Open Minded Christians vs. Close Minded Religionist

Open Minded Christians vs. Close Minded Religionist

 Simply saying you're right doesn't mean you are - even if you have a sign

Simply saying you're right doesn't mean you are - even if you have a sign

I have heard the term "close-minded" twice this week. Once in reference to people on opposing sides of the Syrian refugee debate and the second referred to a theological discussion concerning spiritual gifts.

In both cases, one side declared that the other was "close-minded" and should seek the enlightenment that they had obviously found.

Also, in both cases there was a sense that those on the "close-minded" side were viewed as wrong but also viewed the "open-minded" side as completely in error regarding their beliefs.

So, you got that?  Both sides viewed the other side as being unwilling to change and see the other side....

So I ask the question, "Who is the real close-minded person?"

Define the language, define the argument

I learned as a young lad that he who controls the language always wins the argument. It is said that those who oppose anything that is deemed as "progressive" are simply "close-minded" and need to get with the times. It's the popular insult of the day.

But can I suggest that these fine progressive and open-minded folks are just, dare I really say it, as close-minded against that which society deems "traditional"?

My humble, but pretty realistic view is this: We are all closed-minded people.

Every single one of us. Its called having a worldview. We all have a set of lenses which colors our world a certain way and when something doesn't fit in our world view we reject it. Sometimes we do it arrogantly and thats what really gets us in trouble. The arrogance.

My next point is:  It's ok to be close-minded...but only up until the point when your worldview causes you or others harm.*

If we were fully open-minded people, we would never make a stand or fight for anything. No changes would ever be made. It would be the universal social equivalent of the spousal argument:

"What do you want for dinner?"

"I don't know what do you want for dinner?"

And nothing ever gets accomplished.

Christian vs. Religionist

A religionist finds arrogance in his own belief system. The source of all confidence is that his or her worldview is inherently better than his opposition. This is where arrogance turns to smugness.  And smugness blocks all progress.

A Christian finds confidence in Christ and the work of the cross. The confidence is that God's word will stand despite the shifting of cultural beliefs. There is an ingrained humility when your position is based on the sacrifice of a Savior instead of a self-constructed worldview. 

If you were to strip away the arrogance of all sides, it comes down to a stingily healed belief of what actually is the best way to live life. And when you look at it like that then maybe, just maybe, there is not a need to hate the other side. Disagree, for sure. But not hate.

If you discover that your worldview is harming you or others then you need to make a change. It may be your prerogative to believe in the uncontrolled burning of buildings without consequence but I imagine that might be cause of much harm to many others. And perhaps if you were to negotiate someone to your viewpoint you might find that one day you'll arrive home only to see it engulfed in flames.

*and it's never ok to be arrogant—confident, yes. Arrogant, no.

 

About the Author | Josh Schaidt
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I love cookies and I still buy music one album at a time. Started @EmptyChurch for you.


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This American Church
A place for exploring the Church in the American context. Issues may get political, cultural, and philosophical — but it’s always personal.

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