It’s at times like these I wish I wouldn’t have attended all of my religion classes in college hungover. Listen – 8am bible classes are not a smart move if you plan on drinking excessively the night before. I mean, at least I showed up, right? But I remember the topic of tolerance and open-mindedness in religion coming up as a discussion one morning, and I remember being like “Christians care too much, chill”, rolling my eyes, and sleeping through the whole thing. Haha my professor at the end of class goes “Meghan, your contributions today were truly thought provoking and intelligent, can’t wait for what you bring to the table next week”. I can’t believe I passed that class – with an “A” no less – that’s the grace of God at work right there.
All of that to say – I’m showing up to the discussion…6 years later.
I used to have an overall opinion that Christians were closed-minded. And I can sort of understand the initial logic to that viewpoint, or I at least remember why I thought that when I did. I mean the overall assumptions about what Christians believe are that we hate gay people, we hate democrats, we hate strong women, we hate sex, we create war, we hate people who have abortions, we hate any other religion other than ours, blah blah blah…we just hate everyone that isn’t us. Intolerant and isolating. Just interesting considering the backbone and bread and butter of Christianity is love…not hate, but I digress.
It’s amazing to me how close minded I was toward God based on false perception, but I touted myself as sooo open minded and inclusive. And I was those things – until someone disagreed with me, especially Christians.
Honestly, I get it. I get how people can look at some of the Christians around them and believe this. I don’t fault you for that, but I hope you’ll explore the opposing viewpoint – that the Christian faith requires its followers to be at the VERY least just as open-minded as anyone else. And can I be real? It’s not open-minded in the least to assume you know the truth about something based on what other people tell you (that goes for Christians too), or even based on assumptions birthed purely from personal perception. Open-mindedness is non-biased exploration and an authentic search for truth. Open-mindedness is the willingness to be changed by the truths that you discover – one way or another.
God has been revealing a really important truth to me lately, and that’s that EVERYONE worships something. Everyone has a god. Whether it be your own ability and self, money, WINE, sex, relationships, “vibes”, or positivity…you name it, every single person worships something. What are you placing your hope and your future in? What are you trusting in? I think about when I went to the Kanye concert, and I pretty much spent most of the time looking around just amazed. All those people there just worshipping a man…a mentally unstable man. Replace Kanye with a worship band and it would’ve been the same picture – hands in the air, screaming, grasping for the thing they all came for. It was a chilling moment when he sang the words, “no one man should have all this power”. Isn’t that the truth. To a lot of people Kanye is a god. Maybe you can’t relate on that level, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t putting your faith in SOMETHING. You are, and it’s time to get real with what that is, and if that “thing” or “ideology” is rooted in truth.
Isn’t it true that we’re all gripping tightly to our own truth? Just as Christians grasp tirelessly to the promises of God, the atheist grips tightly to “good vibes” and their own beliefs. You may be atheist or agnostic calling yourself open-minded, but just because you tolerate any truth the world throws at you – doesn’t make you open-minded. It just makes you…tolerant? Or possibly indifferent? Just as Christians are close-minded to the belief that any other religious claims are “truth”, everyone else does the same. But because others are accepting all the ways of the world and not necessarily standing firm in one truth – they are considered tolerant and malleable – they get to wear the sticker of “open-mindedness”. And isn’t that sweet?
What is opened-minded about simply accepting the truths that the world is throwing at you? That’s just complacency masked as tolerance. That’s just culture pretending to be eternal reality.
I have an overall problem with this idea that Christianity and the belief in Jesus is rigid and closed-minded. I assume this belief stems from people who have never sought out a relationship with the Creator of the world. At least that was the case for myself. Because there is just nothing more open-minded than deeply exploring the spiritual realm of this world, and then letting it actually change you. There’s nothing that requires more surrender. There’s nothing that requires more openness than allowing your heart, mind, and soul to be forever altered. Yeah, it’s that serious.
Not to mention it seems to be this double edge sword. The same people that claim Christianity is full of closed-minded individuals, are the same people who aren’t open-minded enough to actually explore it for themselves – or they assume they already have because they’ve been dragged to church a couple times. That is NOT God. They hear the world telling them what Christianity is, and then they step up on their “open-minded” pedestal, and reject it without exploration.
The same people who claim tolerance are intolerant to the people who radically proclaim their faith. They want to live in a world where no one talks about faith or religion, but instead want everyone to accept “vibes” and the “universe” as truth. Just as firmly as I believe that the Holy Spirit is alive and working – there are others that believe firmly it’s all about “vibes”. Vibes is super culturally popular right now, but just because it’s popular now – does not mean it’s been the truth forever. I would love to read a book about vibes that’s as old, as documented, and as historically backed as the Bible is. I have yet to find one, and please don’t point me to the Yoga Sutras – been there, done that. I’ve explored it all.
I guess the main thing that people who aren’t Christian preach is that faith and religion are personal and that it doesn’t have a place in the “real world” – so keep it to yourself. I just feel like if you believe that faith is personal and you also believe in the interconnectedness of everyone and everything in the universe (aka vibes) then your truths are contradictory. If you believe in good vibes and the whole bit – does that make anything personal? Wouldn’t that make literally nothing personal? This logic is sinking sand.
I once heard an agnostic scientist say: “It takes just as much faith to believe in science as it takes to believe in God. There are just as many theories and unknowns in the world of science as there are in the world of religion. I live my life in speculation just as much as the Christian sitting next to me, and the deeper you study science – the more you recognize how permeable it is.” And isn’t that so true? We are all placing our faith in something, we are all betting our lives on SOMETHING, and if you want to bet yours in the truths that your mind has made up to be true – that’s your prerogative. I know for me – my mind can’t be trusted – that b is crazy, and has lead me down some really dark, deceitful paths. But ultimately, my beliefs don’t make me any more closed-minded than you or anyone else.
My faith actually isn’t an attack on your reality – It’s an attack on mine. My faith has completely ripped apart the reality I’ve created for myself since childhood.
I’ll be the first to admit that the whole “positive thinking, positive outcomes” totally encapsulated me when I first heard it. It’s really “nice” ideology. That was like my jam for a long time. Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with reminding yourself that there’s a place for positivity, but to base your life on this truth is so shallow. I know it first hand. How do you apply the truth of positive thinking, positive outcomes to a brain that’s attacking itself with mental health problems? You can’t think your way out of that one. How does positive thinking comfort the mom that’s just lost her kid to a drug overdose? There has to be more than vibes and positivity…and there is.
Now, I realize that because your worldview and your perception may be a little challenged by this post that you could be feeling a little offended right now. I’m sorry to tear down your god of positivity. Please refer to my previous blog post if you find yourself here – Be Humble, Sit Down. But, before you get too offended please understand that I’m calling everyone out right now. Including myself. I’m bringing this to the surface for everyone. I’m hoping even the Christian who does all the right things, but doesn’t know what it really means to be filled with the Holy Spirit is challenged by this post. I’m hoping everyone who is blindly following or accepting truth is feeling convicted. Everyone is guilty of this.
I reached a point in my life where I realized I was done placing my truth in whatever my mind decided was important for the day. I was done chasing down these “positive vibes” when I knew that no amount of positive thought would silence my inner critic. I was done telling people I was doing things with “positive intentions”, but in reality – everything I did was all about selfish ambition. I was done trusting my own small perspective. I was just done pretending like I had any idea what “truth” even looked like.
Good vibes fail me. They offer no purpose for my life. Vibes don’t take care of me or protect me. Vibes don’t comfort me, and they aren’t in relationship with me. Vibes don’t know me and call me by name. Positivity doesn’t love me back. And good vibes most certainly did not sacrifice their life for me.