Disbelief At Differing Conclusions

One of the things that I think I find most irritating is when people make the assumption that, just because you hold a different viewpoint than them, you 1) must be mis- or underinformed; 2) must be spouting the standard ‘party’ line; and 3) must be unable to think for yourself, able only to blindly accept and regurgitate the viewpoint you’ve been taught all your life, since anyone who can and does think for themself would just _have_ to come to the same conclusion they hold. There is no room in these people’s minds that someone could look at the same evidence they have seen, experience the same events, or look at the same issues and still come to a _different_ conclusion about all those things. The same people who tell you to use your head and _think_ for a change are the same people who seem incapable of doing so themselves, because surely if they were to actually think about _this_ topic long enough, they would realize that people who think do often come up with different conclusions.

I see this phenomenon all the time in the world of politics and in the world of religion. One party touts their viewpoint and accuses the other party of being blind and of not thinking, so sure are they that if the other party were to think, they would have no choice but to embrace their own viewpoint. (How’s _that_ for a contradiction in terms, since so many of these people also do not believe in absolute truth?) Christians are continually accused of this by their antagonists. Part of this is because a lot of Christians _don’t_ think, _don’t_ exercise critical analysis, _do_ blindly accept answers they have never personally investigated. But part of this is simply unbelievers being unable to entertain the idea that anyone intelligent could possibly ever disagree with them. The latter we can do nothing about, but the former is something that anyone and everyone can continually work on. This is part of why I, personally, write, since the feedback I receive continually exposes me to new ideas and new questions. I, for one, believe that both faith and critical thinking _can_ co-exist, a notion at which many unbelievers scoff. Faith, by itself, can be just as blinding as rationality left to its own ends. I have seen people argue with incontrovertible scientific evidence, simply on the basis of their ‘faith’ (e.g. the Earth is flat, not round). Likewise, there are supernatural occurences that happen on a daily basis all around the world that science and rationality are wont to explain (e.g. keys that float through midair in someone’s home). This is why I believe that God asks us to first believe on Him, in faith, then provides us with further information, both about Himself and about this world around us and tells us that we should explore His creation.

Faith, without rationality, is dead; likewise, rationality, without faith, provides only half the answer. Only when the two meet and supplement one another can balance be found.

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