Words of Healing “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” – Jesus (Matt 24:35).

17Jul/131

The Open-Minded Person

By definition, open-mindedness is being receptive to argument. Open-mindedness has nothing to do with what you believe but how you respond to people who disagree with you. A truly open-minded person doesn't simply want to know what a person believes but also wants to know why, listens to the argument, then makes a decision on whether they believe the argument has any merit. Being open-minded does not require that you agree with the person. In fact, the truly open-minded person can walk away from the argument thinking the argument is complete nonsense without losing any of their open-mindedness. However, contrary to the definition of open-minded, the term Open-Minded has now come to mean a very specific world-view with a very real set of beliefs.

Instead of wanting to know why a person believes what they believe and being receptive to argument, the Open-Minded person merely wants to know what a person believes so that they can properly label that person as either Open-Minded or Narrow-Minded. Literally, Open-Minded people sometimes ask yes or no questions about certain politically correct issues to determine whether or not a person is Open-Minded. Do you see the difference? The Open-Minded person has no real interest in dialogue. There is nothing open about the Open-Minded. Rather, the words are just a label in similar vein to Jews calling non-Jews "Gentiles", Muslims calling non-Muslims "Infidels", and Christians calling outsiders "Sinners". The modern Open-Minded person has claimed to have forsaken religious bigotry, but by labeling people with the "right belief" as Open-Minded and people with the "wrong belief" as Narrow-Minded Bigots...this modern belief in non-belief has taken on the fervor and zealousness equal to that of any religion.

This Open-Minded movement is championed by some quite popular people like Oprah. Its members have various religious backgrounds, but there is one belief that binds the Open-Minded people together, which is something along the lines of:

  • All beliefs are equal. All roads lead to heaven (if there even is one).

The above belief of the Open-Minded may sound enlightened and non-exclusive. However, its outworking is a logical dead-end. It is exclusively, non-exclusive, which makes it an unattainable truth claim. Do you see it??? Christianity claims to be the only truth, Islam claims to be the only truth, Judaism claims to be the only truth, Hinduism will believe in just about any God but would never give up on the doctrines of Reincarnation or Karma, which the other three just mentioned will never accept. Therefore, by stating that all beliefs are equal you are saying that all of those exclusive beliefs are wrong while your belief that all are equal is right, which makes your statement an exclusive claim and completely false in its logical outworking.

ALL religions make exclusive truth claims. In order to believe that all religions are equal, an Open-Minded person must reject, rather than accept, all religious truth claims, which will lead them to exist in a perpetual belief in non-belief. In essence it is nothing more than a spiritually flavored atheism or agnosticism...for the only way that all beliefs can be equal is if they are all equally false.5

The Logical Outworking: The Loss of the Sacred

If all truth claims are equally true, then there is no truth. If there is no truth, then there can be nothing sacred. If there is nothing sacred, then a couple copulating is no different than a couple who go rock climbing together. Both activities are enjoyable, stimulate the couple, burn energy, release endorphins, and have a measure of risk to the couple's well-being. By practicing safe copulation, the risks to the couple might be even less than that of rock climbing. Many in American society celebrate the loss of our "archaic and repressed" notions regarding human sexuality and are ecstatic that America has finally shed the bigotry and become so enlightened.  After all, they say, copulation is not that big of a deal so long as safe practices are adhered to.  Copulation between consenting adults doesn't hurt anyone. In fact, since the ideas of free love started in the 1960's, it has gone as far in American society that engaging in fornication isn't just practiced but expected and celebrated. Unfortunately, when you lose the concept of certain acts being sacred, it doesn't stop there. When there is nothing sacred, even things that are now currently social taboos are at risk for becoming the norms for tomorrow, because the Open-Minded rule leaves us no ground by which to say that something is wrong unless there is a proven victim. Let me illustrate:

  • When it comes to drug use, the only perceived victim is the person choosing to do the drugs. Since the Open-Minded view is that we have a right to our own body and beliefs, many believe that drugs should be legalized. In Seattle, recently, marijuana was legalized with an 81% voter turnout (the highest in the nation)1. So, not only is it accepted, but its acceptance was apparently very important to the voters.
  • Likewise, with suicide, since the only victim is the person choosing to commit suicide, there is no basis for an Open-Minded person to say that suicide is wrong.  Now, an Open-Minded person can come alongside the person, try to support them, and try to talk them out of it.  I'm not saying they are amoral.  However, in the end, we all have a right to our own beliefs, and to do with our own bodies what we wish to do, so the Open-Minded person has no ground by which to say that it is wrong.
  • When it comes to prostitution, there is no perceived victim at all (so long as it is between consenting adults).  So, like with the legalization of drugs, the Open-Minded person has no basis by which to say that it is wrong.

So that it's not just me saying that sex is no different than rock climbing, here's a section from an opinion article out of the University of California:

Prostitution is not stigmatized because it is illegal; it is illegal because it is stigmatized. And this stigma rises from the widespread belief that sex is something sacred, something special that should be shared by two people in love, and therefore something that cannot be sold in good moral conscience. That’s not to say this view is wrong –– but it is not an all-encompassing view, either. Emotional connotation aside, protected sex is no different than, say, a massage. It is simply an act in which two (or more) people engage with each other for physical pleasure.4

Please note the Open-Mindedness of the author who says "not to say this view is wrong" in order to be Open-Minded, but then goes on to say that it IS wrong because "protected sex is no different than, say, a massage." Both views can't be right. Either prostitution is wrong and should be illegal, or it isn't wrong and should be legal.

What is frightening, however, is that we have gone from "just say no" in the 1980s to saying yes to drugs and prostitution in the 2010s. That is a fairly short timespan for such drastic changes. What is going to happen in another 30 years? Now that life is no longer sacred but a personal choice and sex is merely a massage that two consenting adults choose to partake in...where will the next generation take it?  When nothing is sacred, when people aren't allowed to voice their opinion unless a victim can be proven, what can we stop?  If there is nothing sacred except the free will of other people so that consensuality is the only moral...what might slip in to blindside us?  What happens when people push against our current social taboos, and since sexuality is nothing sacred, and scientifically it is no different than a massage, and it is no more dangerous than rock-climbing...what happens when someone defends their ability to both rock climb with a child and express love to a child in a way that is "no different than a massage?" As long as it's consensual, is it any different? I wish this were absurd, but this is not such a ridiculous notion.  Recently in Italy, a man's conviction for sleeping with an 11-year-old girl was overturned because the judge ruled that the previous ruling hadn't factored in the amorous relationship.

Currently, in the U.S. we defend against instances like the above and groups like the Man-Boy group by stating that children are too young to make such decisions.  An article from Oxford University states that while pedophilia is becoming regarded as a sexual orientation just like heterosexuality or homosexuality, that we shouldn't worry about it becoming normalized in society like homosexuality because a child cannot reasonably consent to sexuality since they have an under-developed brain and can't give informed consent3. However, we allow children to give informed consent to go rock climbing, we allow children to give informed consent for sexual partners their own age, and we allow children to give informed consent for abortions without any parental knowledge or parental consent. The idea that informed consent is based on the age of the OTHER person is a logically silly notion. So, when our children grow up, having grown up with nothing sacred, what laws will they overthrow in 30 years? What repressed notions of sexuality will they discard? What new things will they approve of in the name of Freedom and Open-Mindedness? Can there be any limits to those who grow up truly believing that nothing is sacred except for freedom itself?

I am deliberately pushing the envelope. At one point the idea that we could ever endanger our children seems absurd to me. However, when I look at how fast our society is overthrowing social norms, I do have a slight measure of concern that I might not be as far off base as I wish I were. We are teaching our children that there is no truth, that there is nothing sacred, that everyone's truth is truth. We have so idolized the concepts of freedom and autonomy that they have become our only guidepost. We can open Pandora's Box and give everyone the freedom to make their own rules, but we cannot control what other people, or the next generation will do with that freedom.

 


  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Initiative_502
  2. wikipedia link
  3. http://blog.practicalethics.ox.ac.uk/2013/01/pedophilia-preemptive-imprisonment-and-the-ethics-of-predisposition/
  4. http://asucd-cms.ucdavis.edu/aggie-clone/2013/03/07/column-sex-work/
  5. "exclusively non-exclusive" and it being more correct to say all religions are false comes from various podcasts by Ravi Zacharias
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  1. great article Kevin. It is scary and I do worry about the children of today and teens. I’m hoping the trends I’ve seen in the past will kick in and the children will be more like we were when I was growing up. The pendulum tends to go to either extreme. Maybe they’ll find the balance I hope. But I want to add, the open minded claimers I’ve met have been very closed-minded to Christians before even hearing what they believe. We’ve been put in a box and labeled with the labels of the extreme ones out there claiming Christianity and spewing hate. That’s one reason I don’t believe in labeling. Everyone needs to look at the individual and get to know how each one thinks and believes and accept them as is. I’m sure there are many hateful ‘open-minded’ people out there, there are murders who’ve claimed to be open-minded, thieves, embezzlers, rapists,and everything else. You’ll find bad seed in every group because each group is made of imperfect people. So I hope we get rid of labels that pre-judge how each individual is.


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