By Kenneth Justice
~ This past week a reader accused me of less than authentic intentions, she wrote, “A truly interested person would not just take verses out of context”. Apparently, the reader did not like the context and application I used with regard to a number of bible verses in one of my articles. Thus, the reader believes I’m not ‘truly interested’ in the ‘truth’ I suppose or more specifically the truth according to her beliefs.
I always find it interesting how passionate people are when it comes to what they ‘believe the truth is’. Apparently, their contextual understanding of the bible (or any book or issue for that matter) is the only correct view.
I also find it interesting that this particular reader began her comment off with an opening sentence that loudly proclaimed ‘she is right and Kenneth is wrong’, right at the beginning she begins shooting from the hip and accuses me of some type of nefarious behavior, as though I am ‘not interested in the truth’.
How can I respond to someone like this? The reader has made it clear that the only correct context is her interpretation….so the conversation is already over before it has begun. Unless I’m willing to bow to her interpretation there is no discussion to be had. She is unwilling to consider the possibility that she might be the one whose contextual understanding is wrong.
But today’s post is not about attacking this particular reader (that is why I haven’t mentioned her name or supplied a link) it’s about being close-minded in general. Because if we are going to be honest about much of Western Culture we have to admit that the overwhelming majority of us are entirely close-minded. We’re not interested in discussing topics that disagree with our worldview.
We band together in closed circles of friends and family; with people who agree with us on the majority of issues.
If you are conservative, chances are the majority of your friends hold conservative views. If you are liberal, most of your friends are likely liberal. Whatever your particular belief system, it is usually rare to find people who are close friends with people who hold to different philosophical beliefs.
However, if our lives are based on the idea that we really do care about the truth, then our actions should reflect such a belief. We should be more than willing to engage in dialogue with people who hold to contrary belief systems, we should be excited to talk to people who don’t agree with us….right?
I mean, unless we have already attained some kind of ethereal perfected knowledge when it comes to knowing all things……then the only way we can continue to seek the truth is to keep an ongoing dialogue with a whole assortment of people…..right?
This then brings me to a couple serious questions;
–) when people cut-themselves-off from dialogue with people who hold different beliefs…..does this mean they are not interested in the truth?
–) What about relatives who stubbornly cling to resentment, anger, and hostility…..are they in doing so demonstrating a lack of love for truth?
–) What about those of us who go decades without ever altering our regular routine; we never venture out into new groups of people, dialogue with people outside of our comfort zone, and have serious discussions with people who don’t agree with us…..are we not interested in the truth?
Perhaps for many of us this post is far too simple and silly, perhaps this is nothing new and ‘we’ve heard it all before’. Yet if that is the case, then why are so many people in Western Society living on the edge. Why does it seem that if you slightly disagree with someone you are likely to cause World War 4? Why does it seem that people are so easily offended?
If Western Culture really represents some of the highest levels of philosophy throughout humanity’s history….then why are so many of us all too often so closed-minded?
Perhaps some of you are wondering, “Why do you care so much about the truth Kenneth?”
And if you are asking that question, then I think it’s time for me to take a break from writing this morning and have another cup of coffee.
Categories: Culture & Society