Open, Closed, or Slightly Ajar?

What is it about skeptics and their unrelenting urge to call me close minded? They say I’m not open minded enough. They say I’m too fixed on one position and unwilling to listen to their arguments. However, I believe it is they who are close minded. And I’ll prove it too.

What is open minded anyway? Let us consult a dictionary shall we? says open mindedness is:

o·pen-mind·ed (pn-mndd)

Having or showing receptiveness to new and different ideas or the opinions of others.

So, what does this mean? From the looks of it, it means being ready and able to take other people’s opinions and views on issues, considering them thoroughly and then either accepting or rejecting it based on evidence previously collected. I sure don’t see anything about believing the other person’s view, or stopping the belief in my own views.

In my book, being open minded is about listening to the other person or group. Its about debate and logic. And ultimately its about rejection or acceptance. Beyond that, its about respecting the other person’s view and the choice that they made to accept that view and the expectation that they will show you the same consideration.

What about close mindedness? What is that? Going back to good ol’, we see that close minded means:

close-mind·ed (klsmndd, klz-) or closed-mind·ed (klzd-)

Intolerant of the beliefs and opinions of others; stubbornly unreceptive to new ideas.

So what does this mean? Looks like, the moment you hear someone’s opinion and it doesn’t agree with yours, and you haven’t considered that view thoroughly before, and you reject it outright or you use ad homonym attacks rather than logic to debate the view, that is close mindedness.

Now, lets look at what I do. Say I go into a chat room and there are wiccans or democrats, or whatever, talking. My self, I would listen to their views and try to understand why it is they believe what they believe. Not only does that increase my knowledge, but it helps me understand their view and how, if necessary, to debate them on topics. I would ask a lot of questions, some to get answers, and some to make them question their own views so we both can understand the basis for their stance. I have gotten a lot of respect for my approach from various people who will go unnamed. And I in turn learn to respect their opinion, and if well presented and debates are well argued, we learn to agree to disagree and build mutual respect for each other’s views.

There is one group of people who I run into problems with. That would be the group of “open minded” individuals called liberals, or anti-religious, or anti-conservative, or anti-morals, you get the picture. When I try to ask questions to them, I’m called stupid or an idiot. If I try and bring up a point, they shoot it down with nothing more than an argument similar to “thats a retarded stance” or “you’re just a puppet for the religious right.” If I try and debate them, they use old, worn out arguments that have substantial evidence to the contrary. If you show them the evidence they claim its fabricated or untrustworthy. If you challenge their argument you’re a moron. In other words, if you dont believe them, then you have no standing.

So my question is, who is open minded? I’ve been called everything by these people. Holy roller, jesus freak, homophobe, neo-con, nazi, idiot, jew (so much for that diversity stuff they believe in), arrogant, freak, etc, etc, etc. In contrast, unless they start in on the ad homonym attacks, I dont believe I have ever personally attacked a debate partner before. I may be wrong, but if I have, I can’t remember it. (cept where Ger is concerned) But it is I who am the close minded one. Why? Because, I have considered their arguments before and have concluded that their arguments are not substantial enough to warrant accepting. If I only saw things their way, I would be open minded again.

Maybe its time for them to consider MY arguments thoroughly. Maybe its time they considered the idea that THEY may be wrong once and again. I have, believe me. I have challenged more stuff about God and the bible than most of them every have, in any real sense anyway (you know, the kind of challenges that require real thought and not blatant “i hate religion so it must be wrong”) And yet now that I have decided on what is truth, I am close minded because, even though I’m willing to listen and consider, I’m not always willing to take them at their word.

Come on guys. You’re not open minded. You’ve locked yourselves away in a vault and refuse to even peek out. How about we just say its time for you just be a tad bit ajar-minded?

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