewhat of a vested interest in figuring out what is going wrong with our society.
I hasten to add that my original research intentions were very secular in nature. I started out looking for statistics or reports and found several that came from various organizations and agencies. As I got into more detailed research, I was fortunate in being able to get information from other researchers, demographers and groups. In my case it helped a lot that my education and experience was in the areas of research and writing. There are numerous people out there researching and working in various aspects of all this information that will share information with you if you want to get involved. Much of the information and statistics has been generated over decades of computer-assisted research.
None of this is rocket science and most of it is pretty simple and logical. Just follow along with me and I will share a simplified version of what we found after 25 years of looking at reports, statistics and numbers.
Interconnected Social Problems
It does not take much research to figure out that our actions and decisions as well as much of our social problems are interconnected by our attitudes. A simple way to look at things is that when we are faced with an action or decision that can impact others, we have two choices. We can be unselfish and do what it best for other people and society. Or, we can do what we want regardless of whom we harm. Putting others first and working with others is the answer to improving our society and eliminating social problems.
What soon became obvious to those doing the research is that today’s modern statistics for reducing social problems effectively echoed and endorsed the teachings of Jesus Christ. God sent His Son to earth to atone for our sins. Hence, we know that good and evil are of top importance with God and that some atonement must be made for evil. Jesus Christ gave us two basic commandments to live by: love of God and love of neighbor. We love God by judging our actions as good or evil. We are a follower of Jesus Christ by defining “good” as what is best for other people and society.
The logic is inescapable. If you feel that good and evil do not exist, then let’s eliminate laws and courts. If you do not believe that “good” means what is best for other people then don’t worry about people selling drugs to kids or shooting guns in school.
Society as a Team
The real question here is why do modern computer-generated statistics surrounding social problems and the teachings of Jesus Christ agree so perfectly? I have yet to find any point of disagreement and I know of no other researcher who has. The answer, somewhat obviously, is that Jesus Christ knew that people come out ahead when they work with each other and unselfishly put others first. If there is a “secret of the universe,” this is it. The problem we have is that we have yet to understand what the modern statistics and the wisdom of Jesus Christ are telling us.
What has become obvious is that society works much like a team. When we work together and put others first we all come out ahead. However, when we put ourselves first and fail to work together with others it is difficult for our team to win. A good example is that we need to work together and decide which side of the road to drive on. Failure to work together would lead to accidents and little progress in transportation. Failure to work together is what causes problems for our nation including social problems.
While we say that “love of God” means judging your actions and decisions as good or evil, this is not limited to Christians. Atheists and numerous people with other religious beliefs also understand the need to judge their actions and put others first in order for our society to work properly.
Historically, failing to work together has caused many of the worst carnage in human history including wars, genocide, ethnic cleansing and mass murders. In contrast, some of the greatest human achievements were the result of people working together for a common goal that benefited others. One of the best examples of working together is marriage and family with marriage usually cited as being the single more important factor in eliminating social problems.
The Line from Right to Left
Most of the major decisions in our life are determined by our acceptance of “love of God” and “love of neighbor.” Visualize a line from right to left with each of us located at some position on that line. Those more to the left tend to put themselves first while those to the right are more likely to put others first as well as believe in love of God and love of neighbor. Those on the far right tend to believe in good and evil and go out of their way to work with and help others. Those on the far left are less likely to believe in good and evil and doing what is best for society.
This line can be defined in several other ways. It can be said that those on the far left believe in individual rights over others while those on the far right believe in our responsibilities to others. Those on the far left are more likely to build their lives around themselves while those on the far right are more likely to build their lives around a spouse and family.
As you move down this line from right to left you will find that the ideal family size of an individual becomes smaller. Those on the left will have fewer children and are less likely to be married. Those on the left are less likely to attend church regularly. On the other hand, married people are statistically less likely to commit crimes or be the victim of crimes. Unmarried women are more likely to have abortions than married women and represent 80 percent of abortions.
Your position on this line also determines your politics since those on the left are more likely to vote for liberal issues and liberal candidates. Those on the right are more likely to vote for conservative issues and conservative candidates.
It is important to note that cities and states can also be placed on this line with a fair degree of accuracy. In fact, it is often much easier to determine what a city or state will do because of the larger numbers of people involved. With one individual, the statistics are more difficult to follow. This is essentially how we get blue states and red states. Demographers have shown that in major elections, and controlling for any unusual factors, the states with the highest fertility levels will vote for conservative candidates while those with the lowest fertility levels will vote for liberal candidates.
The big problem is that people do not seem to understand how this works. This kind of information rarely gets into the mainstream media because liberals do not like to admit that problems are interconnected since that would show that good and evil exists. Once you admit that good and evil exists, it is difficult to justify putting yourself first instead of others.
What is interesting is that in recent years there has been a trend for people to move into areas to join similar people like themselves. Families with children have been moving out of big cities and into suburban and rural areas. Single people from suburban and rural areas have gravitated into big cities. Hence, this polarization of America with the rights on one side and responsibilities on the other side is becoming more pronounced in different areas.
There are all kinds of statistics to show this. Researcher Philip Longman pointed out that in progressive Seattle there are nearly 45 percent more dogs than kids while in conservative Salt Lake City, there are nearly 19 percent more kids than dogs. This obvious difference is not based on any shortage of canine breeders in Utah, but is based on local fertility levels that are in turn based on the area’s position on that line from right to left.
Utah, where something like two-thirds of the residents are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints, has the highest fertility rate in the United States with 92 children born annually for every 1.000 women. Utah also has one of the highest rates of church attendance in the United States. Longman also pointed out that 47 percent of people who attend church want a family of three or more children. However, only 27 percent of people who seldom attend church want a family of this size. It is all interconnected.
What makes people move away from judging their actions as good or evil and working with others? Some of the people working in this area call this process desensitization.
The best way to explain desensitization is to go back to the discussion over whether kids should be allowed to watch violence on television. Parents generally were against this. However, some of the liberals said that kids had a right to be pro-choice in their viewing habits The experts stepped in and sided with the parents. They disclosed that as kids watched more and more violence, they became desensitized to it and began accepting violence as normal behavior.
Essentially this same process is at work in our society with both adults and children. When you see people setting aside good and evil and putting themselves first, you are more likely to do the same. If you are told that it is OK to set aside good and evil and put yourself first, you are more likely to do just that.
There may not be much we can do about the mainstream media. However, we can certainly try to give a good example ourselves by judging our actions as good or evil and by making decisions that show we care about others. Supporting marriage would be high on our list.
One obvious item that has come to light is that the liberal position is basically illogical because it says that good and evil only apply to some people and not others. Liberals will try to ignore interconnections as well as good and evil because that undermines their position that everything is a choice. They will say that good and evil applies to selling drugs to kids and shooting guns in schools but not to abortion and marriage. Hence, if you want to argue with a liberal, talk about whether good and evil exists for everyone or not.
Note that marriage comes out in the research as the best way to eliminate social problems. Jesus Christ blessed marriage with the Wedding Feast at Cana. Today’s statistics show that married people are less likely to be homeless, less likely to live in poverty, less likely to commit crimes and less likely to be the victim of crimes. Where children are concerned, they statistically do better in a home with their biological parents. Marriage is the basic building block of society where we learn to set aside our selfishness and work with others.
There are numerous conservatives who may be fighting individual battles but are not helping in the overall war to promote love of God and love of neighbor. There are religious leaders who no longer want to talk about he evils of divorce and single parenting for fear of offending someone. There are several groups who do a marvelous job fighting against abortion and other ills but totally ignore the underlying problems of lack of love of God and lack of love of neighbor in so many other actions and decisions.
The question is where does each of us stand on that line from right to left? More importantly, in which direction do you want to go in the future?
Editors Note: Larry Plachno is a successful businessman, publisher, author, and composer of an incalculable number of articles relating to family, life issues and associated problems and solutions. This barely scratches the surface of what Larry really is. His love of God, family and country is inspiring.
For years now Larry has shared his writings with us here at the ProLifeCorner and we are truly humbled by his generosity.
Larry is also an ardent blogger and is a prolific writer. You can follow his work at: www.unselfish.org