I've been thinking about how often the term "closeminded" is thrown around like an insult... I've always described myself as openminded, but not so openminded that my brain falls out ;).

Here's an example:  If a person tells you the sky is pink with purple polka-dots and the sun is made of cheddar cheese, is it being closeminded to tell them that they are wrong; the sky is generally blue and the sun is not made of any type of cheese, much less cheddar?

Another:  If someone tells you that they believe that eating jelly beans until you burst is the only way to achieve eternal life through their diety, JoJo the Spider Monkey, is it being closeminded to (out loud or in your own head) realize that that is a bunch of hooey?

The answer is yes... it IS closeminded. You've closed your mind to the possibility that they are correct.  You've decided that they are wrong about the polka dots, the cheddar cheese and JoJo the Spider Monkey.

But is that wrong?

The first two are scientifically proven.  The sun isn't cheese and the sky's blue color is well "documented" by the parents of a gazillion toddlers, those little munchkins that look up and demand WHY the sky is blue.

The last? Not so much.  But most people would slap the "crazy" label on the spider monkey guy lickity-split rather than think, "Maybe the jelly bean route is the way to go."

In this case, being close-minded is rewritten as "having common sense", or "not playing with the crazies".

So how does that translate into modern religion? 

There are a thousand and more religions out there, each member of each religion truly believing they are correct and most other religions thinking the others are wrong. The penalty for not believing 100% in many religions is exile to some nasty place where naughty people and all those other religions go. 

So why WOULDN'T they close their minds to other religions when opening their minds leaves them vulnerable to losing their much-anticipated afterlife?

Why would you ask someone to compromise their beliefs by "opening their minds" with that much at stake, unless YOU have closed your mind to THEM being right.... right?  Which makes you a hypocrite...

So what I'm saying, in a nutshell, is this.... calling someone closeminded because they won't listen to you is hypocritical and disrespectful of THEIR beliefs, and makes you a hypocrite because your own mind is closed to the possibility that they might be 100% correct.

In the end, being TOO openminded means you can't really believe in anything at all.  Period.  Kind of a scary thought, in my book.

(general YOU, of course, not aimed at anyone specifically)

Confusing a bit?  Maybe.... what do you think about these thoughts?

Add A Comment


Mar. 27, 2010 at 5:22 AM

You can be open to the  beliefs of others without losing your faith. 

Message Friend Invite

Mar. 27, 2010 at 5:24 AM

How so? (serious question, not being bitchy - looking for discussion, here, lol)

Message Friend Invite (Original Poster)

Mar. 27, 2010 at 5:25 AM

Example: would YOU be open to the jelly bean guy's theory? If you considered the possibility, eventually you'd have to come to some conclusion, wouldn't you?  That's what life's all about... mulling things over and deciding.  If you decided that he was wrong, that would make you closeminded.  If you decided he was right, that means your beliefs are wrong.  So how would you keep your faith while opening your mind to another completely different belief?

Message Friend Invite (Original Poster)

Mar. 27, 2010 at 5:31 AM

Well , I guess it is a matter of listening? I can listen and contemplate what someone tells me about thier faith and ask questions to learn more. But I do not see that it in any ways is a threat to my own beliefs.  Being open minded doesnt mean you are losing YOUR faith. to me it means that I am secure enough in my own beliefs to be able to listen and investigate the beliefs of others.

Message Friend Invite

Mar. 27, 2010 at 5:33 AM

You bring up a very interesting topic though. When is it being closed minded to say No I have listened and I respect your beliefs, but I do not believe in them myself.  TO me it was openminded to entertain what someone else had to say. It is not closed minded to then say No I am sorry ,for ME i cannot agree.

Message Friend Invite

Mar. 27, 2010 at 5:35 AM

It is pretty interesting, yes... one of those "must ponder for awhile" type of things, eh?  It's something I've been thinking about for awhile, now...

Message Friend Invite (Original Poster)

Mar. 27, 2010 at 9:14 AM

I don't think it would be closed minded to say sorry i don't believe in jojo the spider monkey. It would be close minded to say to this person, you are absolutely wrong, there is no way this could even be a possiblity. Hey, if someone wants to believe it, by all means let them go. THere is enough scientific evidence to prove the sky is blue and the sun is made of gas, but if they choose not to believe what science has proven, more power to them.

In my opinion, being close minded  is not listening to what people have to say, or talk about their beliefs. With my experience with close minded people, they have been jerks. no offense to anyone here, its nothing personal. but most of the time if i come accross a close minded person, they start tearing everything you do apart, criticizing every move u make. or is that just my step dad lol.

anyway. did i get off track here?...i still need coffee lol.


Message Friend Invite

Mar. 27, 2010 at 9:34 AM

IMHO, Not believing in something that other people believe in does not make you closed minded.  Clinging to the belief that what you believe is right and what everyone else believes is wrong makes you close minded.  Like sati769leigh said (sorry, it won't let me turn off the bold font now for some reason), you can be open to other beliefs without losing faith in your own.  The easiest way to look at it I think would be as a learner......you can learn about something without making it part of your daily life.  For example, say you start learning anatomy to become a doctor.  Yes, the knowladge is going to be there, but you're not going to go find a person to disect....(at least, I hope not).

Message Friend Invite

Mar. 27, 2010 at 9:37 AM

Being closed minded means to me closing the realm of any possibility, and making your views obsolete.

Message Friend Invite

Mar. 27, 2010 at 5:56 PM

I feel that if you push your beliefs on a person, because you think their beliefs are wrong, then you are closed-minded.  I have my beliefs, but I would never think to force them on someone else.

Message Friend Invite

Want to leave a comment and join the discussion?

Sign up for CafeMom!

Already a member? Click here to log in