Because not everything can be true and good.
I cannot tell you the number of times that I have been in a conversation with a friend or a stranger on an airplane and the phrase, open-minded, comes up.
“Oh, I grew up Catholic, but I don’t go to church anymore. I believe in God and all, but I am open minded.”
“People just believe what they believe,” they say. “Who am I to tell them what makes them happy.”
I always smile and somewhat nod my head.
“Will they see it? Will they know?” I think to myself. “Goodness, I really like this person but if they knew the truth, would they judge me? Would they think I’m stupid or unloving?” The best course of action is to swiftly change the subject. And I often do.
I am a millennial. I am entitled. I value the comforts of technology. I have so much in common with my peers. But there is one thing, one GIANT ELEFANT in the room, that makes me different.
I am not open-minded. There, I said it. The Cat is out of the bag. And on top of that, I am not even tolerant considering the modern meaning of the world. I believe in right and wrong. I believe that ideologies are not equal. I believe in objective truth. By nature of these beliefs, I cannot be open minded. Please don’t hate me; just keep reading.
See, I used to be both open-minded and tolerant. When I was eighteen, I packed up my bags and my parents shipped me off an hour and a half down the road to LSU. As I left the indoctrination of my conservative, religious, backward parents, I excitedly enrolled myself in the school of progressivism. What did my parents know anyway? I remember returning home to discover that my dad had nicknamed me, “The Lib.” “I’m moderate,” I would say. I wanted to figure it out for myself.
For three years, I decidedly opened my mind. Driven by a true desire to be compassionate, I decided that people should do what they want as long as they are happy. At the end of three years, I was tired. I realized that in opening my mind to everything, I found myself believing in nothing. I realized that by allowing truth to be inclusive of everything, I destroyed its very definition. Freedom for everything is in fact, not freedom at all. I knew I was wrong regardless even if I didn’t necessarily believe in wrong. My open-mindedness could not continue. I admitted that there was real objective Truth that did not change according to my tastes and decided that I would seek that Truth. Upon finding it, I would shut my mind on it.
Opening our minds is a good thing, but only if we plan to eventually close it. G.K Chesterton said, “The purpose of opening one’s mind is to close it on something solid. If it stays open, it becomes a sewage.” We have been fooled to think that being “open minded”, or “tolerant” is synonymous with being “loving” but it is not.
Love by its nature is exclusive as is truth. At one point in my life, I was not married. I dated many men in order to set my love upon one man. I eventually found that one man and decided to love him and only him.The marital love I have for my husband, in order to be True, is no longer open to anyone else. It is a closed love and that is the only way it can thrive.
It is the same with Truth. Truth by its nature is also exclusive. Once I can find and recognize Truth, I can recognize what it is not. My friends, our souls long for capital-T Truth and if we refuse to recognize that it exists, that it can be lived and not lived, that it can be found and missed, we are denying our souls their very food. We thrive on Truth and we are happiest when we live accordingly.
By the time I was 22, I no longer believed most of what I believed when I was 18–21. In a search for real Truth, I did my very best to aligned my actions and beliefs according to something that exists outside of me. The more I did this, the more that I found truth, the more I closed my mind to that which is not true. I landed on the truth of Jesus Christ and His Church. I do not believe it all because it feels good or because it is a good “moral foundation” for my children. I believe that it is TRUE, and I believe that the teaching of Jesus Christ, fully lived out, is the best way to live for the common good and will lead to the most fulfillment individually.
This often leaves me to grapple with the “why’s” and “what’s” of life that isn’t quite so feel good. Belief in real Truth requires me to admit that I, in fact, disagree with many of the choices that I have made in the past and many of the choices that my friends make in the present. My closed mindedness forces me to recognize that choice and consequence are objective; the same choice almost always reaps the same consequences even when denied by the choice maker.
In my daily interaction and observations, I see the consequences the “open-mindedness” and “tolerance” that we so proudly profess. I see confusion and loneliness. I see self-control waning and government control gaining. I see relativism weakening the most beautiful religion that has ever existed and making fools of many of its believers. I see a world of young people quick to label people like me “haters” even though we are not even close. And yet, I see the desire for real Truth growing. I see people yearning to give themselves to something but afraid to be found out if they close their minds on something solid.
So then, with all that said, if I am not open-minded and yet do not believe I should be included in the basket of deplorable, then what am I?
I am interested.
I want to hear your story, I want to know what you believe. I don’t really care about your race or your sexuality because they do not define you. Even if I disagree with you on absolutely everything, I desire that you know just how precious and unique you are. I want you to know that you are priceless simply because you are a human. You have a Creator who loves you despite everything you don’t like about yourself. I will understand how you came to your conclusions, why you chose your beliefs and why you live the way that you do regardless of whether or not I agree. IF, you want my advice, I will give it. IF, you want to know my story or my stance, I will tell you. I am happy to debate but only of it’s not personal. I am not open minded, but the Truth to which I conform my life tells me that all people have dignity and I want you to know yours.
Forcing false homogeny of society will never work. Let us be different, let us hold to our beliefs and let us genuinely love each other regardless.