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Why Faith Requires Closed-mindedness (Or what I learned from the dictionary)

By Carl S ~

Close-minded: “Intolerant of the beliefs and opinions of others.” This is an accusation believers use against those who challenge or question their beliefs. However, let us note that non-believers have arrived predominantly at their positions from the direction of considering with an open mind, the beliefs they were taught as true in their and other faiths. We might ask if this accusation of them by believers is either due to ignorance about non-believers, fear of condemnation to damnation by their God, or a lion-mother reaction in defense of threatened cubs, i.e., the faith. We might also note that the stronger the faith is, the more close-minded the believers are.

Bias : “A preference or inclination that inhibits impartiality. Prejudice.” the experience of most non- believers, from what I know, is that believers waver between close-mindedness and bias in different degrees, picking and choosing from their dogmas and scriptures whatever they want to.

Hermetic: “Impervious to outside interference or influence.” (This explains a lot.) Faiths, and by this is meant every house of worship and cult, require by necessity close-mindedness, rejection of all opinions to the contrary. We will add the religious TV channels, those propaganda machines driven by the sellers who cater to gullible buyers hanging on their every word as the words of divine authority. The entire programming and audience, comfortable in a mutual, secure, hermetic cocoon of close-mindedness, brings in a huge source of ever-flowing, tax-free, revenue.

Now, we are aware that the faithful think it inappropriate of us, out of a general respect for religion, to question the comfortable bias/close-minded attitudes which they cling to. But we would be remiss to allow them to bully us into submission. No prejudices are harmless when they are acted on to the detriment of others. In order to protect the faith, free expression is denied to those who disagree, who are denigrated, their mere observations dismissed and condemned. These actions are not merely unfair, they are barriers to determining truth from falsehood and what is real and what is not. Now, individual believers of any faith , sect, or cult will say, “Not me.” I am still asking myself this question: are they part of the problem? Isn't even moderately close minded still close-minded, supporting the system? No answer yet on that.

We non-believers are the victims of discrimination, prejudice, denial of rights, whenever a candidate who is supposed to be for all the people isn't, because that person is elected predominantly by people of a faith who are being led by some “authority” who is close-minded. We are victims whenever the close-minded deny rights to gays, women seeking control over their own bodies, marriage equality, and health care, based on their personal or shared unreasonable, unquestioned, historical, biases. Human rights, even those guaranteed in the Constitution, are threatened and outright denied by people whose faith- opinions demand to be respected. (Unchallenged due to “tradition,” no less. Traditions change.)

Nobody wants to be called “close-minded,” but isn't that exactly what faith entails? (Given these dictionary definitions, at this point, it would be interesting to have responses by visiting believers to this site.)

I would like to tell all believers of all faith-systems that it would do them no harm to consider opinions other than the ones they are told to believe, that the world is wonderful and wide open in freedom of expression, to feel free to doubt. Have they been warned to, “Do not go there,” under threats of punishments severe? Do they not realize that this is the method of totalitarian systems, denying personal freedom? Experience has proven to me that they are willing to take that option. I come back to that delicious phrase so recently articulated; “hermetically sealed in.” It says so much in so few words.

Fear, paranoia, irrationality overall, are tremendous impediments to accepting different opinions. And I suspect that the imprisoned, like the former citizens of the Soviet Union, are so used to their environment that it's secure and normal for them. (Surely, if I was raised in a mental institution, abnormal would be “normal” to me.) And this applies to every religious entity.

Is there the possibility, given the nature of humans, their curiosity, their giving way to temptation, experimentation, tempting fate, challenging authority, to become ever more open-minded? (Consider Roman Catholics practicing birth control. And the fact that, when Americans are told they must do something, they rebel.) The faiths here in our country have to compete and adapt to survive. Still, the respect for close-mindedness is perpetuated, to everyone's detriment.

Which is why we should appeal to and, as H.L. Mencken put it, “Hold in veneration - courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth.” And don't we all fight for those things we love?


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