Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Open-Minded VS the Empty Headed

“If you just were more open-minded you would see the truth and let Jesus into your heart.”

That sentence or its variations is a favorite of proselytizing theists. In essence they are saying unless you believe like they do clearly you must be close-minded. Or more succinctly, open your mind and let your brain fall out.

1. having or showing a mind receptive to new ideas or arguments.
2. unprejudiced; unbigoted; impartial.

Given the definition, it is irrational for theists to posit that unless one accepts the religionist’s belief once it has been fully explored, evaluated and discounted as irrational, that one is not open-minded. Most of us have been exposed to and/or explored religious supernaturalism; those of us who see no logical basis for it, no visible means of support, no evidence of its efficacy reject it. That’s not being close-minded, it's being discerning.

It would be akin to telling someone who tasted and disliked an exotic dish that they were “close minded” for not liking it like you do. They would only be close minded had they declared it not to their liking having not first sampled the dish.

911 and the Obama hating "Birther" conspiracy theorists continue to retain their hold on delusion and conspiratorial nonsense in the face of a preponderance of verifiable and testable evidence to the contrary. No amount of evidence that discredits their delusion will ever change their mind. That is close-minded absolutism.

Meanwhile those of us who have heard their conspiracy rants, read and evaluated their “proofs” and rejected them as tainted wishful (hateful) thinking; and examined the independent overwhelming genuine evidence for no conspiracy and accepted it unless and until objective evidence of conspiracy overwhelms the evidence of no conspiracy, we are accused by these nuts of lacking an open-mind.

One would lack an open-mind, if they rejected the conspiracy theories or religious precepts out of hand without having ever examined and explored them. I have examined them. I have explored them. In the case of religion I have done so in its many different flavors and varied perspectives. And using my powers of reason and ability to weigh evidence, I reject it as superstitious nonsense unless and until objective evidence of the divine is presented that will change my mind. What could be more open-minded than that?

Creationists / religious fanatics reject science having never actually read a genuine scientific source document. I’ll speculate that not one in twenty-five thousand Creationists have actually read Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, or Dawkins’ Greatest Show on Earth, yet reject Evolution and natural selection as fallacy. That is prejudiced, that is partisan, and that is non-receptivity to the input of new ideas or argument. That is close-minded. It exists because just to investigate (never mind accept) the voluminous scientifically corroborated evidence for Old Earth and Evolution from a vast array of disciplines would undermine the efficacy of their belief. It’s a denial reflex. It's the hallmark of the absolutist.

When you hear an Evangelical fundie pull the old “…if you were more open minded…” ploy, tell them which Biblical verse is among the most incredible and unbelievable to you and why. Then ask them which of Darwin’s specific detailed observations on the island variants of the Galapagos tortoise in support of natural selection is least credible to them and why. The open-minded will always vanquish the mindless absolutist.


Contents under pressue said...

I lost my faith in the bible BECAUSE I was open-minded enough to question.

Fundies mistake true open-mindedness with gullibility it seems.

Anonymous said...

@contents - it's ironic because many of the fundamentalist christians I know (lots of them in my family) are the ones who are gullible. They are raised to never question anything; and when they get out into the real world, they find themselves woefully unprepared. I worry a great deal about my cousins who go to church schools. They are sent home with homework which only involves memorizing scripture. It would be interesting to do a study on how much untapped economic potential there is wasting away because children in fundamentalist church schools don't get a good education and are never able to fully contribute to society. They often end up in very bad situations (using drugs etc) because they simply were never given the skills they need to cope with the real world!

@Hump - as usual a well analyzed and thought provoking post. can you give a couple of examples of scriptures that you find difficult to believe?


Anonymous said...

When I was very young (too young to remember), I asked my grandmother a question about the Bible. Before she had a chance to think and respond, I told her "Never mind. I explained it to myself." I only know this because my family thought it was so cute, they teased me about it for years. My point is that I guess I came out of the womb analyzing and reasoning things through for myself. Therefore, I always questioned the fundamentalist religion in which I was raised. It was a gradual process, but now I have arrived at a place where I can see the world for what it really is, and that is empowering!


Dromedary Hump said...

Its been my experience that fundies reverse meanings where white is black and black is white. Sort of like the old Superman comics Bizaro World.

Crazy stuff like "It takes more faith to believe in Evolution than Creationism." Years of addeled thinking will do that to a person.

There are so many it's hard to choose. Any of the miracles that defy natural laws are incredible and irrational.

But Numbers 22:28-30 is about as idiotic as they come:

28 Then the LORD opened the donkey's mouth, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?" 29 Balaam answered the donkey, "You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now." 30 The donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?" "No," he said.

Bad enough this Mr. Ed of the old Testament was meant to be a genuine occurance... but fricken Balaam isn't even phased by it.
That Xtians believe that snakes and donkeys talked back THEN but not now is simply inane and without any precedence in stupidity.

longhorn believer said...

That's a good one! I like it. The scriptures in Luke that describe a virgin birth and the resurrection would be at the top of my list


Dromedary Hump said...

Surely those are incredible and defy rationality.

But given that so few Xtians really read the bible I like to whip inane crap on them that is so obscure and so stupid that they stop for a second and think you made it up.


Contents under pressue said...

Ahh, the book of numbers. One of my favorites too, particularly the verses describing the Genocide of the Midianites.

Numbers 31:

31:7 And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males.

31:8 And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain; namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.

31:9 And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods.

31:10 And they burnt all their cities wherein they dwelt, and all their goodly castles, with fire.

31:11 And they took all the spoil, and all the prey, both of men and of beasts.

"it takes more faith to believe in evolution than creationism." May actually be true for fundies, given they rarely show reading comprehension about a 3rd grader's

longhorn believer said...

Hump, excellent point. I tend to focus on the scriptures that are central to fundamentalist setoriology. But if you were going to have a debate, it would be best to start with talking donkeys and snakes and work your way towards the miracles of Jesus and his birth and resurrection. That might put some questions in the minds of any who were willing to be open minded and discerning. Somewhere in that continuum you could include Elijah and the chariot of fire and the talking burning bush

Rachelle said...

It's incredible the amount of bullsh-t people will "believe" without ever questioning it. If those "miracles" and talking animals were in any other books, said books would be in the children's section in libraries under "Fairy Tales and Fiction"...where they belong.

Shaw Kenawe said...

They are sent home with homework which only involves memorizing scripture.

Isn't this the same sort of indoctrination madrasas engage in and which robs Middle Eastern youth of learning anything useful about the world?

Why is it that the fundamentalist Xtians don't see their behavior as mirroring that of the reactionary Muslims, whom they so strongly detest and fear?

It is all such a waste of human potential, chasing after disembodied spirits and religious bosh instead of investigating real mysteries, like how the hell the stomatapod [mantis shrimp] can see from ultra-violet to infra-red--no other creature on earth has this ability.

This is far more interesting to investigate--and more factual information available--than chasing after stories of sky gods.

Dromedary Hump said...

Shaw said: "Why is it that the fundamentalist Xtians don't see their behavior as mirroring that of the reactionary Muslims,..."

Mark Twain, famous for his comments on the foolishness and misuse of religion, said - "The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also."

But unfortunately, very few theists are as smart as Mark Twain. They never make the connection between that which Christians dispise in Islam and that which they practice themselves.

Contents under pressue said...


I believe Richard Marcinko had a term for that: He called it "Head-in-cement" syndrome.

zarton said...

I think it was Woody Allen who first said "If only God would give me a sign, like 10 million dollars in a swiss bank account under my name I would believe in him."
I lost my faith because I was open minded enough to follow the evidence no matter where it lead.
My personal favorite bible verse is Malachi 2:3 Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.
Or Judges 1:19 And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.
Makes me feel so much safer in my car ;)

Anonymous said...

As one wit has it "Jesus came down to take away our sins. He did not came down to take away our minds"

Edward said...

Why should we allow a "Religion" Like, Islam to build more mosques etc. etc..In our country...?
My argument. Goes as follows.
1. Islam has no definitve Unity.
2. Islam kills Islamic scollars.
3. Islam can NOT stand above our,
4. Islam acts more like a ,
destructive Cult, Rather than
like a peacefull .org
Let them figure it out first on their own Turf.