Have you ever heard someone tell you that you need to be more open minded? The most interesting part about that is that most of those people don’t actually realize what they’re saying.
What does it actually mean to be open minded? In general, to be open minded means that you have a willingness (or openness) to listen to, and perhaps even entertain, thoughts or ideas that may directly conflict with your already established beliefs. But that is not how most people mean it.
When most people refer to being open minded, what they’re usually talking about is that a person should not take a stand on something and have firm convictions. Ironically, this is usually only the case when someone’s deeply held beliefs differ from their own.
The other funny thing is that it is a self-refuting idea. After all, these people have deeply held convictions that people should not have deeply held convictions. If you do, you’re being closed minded. Never mind the fact that it’s as self-refuting as saying “it is absolutely true that there is no such thing as absolute truths.”
The fact is, I have deeply held convictions. However, having those convictions does not make me closed minded. If I refused to hear or consider any ideas or evidence which opposed my convictions, I would be closed minded. Atheists, particularly the “new” atheists, tend to actually seem much more closed minded than most of the great Christian thinkers that they love to denigrate.
It seems, from books I’ve read by them, interviews and debates I’ve heard with them, podcasts and radio shows I’ve listened to by them, etc., that they refuse to even consider the possibility of the existence of anything supernatural. Not just God, but anything at all outside the natural world.
One of the ways I’ve heard it put about them is that their manta seems to be something to the effect of “there is no God…and I hate him.” They just don’t like the idea that God might exist.
What I find most interesting about this is the fact that this is biblical. Paul talks about this in Romans 1 when he talks about how men “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” What can I say, the Bible’s got the bases covered.
So, let’s be open minded. But let’s not deny having any deeply held beliefs. It’s ok to believe with conviction. It’s ok to take a stand for what you believe. As long as you’re willing to accept the fact that there’s always at least some chance that you could be mistaken.
Have you ever been called closed minded? Were you truly closed minded? Or did you just believe something very strongly?
Grace, love and peace.