Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Attachment theory, Politics, and Everything Else

In class we dove into the subject of Attachment theory and worked our way to how that affects our view and understanding of God. It was incredibly shocking to me that the actions of one’s caregiver in the first 18 months of life have a major impact on the rest of the individual’s life. This places a huge burden on any parent and makes their job that much more important. As a matter of fact, I was rather frustrated at the whole idea and felt helpless in light of it. It makes a great deal of sense when you consider that we really do not know anything when we are born but its hard to believe that we have so little control over the development of our personalities. In the same light, our relationship with others also lays the ground work for our relationship with God. When I considered this, I immediately set out to find some discussion on this recent news and stumbled across an article in the USA Today in 2006. While it is a bit dated it gives a tangible picture of faith in the United States and correlates one’s view of God to his or her values in politics. The article discusses the beliefs of Americans in areas that are disputed between denominations and those that are agreed upon and also highlights four major views of God. The article goes on to connect these major views of God with and what each group subsequently values in politics.

This article intrigued me for a number of reasons, the primary reason being its connection to our class discussion last Thursday. In class we started out by laying the groundwork for attachment theory and worked our way to God attachment. It blew my mind how much impact those first 18 months had and had it stopped there I would have been flabbergasted, but it didn’t. From our views of God, we can take the next step and break down our views in politics, as discussed in the article. The fact is childhood attachment to our caregivers affects just about everything. The more I think about the theory, the more it connects my entire life. All this time I’ve been under the impression that I am who I am because of my choices, and I am my own person. While I can examine some aspects of “me” and take credit for them, I can only trace these back so far before I run back to the true source. This source being the groundwork for any schema or framework I would build upon for the rest of my life. In our infancy, we are completely dependent upon our caregivers to show us what relationships look like and to meet our needs. This makes it completely logical to conclude that we will see the world through that schema for the rest of our lives. Our worldview, beliefs, mindsets, outlook on life, motivation, etc., are all based on the foundation are parents laid for us. I chose the picture of a chain because it symbolizes the connection between each and every one of our beliefs. In the past, I've seen my beliefs as based on unique and separate situations and circumstances in my life but now I see them as the result of each and every belief before it.

The challenge and conclusion I came to after reading this article has lead me to question why we believe what we believe in every context. In knowing why I think and feel the way I do, I can better understand myself and I can work on changing the thought patterns and behaviors that are not based on truth, and are not healthy for me. I can also try to do the same for others and meet them where they are. When you consider why someone acts the way they do or believes what they believe from the perspective of attachment theory, it is easier to understand them and help them change. When we know the true root of anything we can stop treating the symptoms and instead treat the cause. Attachment theory also forces us to evaluate our true beliefs about God and, once we know our expectations of God, it allows us to grow closer to Him. To truly grow closer to God we have to determine what our basest beliefs about him are. Only then will we be able to shed the lies we believe about God and walk freely in His love and grace. When we see God as a disappointed judge, a wrathful oppressor, a distant and unloving being, or non-existent we are not seeing Him through the truth, but instead through the false schemas that our parents have unknowingly given us. We are not destined to live like this forever but can instead break the cycle by abandoning our misconceptions and embracing His truth.

Did attachment theory rock your world too? How does your view of God affect your walk with Him?

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