Open minded hypocrites?

My apologies for no Flashback Friday this week - without having reliable computer access aside from my phone, it's kind of hard to research for a nostalgia post (I'm a fan of using multiple tabs when I'm using a browser and that's kind of hard to do on a phone). Hopefully our PC will be fixed Tuesday and the weekly segments on here will be regular again.

I've been up for about the last hour now, thinking and I felt compelled to get them out.

I get so tired of hearing people say they're open minded about things, religion in particular, when what they say and do is quite opposite.

For example, I'm tired of hearing things like this:
"I hate how some people are so close minded about religion, and how they think their religion is the only one and they can't be convinced otherwise. They should be open minded to the fact that not everyone has the same beliefs as theirs and accept that what works for them may not work for someone else."
 Anyone else see the hypocrisy in this statement about being open minded?

Now I've heard it quite a bit (most notably online), but just recently got to really thinking about it... If you truly are open minded about religion then why are trying to convince others that their beliefs are wrong? Aren't you just doing the same thing that you're complaining that they do? 

You're clearly not accepting that their beliefs work for them if you're trying to get them to share your way of thinking. If you really were being open minded you would probably think something along the lines of "Okay, that's what they believe and I accept that... not sure if it works for me, but it's something to keep in mind. Moving on then..."

Being open minded means that you're open to the ideas that others have - if you're not open to the possibility of ideas that differ from your own then, in reality, you're being just as close minded.

I've stated before on here that I'm a Christian, I believe there's only one God, I believe there's a heaven and a hell and I believe that as a Christian the Bible is a sort of instruction book for us.

http://whi.s3.prod.lg1x8.simplecdn.net/images/2495916/tumblr_l3moo2X0UH1qa30yoo1_400_large.jpg?1275887949Feel free to call me close-minded when it comes to religion - by many people's way of thinking, I probably am, as I feel strongly about my beliefs. But please don't go around calling yourself open minded about religion, stating you belief that what works for me doesn't work for you, if you refuse to accept that I believe what I believe. You only make yourself sound like a hypocrite.

Why do people feel the need to share with others? Well, the Bible says to "spread the good news of the Gospel to all" and I'm pretty sure the books of other religions say something similar.

Me personally, I share because I care. I really do care about what happens to my friends, family and those I've come in contact with regarding their eternity in the afterlife. I would HATE to die and find out that my beliefs were right, having not shared what I believe with those in my life and risk never seeing some of them again in Heaven. Yes, it is an individual choice to make, but having made my beliefs known, at least I know they've been given the opportunity to at least consider what I believe. I'm sure there's plenty of others who also share for this same reason as well.

Now I'm not one to often go out of my way (I prefer to lead by example, as I feel strongly that actions speak louder than words), but if the topic comes up, I have no problem sharing, however if you disagree with my beliefs, don't start calling me pushy and get all upset at me because I shared them. Occasionally, like now, I feel compelled to make a religion-heavy post, but again, this is MY blog and I can post/share whatever I feel like - you're not being forced to read this, I'm pretty sure no one's putting a gun to your head, telling you you must read what I write - it was your choice to click the link to this post/blog and continue reading, so don't get upset me for posting something I felt compelled to post on my blog - I'm not forcing you to read it.

Some people are very passionate and excited about what they believe. It's just like in businesses like Mary Kay or Avon - many of the sales reps just love the product or the business and what it's done for them and are excited to share it with others; if you don't care to try it or already have and aren't interested, that's your choice, but don't get upset at them because they're excited to share. And yes, there are some that come off as being pushy and it tends to turns people off completely, but know that not everyone is like that - that usually tends to be the minority.

Now in both real life and online I've come across plenty of people in my life that don't have the same beliefs as me - whether they've tried it in the past and lost their faith or they just come from a completely different background or culture. I'm all for sharing and discussing beliefs - while I personally am not interested in changing my beliefs, it is good to discuss and gain knowledge of what others believe so that you are at least informed.

Do I agree with their beliefs? Based on what my beliefs are, no, I don't. But I'm sure they don't agree with mine either based on what they believe.

I do, however, accept that their beliefs are what they chose for themselves, as ultimately it is their choice to choose what they believe.

To be honest, like many, I don't agree with a lot of things that are happening in the world right now, but I have to accept/tolerate those things because in most cases, there's not really anything I can do about it. Take the BP oil spill for example - like many, I'm not very happy with the way the whole thing is being handled, but there's not really much I can do to change that - it's up to the government and the other officials in charge to make sure it gets stopped and taken care of. All we can do is hope and/or pray that they have the guidance and wisdom to make the right decisions.

Point of the Post:
If you choose to be open minded about religion that's your choice. But the next time you hear someone talking about religion, don't step in and tell them to be open minded and to accept that what works for them may not work for someone else if you yourself aren't going to accept that their beliefs work for them. If you really are open minded and feel that way, you wouldn't be trying to convince them otherwise about their beliefs - you only make yourself look like a hypocrite.


  1. Since heaven is such a perfectly blissful place, how could you possibly hate anything about it (such as the lack of some of your friends) once you get there? This may be a little devil's advocate-y, but I don't mean it as an attack. It's actually something I was thinking about recently, because my mind tends to wander to far and strange places. See, my boyfriend is Muslim and I'm not, and I was imagining that if we were to stay together and get married and live our whole happy lives together, and then we die and it turns out he was right and he goes to heaven and has to face all of eternity without the love of his life, will he be happy? He's supposed to be happy in heaven. So would he just get over his love for me? Or could I get a free pass? It's all a stretch because it's not like we're even engaged or anything (and judging by the statistics, the likelihood of us staying together our whole lives is pretty slim), but I still puzzle about it. Kind of a conundrum.

    Anyway, you point out an interesting paradox. It's like the old "People who insult others are stupid." I'd never really thought of it that way. I guess the only people who can be truly open minded are people who are totally apathetic. Strangely, while open-mindedness is encouraged, apathy generally isn't. But for someone to be totally open-minded about all beliefs of all religions, they'd have to be fine with polygamy, attacking homosexuals, accepting homosexuals, legalization of abortion, illegalization of abortion, a billion people treating one man as infallible, oppression of women, suicide bombing, female circumcision, honor killings, animal sacrifice, human sacrifice (some of these may be out-dated religious practices, but we're accepting all religious beliefs here), devil worship, etc. A person would have to be totally detached from the world to achieve this indifference. There probably aren't many who can be that open minded, and they're probably not people we actually want.

    I guess the solution to the apparent paradox is that open-mindedness isn't black and white; there are degrees. It is possible to be open minded about certain aspects of a religion but not others. Let's say there's a religion called Zanaza, which has only three tenets: 1) Believers must accept the existence of the great creator Zanazar, who resides in the sun 2) Believers must treat all of Zanazar's creations with respect, and 3) Believers must sacrifice (with immense respect, in a very respectful ceremony) a kitten to the great Zanazar once a month (I was going to go with something more grisly, but decided that was unnecessary--you get the point). Your average person claiming to be open minded about religion would probably be open-minded about the first two tenets, but not so much the third. That one harms innocents. It is not nice.

    Oh dear, I seem to have maxed out the character count for comments. Sorry! I don't mean to be so long winded but it's a complicated issue that deserves thought and respect rather than hasty responses. To be continued...

  2. Now, let's imagine a second religion called Bohreel, which states 1) The omnipotent protector of the world is Bohreela, who lives in the moon, 2) Everyone must pray to Bohreela every night, and 3) Beliefs and practices related to any other supposed deity are wrong and those who believe in gods other than Bohreela will burn for eternity in the sun. Again, your average person claiming to be open minded would probably see the first two tenets as fine and the third as no good--though it doesn't directly harm anyone, it specifically writes open-mindedness out of the Bohreel beliefs. Beliefs like that can lead to trouble. Followers of Bohreel would meet the Zanaza faithful, possibly try to convert them, possibly just look down on them and shake their heads at their inevitable sorry fate, but the Zanaza faithful would become bitter at the condescension and lash out.

    The Zanaza, while having the horrible penchant for kitten-killing, can be partially open-minded about the Bohreel (there's nothing in Zanazar's teachings that directly contradicts the first two tenets). The Bohreel, on the other hand, are 100% close-minded about the Zanaza. While neither are 100% open minded, the Zanaza are at least more open minded than the Bohreel. (Apologies if my examples are bad or confusing, it's getting a bit late here.)

    The point is that it is possible to be open minded about most parts of a religion while rejecting small fractions of it, such as those parts that cause harm to other people (or kittens), and those that lead to feelings of superiority and condescension towards others, which is likely to arouse anger, leading (though indirectly) to conflict and harm.

    Ultimately, I think of something that I remember Elie Wiesel saying: that it's not enough to tolerate other religions; one must respect other religions. Toleration can still allow for the condescension that breeds the bitterness that leads to conflict. One doesn't necessarily have to respect every single aspect of a religion to respect the religion. But if you can truly say you respect another religion, then that should be enough to satisfy the believers of that religion.

    Most religions have changed over the years. Heaven knows there are things in the Bible that we like to ignore. If every religion could just simultaneously remove the parts of their doctrine that involve being close-minded about other religions, then a lot of the world's problems could probably be solved. It would never happen, but I'll try to be open minded about it.

  3. P.S. Oh dear, sorry it takes up so much space! It's like a page and a half pasted in Word :( I'm a bit embarrassed. Please don't hate me!

    P.P.S. My word verification is "Niononwe". I should have used that as one of my made-up deities. Has a nice ring to it.

  4. P.P.P.S So I wrote this the other night when I was a little sleepy and not thinking entirely clearly. But I hope it didn't come across as harsh in any way. I often try to avoid bringing up religious issues because it's such a complicated and touchy subject. Besides, most people are satisfied enough in their beliefs that they aren't going to change their minds simply because of an online argument (seriously!).

    Still, I tend to be drawn to discussions of religion, as long as any debate remains friendly. I even took a whole class in college on the philosophy of religion. If it's any...well...consolation, this is not the first time I've done something like this. I made an entire post as a response to Sebastian's post that attacked monotheism last year:

    And now I'll stop talking. Promise :) *Retreats*

  5. oh it's okay Eleni - with my computer issues the last 2 weeks or so I've had limited access so I wasn't able to do too much (aside from downtime at work and when my laptop decides it wants to work), so that's why I haven't responded at all - just haven't had a chance =)

    I get what you're saying, and like I said, everyone disagrees with one thing or another, it just drives me nuts when some people claim to be so "open minded" and accepting of other's beliefs and claim they have the stance that "what works for you may not work for others" when they clearly don't agree with what they just said.

    You gave some good examples - I think many would disagree someone who has those views, but at the same time, if you're going to be "open minded" and take the stance of "what works for you may not work for someone else" then you have to accept that those are that person's beliefs rather than try and push them into your own way of thinking taking the same stance as you (cuz really you'd just be trying to get them to change their beliefs).

    I guess part of it is that some people that take that stance get all up in arms over someone sharing or insisting on their beliefs being correct, they state they believe that that may be right for that person, but not right for someone else and then go on and try to get that person to adopt their way of thinking - so really "open-minded" person is just doing the exact same thing to the other person that they were all up in arms over.

    Drives me nuts, lol... either be one way, or don't, but don't lash out at people who disagree with you when you claim to believe that what works for them is just fine when clearly you don't think that if you're trying to win them over to your stance by doing the same thing you claim they do to you, lol

    and I mean you in the general sense, not you specifically =)

  6. ugh I have someone like that on my facebook that drives me nuts. He thinks the only way one can be a tolerant believer in Christ is to tolerate everyone being rude and disrespectful and never voicing any opinions where religion was a factor in forming your thoughts. He's always putting up links and status' over it and he honestly seems to have no clue how hypocritical he is.


What's your thoughts?