On Open Mindedness

I believe in being open minded. Okay, okay, now that your laughter has subsided, please read on and let me explain. If you know me at all, you'll know that I am very opinionated and stubborn in my views. I know this, and (surprise!) I am fine with it. But one thing that surprises people every time I tell them is that I strongly believe in being open minded.

First, let me define what I mean by open-minded. To be open minded is to be willing to change your mind, thoughts, views, or opinions if given adequately logical reasoning to do so.

For example open mindedness is not: changing your religious views because some random person on the street hands you a pamphlet. Open mindedness is: being willing to learn about and consider switching to a new religion because a friend asks you to, and being willing to change if the new one makes more sense/is better (however you decide it would be better...).

Open mindedness is not: changing your views on [insert controversial topic here] just because the person you are arguing with accuses you of being intolerant and closed minded. Open mindedness is having a rational discussion with someone who has a different viewpoint than you, being willing to listen to and consider all viewpoints, and changing your mind if they have a better argument than you do.

I am very open minded. What I mean by this is that I am willing to change my opinion or views on any topic, given proper arguments. Any topic that I have an opinion on, I also have a reason for my opinion (well, 99% of the time). If you happen to give me a better reason for an opposing view point, I will change my opinion immediately. No complaining, no worry about being wrong. All you need to do is give me a better reason to change my mind than I have to keep it the same. That goes for anything, even religion. My willingness to change my point of view comes at the cost of reasoning, and this is often seen as pure stubbornness on my part to change my mind. In fact, I am not unwilling to change my mind, I am unwilling to change my mind without reason.

I am just as open minded with my faith. When it comes to faith, many say that faith by nature is blind and without reason. I disagree. I consider my faith to be like a tree. It has many branches (sources of information) connecting many leaves (topics) and these have no support in the air whatsoever but the tree (faith) itself. If the tree (my faith) was suspended in mid-air (hypothetically), it would have no foundation (blind faith). My faith is not like this. My faith has roots (more information) that go deep into the ground and anchor the tree to the deep soil (reason and logic). My faith is not always rational or based on provable facts (limbs and leaves are in the air), but it is strongly anchored to facts and reason (roots in soil). If my faith is shown to have no roots, I will give it up in an instant, but you'll have to get a pretty big shovel to show me that my roots are rotten! I'll talk about faith more some other time.

Without being open minded, we cannot aspire to any significant higher analytical or theoretical thoughts. In fact, if we are perfectly closed minded, we could not learn anything new, or engage in theoretical discussions of any kind. Only when you are completely open minded can you possibly reach your full potential as a rational, thinking, analytic  human being.

If anything I've said here has made you think, or you would like to make a point or ask me a question, please leave a comment.

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