Thursday, July 18, 2013

Closed Minded

So I butted into a Facebook conversation last night with a former student and wrestler of mine. Good kid. The conversation was on atheists vs. Christians and what he perceives as Christians being closed minded. This, of course, is a very common accusation toward anyone involved in any religion. I think it stems from religious folk trying to impose their "morals" and "ideals" (or God's, depending on perspective I suppose) onto non-religious folk through legislation, evangelism, and even through discourse. Well, this conversation has me thinking. I will try to present my scattered thoughts on the subject in an organized manner.

1) If I don't believe as you do and I emphatically tell you why, how, etc., and in this discussion also try to "win" the argument or debate, does that mean I am trying to change your way of life or just best you at verbal fisticuffs? Can one not just debate for the sake of debate? It seems to be human nature (all people, not just religious or non-religious) to take comments personally due to our preconceived notions of the other side and also due to our personal, limited ability to stretch our minds outside of our own little worlds. No one is really immune to this unless you purposefully train yourself to see outside of yourself.

2) Is it such a bad thing to try to change someone's mind or way of life if I perceive their way of life as detrimental to them and I care about them? If I knew your house was on fire and you couldn't see it, would I be a bad person if I didn't warn you? What if I believed your house was going to catch on fire due to previous experience and circumstantial evidence, should I tell you? I mean, the temperature has not risen yet and there are no measurable data I can point to but I know that there are danger signs. Should I tell you? What if I am wrong? Should I never try to tell you again if there is even stronger evidence? My point is, if I care about someone and believe they are in danger of any sort, I should tell them. It is my obligation as a human being.

3) Do the mistakes, misinterpretations, abuses and generally evil deeds of people in the past justify the hatred of people in the present? I see this all the time. Christianity must be bad because people used it to justify slavery, genocide, etc. Islam must be evil because people blew up buildings. Those people were not right. Those people committed atrocities. I have not. There are bad people in every circle. You don't hate the circle because of the bad members. I am really sorry if some Christian was hateful or mean to you. You won't get that from all of them, I promise.

4) Finally, is it really so bad to be closed minded? Doesn't that just mean you have made a decision? Can't that be synonymous with "principled" and "disciplined" and "focused"? Perhaps one of the greatest "problems" in this modern age of enlightenment is that people never close their minds and thus never really move forward. Multi-tasking is a sure fire way to actually get NOTHING done. I am not approaching this from an "ignorance is bliss" perspective, more from a "make a decision and move on" perspective. You can always re-evaluate if something shifts your paradigm, but stop waffling. Look at our congress. As an entity, congress is the most open minded unit in the country. All they do is debate and discuss all the possibilities ad nauseum. They get nothing done. Is it closed minded of me to have made a decision, to stick to it and to move forward down that path? I don't think it is, I think it is called being decisive.

My 2 cents. The topic is now open for debate with all my open minded, enlightened waffler and my closed minded, mean, friends.

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