Posted in OPINION

THE CLOSING OF THE AMERICAN MIND

I may not always be right, but I am absolutely never wrong.

Of course I’m right. I’m always right. If you don’t believe me, just ask me.


Maybe I live in a very small world, but I find the attitudes portrayed above to be quite the norm in which I live.

I find them among church folks and non-church folks. I find them on both sides of the political spectrum and stretching to the extremes of each. I find them in academia. I find them among gays and straights. I find them among pro-choice groups and pro-life groups.

In short, I find this to be a characteristic of modern man.
That’s too bad–and sad.

In fact, it’s a shame. (Of course, we are no longer concerned with ‘shame’ in any form in today’s society. So, my stating such has little meaning. And that’s a shame.)

The misconceived ideas that (1) I am entitled to my opinion; and (2) I am entitled to shout you down with my opinion have both combined to render our society incapable of reasoned debate.

The first is patently false.

While one may be entitled to think anything in any manner that one wants, that does not necessarily qualify as an opinion. An opinion is based on some observable fact. However, the term ‘opinion’ has been watered down in today’s vernacular to mean exactly that—’my thoughts.’

When you go to a doctor for an opinion, do you want him to rattle off whatever pops into his mind in the moment? Of course not. You want someone who is up to date on the latest symptomatic phenomena and medicinal contra-indicators to give you an opinion as to what is bothering you.

Opinions in the modern marketplace of ideas, though, are generally just knee-jerk reactions to whatever is presented in the moment.

(If you find this difficult to believe, just simply read through the comments on someone’s post on Facebook about a subjective topic such as religion or politics.)

Far too many comments seem to come from being triggered by the use of a particular “buzz word” that set the commenter off. I personally find it amusing when someone goes off on one of their rants that has little or nothing to do with the original posted thought.

That is opinion gone to seed

That’s opinion gone to seed.

It is number two—shouting down—that is the premise of this article, though. (Yes, I’ve been rambling.)

Shouting is probably not the best term to use here. I am referring to the trait of continuing to speak, speaking over the other’s comments, getting passionate about the need for the other to see your viewpoint, or indignant with opposition. So, shouting is the term I choose.

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. (Pro. 18:2)

Is it permissible to take the reverse of this Proverb and conclude that anyone who is only interested in expressing their opinion is a fool? The one who does not want to take the time to listen and to understand is a fool?

How does this apply to me and you?

Have you ever taken the time to engage an atheist and just listen?
How many Christians have taken the time to engage a pro-choice advocate and just listen?
Have you ever taken the time to engage a homosexual and just listen?

What I mean by “just listen” is to hear them out without interruption, without quoting a Bible verse at them; asking questions for further clarification; laying aside your judgement or conclusion until you have heard them all the way through.

How many non-Christians have tried to engage an intelligent, reasonable, faith-filled Christian and just listen?
(I admit that the qualifications I listed for these questions are rare.)

It is evident that Solomon had in view not a particular creed, but a certain attitude and approach to life when he termed one a “fool.”

Spend any time on social media and it would appear that we have become a nation of fools.

We have closed our minds to anything but that with which we already agree. And in that place, the “dumbing down” of America is complete.

(Yes, I borrowed the title from Allan Bloom’s seminal work, ”Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students.”)

All comments, questions, and/or criticisms are welcome. They will be posted immediately without the necessity of approval.