“Every faction conditions its members to think and act a certain way. And most people do it. For most people, it’s not hard to learn, to find a pattern of thought that works and stay that way. But our minds move in a dozen different directions. We can’t be confined to one way of thinking, and that terrifies our leaders. It means we can’t be controlled. And it means that no matter what they do, we will always cause trouble for them.” – Veronica Roth – Divergent Author
“Faction before blood.” That’s the premise behind the best selling Divergent science fiction books and movies by Veronica Roth. The story takes place in a dystopian and post-apocalyptic Chicago. Dystopian is an imaginary society where there is great suffering and injustice. Post-apocalyptic means it’s set in the time after a catastrophic event like a nuclear war. In dystopian Chicago, the people are divided into five distinct factions based on human virtues: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), and Erudite (the intellectual). The remaining population, the Factionless, have no status or privilege. These factions are at odds with each other and must be separated to maintain a ‘false peace.’ The main character Beatrice Prior (Tris), is told she is divergent (different) and will never fit into any one of the factions. It is interesting—check it out.
It seems these days we are bent on dividing ourselves into FACTIONS – small organized dissenting groups within a larger one, especially in politics. A faction is also the state of conflict or dissension itself. We are all watching (or participating) as the Country and even the Church divide into factions. People are protesting or celebrating—warring and pontificating on social media about a variety of complex subjects. Many disagreements ignore nuances and grays, and stand offs don’t bring about peace, empathy, or understanding..
Factions are listed as one of the ‘works of the flesh’ in Galatians 5.“19The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions (disagreement that leads to discord), factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” The Greek word for factions is hairesis, from which we get heresies. A heresy is defined as belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious (especially Christian) doctrine; an opinion profoundly at odds with what is generally accepted. The Lexicon describes hairesis as a self-chosen opinion, a religious or philosophical sect, discord, or contention. But according to this Galatians passage…it’s not just the contrary belief that is a work of the flesh—but also the fostering/perpetuating of an atmosphere of discord, disagreement, and dissension. This shows that you could possibly be right and wrong at the same time—right about what you believe, but wrong about how you present it. Maybe these situations call for Divergent folks.