Red Herring

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, December 8, 2011 0 comments

I have to admit that my initial thought when I heard the term “red herring” for the first time was the Dr. Seuss book “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.” After all, a red herring is a red fish, right?

Well, not exactly. In the literary or discussion sense, it refers to diverting attention away from what is significant. To use this in practice, I could be writing a blog to describe various discussion tactics, and then suddenly say, “Squirrel!” That would divert your attention away from learning about the concept of a red herring - and be a red herring itself at the same time.

The process of using a red herring tactic is to create a diversion or distraction away from the topic at hand. While this is commonly used among human discussions, I find this to be most prevalent in my spiritual life. The devil is constantly seeking to distract me from focusing on God by distracting me with all sorts of things. The devil’s red herring could be my mind wandering when I’m trying to pray, or wanting the “shiny” things of this world, or any number of other things.

We as humans are easily distracted, especially in this age of the Internet where a million distractions are at our fingertips, whether it be videos on YouTube or Farmville on Facebook. Even just checking constantly for our friends’ Twitter and Facebook updates can be a huge distraction. All of these things serve as red herrings in our life - they distract us from what is most important, which is living our lives for Jesus Christ and working to bring glory to God.