This Pandemic is a perfect example of a test where there isn’t a right answer. Efforts to stifle the Virus stifle businesses and jobs. But efforts to stimulate businesses and jobs stimulate the Virus. Here are several keys to navigating through these bad options—through this No-Win-Scenario.
I often talk about what I call “The Fallacy of the Multiple Choice Exam”. What is this Fallacy?
Starting in kindergarten, we are given a list of options to choose among. Only one of them is the right answer. But in real life, there’s no guarantee that any of the options is right.
This Pandemic is a perfect example of a test where there isn’t a right answer.
Efforts to stifle the Virus stifle businesses and jobs. But efforts to stimulate businesses and jobs stimulate the Virus.
Here are several keys to navigating through these bad options—through this No-Win-Scenario.
All sides of these controversies need to heed the wisdom of Jesus as he hung in agony on the cross.
Jesus said to those who tortured and executed him: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 24:34).
If someone’s efforts to save lives “tortures and executes” your business or job, your attitude should be “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
If someone’s efforts to save businesses and jobs increases illness and death, your attitude should be “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
All sides of these controversies need to heed the wisdom of Jesus when he urged us to understand and perceive what is wrong with our own views before we denounce what is wrong with the other person’s views.
Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “You hypocrite[s], first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5).
All sides of these controversies need to heed the wisdom of Isaiah: “Come now, and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18 (KJV)).
How do we reason together in this multiple choice exam that has no right answers—in this No-Win-Scenario?
First, who are the “we” who must reason together?
All of those who cherish the Vision of the ideal America first discovered in the hearts of Abraham, Moses and Jesus. An America that blesses all people, challenges all pharaohs, and heals all people.
There’s no point reasoning with people who don’t care about blessing all people, setting all people free, and healing all people.
Their hearts are calloused. They don’t see or hear, understand or perceive all the sacrifices and sufferings. They are too pre-occupied seeing and hearing ways to increase the Power of their Money, the Power of their Religion, and the Power of their Politics.
Second, how do we reason?
In a Pandemic, the scientific method is the most important way we use reason.
However, we also need to use many other ways we reason: economics, business, sociology, law, political science, psychiatry, philosophy, ethics, and religion.
No way of reasoning should be excluded. All ways of reasoning are needed to overcome this crisis and to build a civilization that is good, that is very good.
Third, people of goodwill must reason together! Why?
This No-Win-Scenario is so complex that we need to reason together about it in every way possible.
A deeper reason why people of goodwill must reason together is the human tendency to go astray. (Isaiah 53:6).
We all go astray because we are drawn toward the Power of Money, the Power of Religion, and the Power of Politics.
We all go astray because we see the speck in the other person’s eye and ignore the plank in our eye.
Freedom of Speech is the only way to discover when we are going astray.
Those who are fortunate enough to get bored “eating cake” must listen to those who struggle to find their daily bread.
Those who do not understand science and public health medicine must listen to those who have dedicated decades of their lives to gaining this expertise.
Those who do not understand business and economics must listen to those who have dedicated decades of their lives to gaining this expertise.
Those who do not understand how government and its bureaucracy function must listen to those who have spent decades gaining expertise operating governments of the people, by the people, and for the people.
We must not listen to argue. We must listen to understand. Then we must talk with each other, not argue with each other.
There is no right answer to this multiple choice exam—to this No-Win-Scenario.
All paths ahead lead through the Valley of the Shadow of Death—not just physical death, but the death of America—the death of the last, best hope of Humanity.
Nevertheless, I believe that the Way of America and the Way of Jesus shall overcome these perils.
Like Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise, I do not believe in “No-Win-Scenarios” even when the outlook is grim and the odds are against us.
Like Jeremiah during dark decades when Ancient Israel walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I believe that the LORD has “plans to give [us] hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Why? Because the LORD’s “compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is [his] faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Like Isaiah during dark centuries when Ancient Israel walked through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I have faith that “those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
For additional Pandemic Wisdom, please read my blogs “Fear Not the Pestilence That Stalks in the Darkness” “Getting Out of Your ‘Tent’”, “Trusting The LORD Will Provide”, “Pandemic Wisdom: Praying and Waiting”, “Pandemic Wisdom: Hear and See, Understand and Perceive”, and “Pandemic Wisdom: Visions of America”.
For additional thoughts about some of the themes touched upon here, please read my blogs “Building Houses on Rock: Mission Impossible”, “Building Houses on Rock: Mercy and Forgiveness”, “Building Houses on Rock: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”, “Building Houses on Sand: Specks and Planks”, and “Intensive Care Units or Health Clubs”.
For those who are not as familiar with Star Trek as I am, Cadet Jim Kirk was the only star fleet academy cadet who ever beat the “No-Win-Scenario”.
In the test, the cadet was given command of a starship in a computer generated scenario that was programmed to make it impossible to save your starship from destruction. The purpose of the test was to evaluate how the cadet reacted when death and defeat were unavoidable.
Cadet Kirk beat the No-Win-Scenario by re-programming the computer that was giving the exam. In a Star Trek movie, Kirk said that he hadn’t cheated. He simply didn’t believe in a No-Win-Scenario.
In another Star Trek movie, Kirk noted that, since he was being called upon to help, it must mean that “the outlook is grim and the odds are against us”.