Monday, July 28, 2008

Indecisive Pigeons

I've been thinking lately. ("Uh oh!" you say, preparing for the worst. "He's thinking again!") I'm sure everyone, to some degree, has troubles with making decisions and settling down on one particular solution. I'll also venture to guess that there are others who have no trouble deciding on a course of action, but then never change their minds and get locked into a single line of thinking.

Editor's note: None of this has anything to do with pigeons. Sorry for getting your hopes up. Continue on...

People in category A. Perhaps the most dangerous part of sticking by something you believe and never changing your mind is that you risk becoming stubborn and obtuse, rejecting alternative ideas out of hand because you think your ways are inherently "better" and "right". Any and all opposition is instantly dismissed as inferior without being given a fair chance for honest scrutiny. I think this line of reasoning often comes with power, but it certainly isn't exclusive to that. Surely there are plenty of people who rationalize their own bigoted thoughts in unreasonable ways, just to make them feel better about themselves. It is in this category that I would put hate groups, governments, technology-haters, and many Christians. And yes, I just called Christians bigots and put them in a group alongside racists. Does this mean I'm going to hell? (Also realize that I am way over-generalizing with no intent to cause extreme consternation among my brothers, but I believe it is unfortunately true. Also realize that everything I write is purely opinion.)

And then there is category B. This side holds people who can't make up their minds and tend to switch their opinion every ten minutes! I sometimes worry that such people will never be able to settle down on any one particular thing in an attempt to find the "perfect" solution. I'm all for trying more than one thing and choosing the best out of all the available options, but it seems that some people can't ever make up their minds as to what they want! (NOT speaking of anyone in particular.) I agree that testing out all theories and all combinations can be challenging and fun, but I prefer instead to find something that I like, even if it's not perfect, and explore that thing to the fullest extent possible. And if something comes along later that fits my needs better, then I'll consider switching. But I like to be content with what I have now so that I'm not in periods of transition, which disturbs me greatly.

<rant>Take the level-E swear word, for instance: evolution. When I was a sheltered, home-schooled little boy in early grade school, I was tutored through PCC material. For those who don't know (and I didn't at the time), Pensacola Christian College is just about as nasty with their legalism as Bob Jones. For example, you cannot attend public libraries or movie theaters (sorry WALL-E fans, it's just too violent), you can't open your window, have pictures of unmarried people of the opposite sex touching, go barefoot, or sing too loud in worship. Nor can a brother and sister interact in unchaperoned areas, to avoid the "appearance of evil." No joke. I shiver thinking about it. *shiver* *shiver shiver* .....anyways, it's needless to say what their views on Creation and evolution are going to be. In 7th grade, I wrote a fantastic paper on evolution and why it was the stupidest thing you could possibly think and how it was so very wrong. Taking all my data and arguments from the textbook, it was filled with the worst kind of fallacies and terrible logic. I got an A. But, it was what I believed because I was so ingrained with the idea that evolution was evil, and mutually exclusive and at odds with God and the Bible. I didn't think for myself. It wasn't my thoughts but the thoughts of a strict, legalistic Christian college that gives no regard for alternate hypotheses or creative ideas (category A). (As a sidenote, I love Taylor. Despite its flaws, I think it's Christianity done right. Not that PCC or Bob Jones does it wrong, per se, but I just don't agree with the Judaistic-style rules and regulations they impose. As believers we are supposed to be free from that!)</rant>

Eventually I learned to think critically about my faith and determined what I believe and why I believe it. I have married my faith with what science tells me, and it makes perfect logical sense to me. (I'm a young-earth Creationist, if you wanted to know, but not because my parents or teachers or textbooks or peers say I should be.) I have no problem with evolution (I'm an advocate) and am comfortable with everything the Bible says too.

How did I get so far off track? *pauses to ponder how he got so far off track.* ...All the above is to say that I detest when people from category A are so close-minded and refuse to acknowledge the obvious validity of alternate theories. They have made up their minds and will not change them. So is there a happy medium between being too decisive and not decisive enough? I suppose that one should always be open to new ideas and new theories. Not even just open, but able to seriously consider all the alternatives, even if they don't seem that great at first. But one should not jump at every new thing that comes along and dive headfirst into it. While careful consideration of the occult is fine, it doesn't take much research to determine that it's a load of BS. Likewise, consider all the career paths open to you, but if you keep changing your major, you're never going to finish college. Even if it's not perfect (as there will always be boring classes in every major), you need to stick with something and finish it. Realize that nothing in life can be ideal. *pauses to think if the previous sentence is actually true. probably not.*

I guess that's all I have to say. Decisiveness is a good thing because one needs consistency in life, but being so close-minded to something is not. As a great person once said, "Moderation in all things." *pauses to think if the previous sentence is actually true. realizes instead that it is, in fact, a fragment and not a sentence. oh well.*


David said...

I don't change my mind every 10 minutes.(?)(!)

denaje said...

I never said you did!

Anthony said...

this doesn't have anything to do with our conversation does it?

denaje said...

No, I started writing this post long before then.

Hannah Rose said...

Problems with being in category B are why I vowed never ever to change my major. Then I did. *sigh*

Jeremy Erickson said...

Just curious, how are you an advocate of evolution and a young-earth creationist at the same time? I understand being a Christian and believing in evolution (I'm not one of those "evolution is evil/stupid/etc." type people), but evolution requires a long period of time to work. I don't know of anyone who claims that evolution and young-earth creationism can both be true at the same time.

Or are you merely saying that while you believe in young-earth creationism, you see how a reasonable person could believe in evolution? That would make more sense.

I personally am an old-earth creationist, though I'm not sure whether evolution was the mechanism God worked through or not. There are potential theological difficulties with believing that he did, but certain scientific difficulties with believing he did not.

Anyway, this was an interesting post. I like your comparison between categories A and B. I find that internally I often fall more towards category B (maybe it's just the INTP trait of never feeling certain about anything), but I try to act on reasonable convictions. There's a lot I don't know, though.

denaje said...

Hi Jeremy. I purposely left that part vague, but since you asked, here goes...the way I see it, the word "evolution" does not connote man's rise from apes. It merely describes a (practically scientifically proven) process that we observe in nature whereby a species' genetic structure will gradually change over time, driven by the rules of heredity and natural selection. It doesn't have to imply that our species is millions of years old or that the universe started with the big bang. Just as I can believe that stars undergo an evolution from protostar to main sequence to red giant to white dwarf without necessarily believing that they are millions of years old (I don't hear nearly as much controversy over this one, but the principle is the same). I believe that science is accurate because it's logical and reasonable, and I believe that the Bible is accurate because I allow room in my belief system for miracles by an omnipotent and everlasting God who is capable of doing things outside the realm of science.