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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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Open mindedness - April 27th 2012, 11:13 PM

I've recently heard a lot of comments saying that I'm close minded due to the simple fact that it appears like I am against the possibility of god or something like that.

It's led me to the conclusion that some don't actually know what being open minded is - and why it's important to exercise critical thinking with it.

Essentially, I think that some people think that being open minded is not only being open to other possibilities (in this case the supernatural) but accepting them without evidence for the most part - and it also depends on what they're calling evidence.

But that is just wrong. It's quite the opposite.

Essentially what is said is that 'I can't explain X therefore the supernatural did X'. What's the point? You've explained the unexplained. It doesn't make sense. It's developed precisely nothing if you can't develop your explanation.

Furthermore, an annoying result of this, is that when one says 'I don't believe in X' it is often turned to 'I reject X' in the eyes of the person who is making the positive claim. Which just results in them rehearsing prejudices against that position... which is being close minded in itself. There's nothing wrong with assessing claims before accepting them. Hence why thinking critically about such things is helpful. Otherwise you'll let in a lot of rubbish, and cognitive bias will make correcting such things easier.

So to summarise, being open minded isn't just having some form of believe that's basis on poor evidence. It's giving yourself the ability to change. I think some people that accuse others of being close minded are at fault themselves.


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Re: Open mindedness - April 29th 2012, 07:45 AM

Agreed. I don't think it's close minded if someone doesn't believe in x, y or z.

I think of open-mindedness as being open to other ideas. It means that someone can have their beliefs, whether in regards to religion or something else, but still be open to the thoughts and ideas and opinions of others.

For example, closed mindedness would be someone who believes in the Christian faith and looks at all others with disdain and disinterest. Open mindedness would be a Christian who has strong faith in God, but also educates themselves about other religions, just to know what it is others believe.

It doesn't even have to be an openness to change, but an openness to connection with others.



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Re: Open mindedness - April 29th 2012, 08:04 PM

I also agree - I think everyone (myself included) could do with a little more open-mindedness now and again. It does feel like some people just go through the motions with their arguments and opinions, rather than actually put them to the test and see how they stand up. Hence why I end up in so many debates on here - it's good cognitive exercise.


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Re: Open mindedness - May 1st 2012, 11:23 AM

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Originally Posted by chickenonsteroids View Post
It's giving yourself the ability to change. I think some people that accuse others of being close minded are at fault themselves.
What do you mean by "ability?" I'd like to think that I'm open-minded, but I'm highly against drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. I don't use any of them. The fact that I'm against them so highly express my inability to change because I'm not able to change something that I'm highly against. Am I not open-minded? Just need some clarification.
   
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Re: Open mindedness - May 1st 2012, 12:10 PM

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What do you mean by "ability?" I'd like to think that I'm open-minded, but I'm highly against drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. I don't use any of them. The fact that I'm against them so highly express my inability to change because I'm not able to change something that I'm highly against. Am I not open-minded? Just need some clarification.
Ok I'll try to clarify

You can be against something but when you just reject something purely based on an emotional response, essentially you start rehearsing predjudices about something. I think you are able to change but you see no reason to. There's the difference between, seeing no reason to change and just rejecting it even if you are given a reason to change. Without considering it that is.


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Re: Open mindedness - May 1st 2012, 03:25 PM

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Ok I'll try to clarify

You can be against something but when you just reject something purely based on an emotional response, essentially you start rehearsing predjudices about something. I think you are able to change but you see no reason to. There's the difference between, seeing no reason to change and just rejecting it even if you are given a reason to change. Without considering it that is.
Well, see...I know that I have reasons to change. Certainly alcohol has its benefits that could be useful in my life. I'm stressed out with the way my life is turning out, so I acknowledge that alcohol could help me cope with life. My girlfriend used to be a social drinker (she's capable of being one still but hasn't done so...mostly because I don't drink alcohol and she knows that I don't like that type of environment). However, I know that I have many other reasons not to drink alcohol. I think drinking alcohol makes people look retarded, it means that you have a boring life, it's a waste of money, etc. Most of it is because emotionally...alcohol is a turn-off. Just like the ability to maintain an erection while being completely turned off is almost impossible, the ability to drink alcohol while the sight of it detests you is near impossible. Some people have claimed that I'm not open minded with my viewpoints on alcohol when I think that...I look at alcohol in a factual manner. Am I supposed to set aside the facts about alcohol and pretend that the only thing that matters is that alcohol makes life "fun?"
   
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Re: Open mindedness - May 1st 2012, 07:18 PM

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Well, see...I know that I have reasons to change. Certainly alcohol has its benefits that could be useful in my life. I'm stressed out with the way my life is turning out, so I acknowledge that alcohol could help me cope with life. My girlfriend used to be a social drinker (she's capable of being one still but hasn't done so...mostly because I don't drink alcohol and she knows that I don't like that type of environment). However, I know that I have many other reasons not to drink alcohol. I think drinking alcohol makes people look retarded, it means that you have a boring life, it's a waste of money, etc. Most of it is because emotionally...alcohol is a turn-off. Just like the ability to maintain an erection while being completely turned off is almost impossible, the ability to drink alcohol while the sight of it detests you is near impossible. Some people have claimed that I'm not open minded with my viewpoints on alcohol when I think that...I look at alcohol in a factual manner. Am I supposed to set aside the facts about alcohol and pretend that the only thing that matters is that alcohol makes life "fun?"
I'm not saying you should just change because there are other reasons. That's gullibilty and lack of reasoning. You've looked at both sides haven't you? Alcohol still doesn't appeal to you? Then don't drink it.

You essentially gave the same sort of issue I posed in my original post. Me believing in god but because it might make me feel better (which it won't) wouldn't be a demonstration of openmindedness and critical thinking. Same with you not drinking alcohol.

So no, in my opinion, you aren't closed minded. I'm trying to stop people thinking that attitudes like yours is the definition of being closeminded... when it isn't.


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