Tribalism and Truth

We’ve been busy here at Catholic Beer Club. As we generate new posts through a new growing mentality of writing, we are continually building ourselves upward and outward. A key facet of our mission is to evangelize and encounter the world without agendas. That’s a tough mission, considering the purpose of evangelizing is to bring the Good News to all people. We, though, are committed to ensuring that this Good News comes in the form of a beer and not a soapbox, given to you in a relationship, not a lecture. We believe this in all things that we do, and we are confident about it. And we love to do it. We live in a world of lost souls, and like you, we are a people longing for a place, a home, and a community. We are lost sheep seeking our flock.

We notice as one of the most prevalent aspects of our being lost is something everyone likes to talk about: dating. Yes, dating, the D-word, the one where we all have some opinion or another and we all still don’t have a clue what the right way forward is. Of course, I exaggerate with all; there are certainly some helpful and truthful commentaries out there. But for the most part we struggle to build relationships with our counterparts and to establish and enjoy joint companionships of both love and responsibility.

For the past two months CBC has been banging our heads against the wall trying to figure out what it is that prevents us from understanding something that should be inherent to the human heart. I began with a forcefully blunt criticism on the unproductive overreaction to the secular dating crisis. Our editors liked parts of the draft, but made some significant changes. We went back and forth, not exactly sure we were getting anywhere. We couldn’t figure it out. We kept thinking, “Surely it can’t be this hard?” We chewed on it until we couldn’t chew anymore. We brought our heads together, and sometimes they banged a little too hard, and we just got even more dazed. And that’s how we stumbled upon something very important. Division.

Part of the Good News is unity. We are a united body of people, and despite our cultural, geographic, and historic backgrounds, we are one. Don’t take this as some idealistic desire for peace on earth. What we’re say saying is that we are all rational animals capable of arriving at the same truth. The problem, though, is that our pride awakens a subtle yet strong division. Meaning, someone can say something truthful or founded on the truth; but, because of the many diverse experiences we each have (which we often take as the totality of truth), we divide the truth into a sort of opinionated tribalism. “This is the truth!” Well, sort of. You have a stake in the truth, but that doesn’t mean you have the whole picture.

Dating is a victim of this tribalism. Our human intellect should lead us to a universal truth about dating that we can all utilize. But, our human pride says that when we experience just a sliver of this truth, we claim it as the only and entire truth. This is wrong. The division is perpetuated by tribal leaders who comprise the vast majority of people talking about dating. Call these 90 percent or so of people the theoretical experts. They’re smart, they have background, and they are probably correct in numerous aspects. But they batter back and forth on the validity or invalidity of each other. In the end, when we all present different ideas, we are no closer to understanding what to do. Or worse, we subscribe wholesale to one mentality or another at the risk of excluding something additionally truthful.

But then there are those who refuse to partake in a tribe. They exile themselves and, like nomads, go from place to place, gathering everything they can to understand the whole truth. Call these people your field experts, the 10 percent that not only have a stake in the truth, but have an experiential authority on the broad spectrum of human experience. They’ve seen just about everything, they’ve rooted themselves in the truth of human nature and natural law, and have drawn valid conclusions on the human heart. They do not make comments that simply add onto the truth; they establish declarations about the truth itself, which we can all understand. We have some examples in mind, and we’re excited to share some of them in the future.

We at CBC and many of our readers know that there is some problem in dating today, even if we can’t quite name it. We believe that this problem cannot be remedied by creating more problems or by dividing our solutions into tribes. And we believe that the path forward to resolving our difficulty lies with the truth, and begins with its most basic fundamental facets. These three principles are how we at CBC plan on presenting any further posts on dating. We call it a lens, and not a platform. We don’t have perquisites on dating that must be met; if we did we would be guilty of establishing a hegemonic tribe. We understand that people experience dating in vast and diverse ways. What we are doing here is asking our authors to take those experiences and look at them through our three-part lens. The problems they find and the solutions they offer must begin with truth, which is most universal to all, and elucidated by the field experts, not the tribal leaders.

What we ask from you is to help us find those field experts, those Noble Nomads who have experienced the world and seen humanity at its best and worst. We have some pretty good ideas of where to start, but we’re not monopolists, and want to see who else is out there that we haven’t thought of. Comment below to offer your suggestions. We’re all lost sheep today, just trying to find our way back home.