It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it~Aristotle

Yes. Yesyesyesyes.

Why is it that so many people act like just thinking about an opposing or new thought will mean that they have to accept it?

I remember how much this bugged me as a teenager. I felt that in the home-schooling community I grew up in, there were so many closed minds. People were legalistic to the point of shunning those different from them. I ran into closed minds on everything from what to wear (skirts only! And heaven forbid we show our knees or upper arms!) to what kind of music to listen to (rock music is of the devil!) to criticism for wanting a career, to be anything other than a super-cleaning-and-cooking-submissive-to-the-point-of-slavery-baby-making machine.

Oh, and what made it worse was that I wanted to write spawn-of-the-devil stories about non-human creatures and mythical animals that were inherently evil. (Magic? You mean you read stories about witchcraft?!?)

Did I just get very snarky and make a lot of exaggerations? Eh, yeah, some. But it got the point across—you’re sitting up and paying attention now, aren’t you? ;P

Honestly, I don’t care if you believe that skirts are the only way to go, or that dragons are inherently evil because one is used as a metaphor for Satan in the Bible. I hear your concerns, and will listen to you talk until I’ve understood what you’re saying, and I promise I will put long hours of thought into whatever you say. I can agree to disagree—please give me the same courtesy. No kidding.

All those issues that bothered me as a teen, I thought about. And prayed about. And thought about again. Then I took it to my parents or trusted friends that I knew wouldn’t shut me down. I entertained a thought without believing it, turning it over and upside-down and inside-out to see if it matched with my convictions and worldview.

Some, I have kept and embraced. Some, I have discarded. I don’t believe in being closed to new ideas. In fact, a few years ago, I would have thrown a hissy fit about language or a lot of magic in a book. Since then, I’ve matured and thought and come to my own conclusions that, one day, will be shared but really have no place in this post.

Why must people be close-minded about new ideas? They dogmatically proclaim that their way is best, that traditional big-house publishing is the only way to be a professional writer, or whatever. Blah blah blah.

Hmm. Seems like no one wants to be thought of as ‘educated’ any more.

Yeah, snark again. But seriously. I know that we have to guard our every thought and be careful what we allow into our minds. But, really, trust me—pondering freewill while believing in predestination will not condemn you to hell.

I’ve found that wondering about the opposite of a belief is a good way to reinforce why I believe a certain thing. Thinking about atheism cements just why I’m a Christian. You have to be careful with this, of course. You have to be solid in your beliefs before you can start entertaining new thoughts, especially for big life-changing things.

But for smaller things—like what clothes to wear or what music to listen to—don’t be so doggone dogmatic. Don’t be legalistic. Dialog with those who believe differently than you. I’m not saying to convert to Islam just because you’re friends with a Muslim, or to just “do what feels right to you”.

Every new idea should be given very careful consideration before you act upon it, and don’t just rely on yourself.

You don’t have to accept something if you feel like you shouldn’t or find you or someone whose opinion you trust disagrees with it. Think about a new idea, discard or accept it as needed, and agree to disagree. That’s all I’m asking.

About H. A. Titus

H. A. Titus is usually found with her nose in a book or spinning story-worlds in her head. Her love affair with fantasy began at age twelve, when her dad handed her The Lord of the Rings after listening to it on tape during a family vacation. Her stories have been published in Digital Dragon Magazine, Residential Aliens Magazine, and four anthologies: Alternative Witness; Avenir Eclectia Volume 1; The Tanist's Wife and Other Stories; and Different Dragons Volume II. In December 2013, her short story "Dragon Dance" won Honorable Mention in a Writers of the Future contest. She lives on the shores of Lake Superior with her meteorologist husband and young son, who do their best to ensure she occasionally emerges into the real world. When she's not writing, she can be found rock-climbing, skiing, or hanging out at her online home, hatitus.wordpress.com.

3 comments on “Small-Mindedness

  1. I think people are afraid to think. I grew up in a similar style, and am now thankful for the freedom to think through things and compare them to what the Bible says and then make my decisions. Freedom is scary, but a wonderful gift from God, one that I can use, apart from sin, to reach as many people as I can with the gospel 🙂

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