Why “Good Vibes Only” is a False Sense of Tolerance and Open-Mindedness

Cameron-Mackie

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. 

7 thoughts on “Why “Good Vibes Only” is a False Sense of Tolerance and Open-Mindedness

  1. Just because a person absorbs, examines, and accepts all ways of life that help a certain person find love, support, fulfillment and purpose, doesn’t make them out to be as you state in this post. Just because a person believes Jesus can reach people in other ways and religions other than modern day Christianity, doesn’t make them wrong. Believing God can reach everyone, in a myriad of ways/philosophies/religions/energies/etc, other than Christianity, is getting God, and Christ, out of the box modern day Christianity has shoved him/her/them in. People think Christians are closed-minded because they cannot accept other people’s truths and realities. Instead of pointing fingers at the rest of the world, look at the three pointing back at you.

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  2. For sure. I wrote this over two years ago, and I’m sure I made some sweeping generalizations about the heart of people as a whole that I probably wouldn’t write right now. I do appreciate your comment, however, I really don’t want to go back and dissect this whole thing and get into a lengthy conversation on the internet about misunderstandings, misrepresentations, and miscommunications. I’m sorry if I’ve overgeneralized in a harmful way. I can totally accept your belief in other beliefs. Accepting them and agreeing with them are just two different things. Have a good night 🙂

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  3. Let me preface by saying, I am putting the word “Christians” in quotations from here forward because modern day Christianity is so grossly distorted from what the original intent was that it is literally unrecognizable. To those of us with critical thinking skills, that is.

    “I mean, the overall assumptions about what Christians believe are that we hate gay people,”

    You do. Christians tell gay people that they are GOING TO HELL, that they’re confused, defective, mentally ill, that it’s a choice to have needs and desires that cause you prejudice, hate crimes, literally UNTIMELY DEATH, unfit to have children… if that’s not hate, I don’t know what definition of that word you were taught.

    “…we create war”

    HISTORY shows that Christians DO create war. In fact, ALL religions create war. Ancient polytheism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhists, Israel–Palestinian, Pakistan-India, Abyssinia – Somalia, Nigeria… What all these religions and their wars have in common is that all of them thought that they are right and everyone else is wrong and they have a spiritual obligation to prove they’re right through death.

    “…we hate people who have abortions…”

    HUGE amounts of people identifying as “Christians” devote their time to protesting abortion clinics. They stand outside and shame, guilt, embarrass, and harass women, with minimal regard to what the life of a child of those women would be like if they were born or how they could materially, socially, and financially improve that.

    Kanye West concert, “no one man should have all this power.”

    Then why is “Christianity” so rampant with power-seeking behavior? You tell people they’re going to hell. In doing so, you’re placing yourself on the Ivory Tower. The judge. I can “save” you.

    “But because others are accepting ALL the ways of the world and not necessarily standing firm in one truth—they are considered tolerant…”

    You are viewing the concept of tolerance through a limited lens. Tolerance means considering all the evidence and information, identifying the patterns and overlap, and evaluating. That is completely different than “complacency.”

    “It’s amazing to me how close minded I was toward God based on false perception…The belief in Jesus is rigid and close-minded.”

    People are not closed off to GOD OR JESUS, they are closed off to the farce that “Christianity” has become. We are rejecting the hypocrisy. The distortion. Hypocrisy and farce are based on behavior, which is unique to humans, and has nothing to do with God or Jesus.

    “I assume this belief [that Christianity and the belief in Jesus] stems from people who have never sought out a relationship with the Creator of the world…The same people that claim Christianity is full of close-minded individuals, are the same people who aren’t open-minded enough to actually explore it for themselves… They hear the world telling them what Christianity is”

    There are sooooooooooooo many people, including myself, that left the “Christian” church after being raised in it, and/or active in it for decades for all of the aforementioned reasons. People who have read every word of the Bible, pray every second, do devotionals, go to Bible study… Research it: churches are losing mass amounts of members not because the belief in God, Jesus, or the Bible is dwindling, but because of disgust for the behavior and social dynamics of the “Christian” church. That is completely separate from God and Jesus, whether you want to stick your head in the sand or not, ostrich. And just because someone doesn’t subscribe to your version of “Christianity,” God, or Jesus, does NOT mean they are not deeply and spiritually exploring this world. Just because you don’t speak the language Meagan, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The non-believers in “Christianity” don’t arrive there because of no-exposure or inexperience, it is because of exposure, witnessing… because we reject it AFTER exploration. That must be hard for you to hear. That you have so much work to do to turn the tide and “save us.” Best to initiate it with eliminating this judgmental, condescending, distorted blog of propaganda.

    “I’ve explored it all.”

    The problem with making all-or-nothing blanket statements such as these is you can never explore it all. That is the basis of “open-mindedness.” It is the desire and willingness to NEVER stop learning. Which is congruent to the preaching of Jesus, but you have explored your relationship with the Creator so you must know that?

    The agnostic scientist: You failed to interpret the part where he noted that religion is also permeable as is science. The difference between science and religion, and the foundation you are overlooking, is that there are holes, possibilities, and room to grow in both disciplines. Your logic is “sinking sand.”

    When you proclaim to know all the answers, and behave to enact what is “right” and “true,” you turn a blind eye (CLOSE-MINDEDNESS) to the incredible design, connectedness (which means pulling up your “anchor,” Meagan) that God has laid out for us. That’s how your “beliefs make [you] more close-minded than anyone else.”

    “How do you apply the truth of positive thinking, positive outcomes to a brain that’s attacking itself with mental health problems?”

    What you’re referring to is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This is an evidence-based practice (Meagan, that means there is RESEARCH and REPLICATABLE EVIDENCE) found effective in treating a wide range of mental disorders. Thinking positively is only ONE small part of CBT and many other evidenced based therapeutic modalities. Do not simplify the work that mental health professionals do when treating “the mom that’s just lost her kid to a drug overdose.”

    I’m not offended because you “tore down my god of positivity.” I’m offended because you used your religious beliefs and agenda to promote negativity for all the aforementioned reasons. You say you’re done doing things for your own “selfish ambition,” but this blog is testament to your selfish ambition. You are seeking a pulpit. A tower to look down and lead those not as enlightened as you. You are an intelligent, eloquent writer. But your arguments are based in the same judgement you seek to rebuke. If you truly want to lead people to Christianity, you’ll shut your mouth and delete your blog and just LIVE BY EXAMPLE.

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    • I have so many issues with the above paragraphs and I’m not going to get into it with you over the internet. If you want to meet in person…I’d be happy to. I want to start with the fact that I wrote this two years ago. How I would’ve articulated my thoughts on this are much different now. I see you have a lot of opinions about Christians as a whole and have placed many of them on me. Thank you for your comment but I’m not sure how you’d like me to respond to you. It’s clear you’d like some sort of engagement but I’m just not gonna go there. You honestly don’t know me or my heart which is clear. I have these conversations with many of my non Christian friends and all of them know my heart which always comes from a place of love.

      Anyway. Thanks for stopping by. If you’d like to continue this please message me and we can get together!

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  4. Yes, you wrote this 2 years ago, but you need to take responsibility for what you write. Perhaps you did write this “from a place of love,” but it is being interpreted (by some people; I’m sure other people loved it) as judgmental and negativity dressed in positivity’s clothing. If your position has changed, then delete things that contradict that. What we put on the internet never dies. Most importantly, if present your opinion publicly such as this, you are always taking the risk of incurring opposition. It was kind of you to invite a conversation, but you started this conversation online; you set the arena. Your response has not provided any evidence that this would be a productive conversation in person. From someone who has rejected the “Christian” paradigm, please absorb this when I say, there is nothing that can more effectively bring an individual to the “Christian” community more than the practice of unconditional acceptance, love, and non-judgement. No amount of articulation, clever display and titles, curled hair and lipstick can hide the condescension that bursts through the cloak of “love “ to a person whom has been thoroughly shamed, belittled, and rejected by “Christianity.”
    “‘Trying to force my will upon you,’ Jesus replied, “is exactly what love does not do.” If you want to share your beliefs, please re-evaluate your language and tone. Because in this aspect, you are driving people away from “Christianity.”

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