The overabundance of unchanged minds

By John D. Pierce

Few things are as rare as a changed mind. Everyone seems to buy into a particular ideology and defend it regardless of faults or facts.

Often professing Christians are the most rigid and defensive by attributing divine endorsements to weak but inflexible personal opinions. That’s why many believers talk a lot more about the Bible than actually read the Bible. They have it all figured out.

There is an important distinction, however, between firm faith and setting one’s mind in concrete. It is a healthy sign of humility to stay open to the possibilities of being wrong.

We often speak of discernment and even conversion, yet mind-changing doesn’t come easily. Opposing ideas tend to get ridiculed and excluded from our social and religious silos in which we secure ourselves, and our shortsightedness.

Recently I read (and published) an opinion piece that countered (and changed) my thinking. It was about the controversial topic of physician-assisted suicide.

A Religion News Service column by ethics professor Charles Camosy of Fordham University offered a perspective I ‘d not considered. He pointed to studies showing that support for this end-of-life option was more highly favored among white, affluent persons primarily concerned about the loss of independence.

On the other hand, which I’d not considered, disability experts are showing how this perspective devalues those already negatively impacted by “an ableist, consumerist, youth-worshiping, consumer culture” that considers them “takers rather than makers.”

The idea of walking a mile someone else’s shoes is still a good one. We need both the willingness to see matters from the perspectives of others — and a soft enough hold on our versions of truth to allow for the consideration of better replacements.

I’ve long tired of those who think they can solve complex issues — like abortion, immigration, etc. — with trite and often demeaning sound bites. It is easier on the mind and heart to stake out a little-informed position that ignores all complexities and competing ideas than to wrestle with them and risk confusion if not change.

There are many who, as the saying goes, are often wrong but never in doubt.

At the least, however, we could all benefit by more often saying, “Let me think about that” — and then actually thinking about it.

Or, “Let me pray about it” — unless that means simply trying to recruit God to join our side.

Unchanged minds and hearts should not be are rare as white peacocks and Bismuth crystals.

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