It must be nice to have all the answers. This would probably make life a lot easier. Recently, I’ve been noticing through some conversations I’ve had or in reading various blogs and articles, that it seems as if there are many people out there who believe that they have it all figured out and would rather not think otherwise. When they are presented with an opposing viewpoint, or what they assume is an opposing viewpoint, they immediately become defensive, or even offensive, dismissing whatever it is that seems to be a detriment to what they believe to be true. This point of view can be frustrating to say the least.
It is hard for me to have a conversation with someone who is just looking for a debate. Now, I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for a good discussion or disagreement, but when someone already has decided that they don’t agree with a view before they have even heard what that view is, then I have trouble respecting the argument.
I understand how hard it can be to keep an open mind about things, especially issues or beliefs that are of the utmost importance to a person’s way of life or world view. But just because you have an open mind and are willing to listen to a perspective that may seem foreign to you, doesn’t mean that you are compromising what you believe. Wait, I take that back. I think compromising what you believe may be the point.
Unless you truly do have everything figured out, and I’m going to assume that you don’t, then there must be something that you can learn. How will you learn if you are not willing to listen to other ideas with an open mind? At least through hearing someone out, you will be better able to understand where they are coming from and why you may or may not agree with them.
Let’s talk briefly about truth. I’m not one of those people who hold the opinion that there are no absolute truths. Truth is not relative. I firmly believe this to be true. What is relative, however is our understanding of truth. For great insight on the interpretation of truth and paradigm shifts, check out Don Miller’s Blog.
Let me be clear, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be confident in your beliefs, but what I am saying is why not be open to the fact that you may be wrong? It wasn’t so long ago (okay, 500 years or so isn’t that long ago) that most of the world was sure that the sun moved through the sky; and that the earth was the center of the universe. Needless to say, they were wrong, and what was thought of as a truth needed adjusted. I’m just saying, think about it.
And what’s so bad about the idea that you don’t have everything figured out? I recently heard someone speak about the nature of faith and how belief and doubt relate to faith. Many Christians try to rationalize their faith through things that they believe to be true. They may say that their faith is central to their relationship with God, but really it is what they believe that gives them comfort.
In reality, it seems that doubt plays a bigger role in strengthening one’s faith than belief does. What I mean by this is it is much more difficult to have doubts and be unsure of what is truth, and still have faith that God knows what he is doing. To recognize your doubts but still trust in God only increases your faith.
Next time somebody presents something to you that may seem in opposition to what you hold to be true, don’t immediately dismiss it without first examining what they are saying. Perhaps they aren’t saying what you thought they were saying. Or maybe they are coming from a perspective that you may have never considered. Take the time to understand where they are coming from, and then form your opinion of whether you agree or disagree or are unsure. This may be tough to do at first, but with practice and patience, it will get easier. Let me know how it goes!