What is an “open mind”?

Throughout my questions, I’ve often encountered the admonishment “you don’t have an open-enough mind to receive god”.

I’ve read similar response here too, and I’d like to explore this a little, and hopefully get a more broad input.

So I’ll put the question to you:
What is an open mind?

My interpretation of an “open mind” is one that is able to consider any concept, independent of any a priori and preconceived notions. These INCLUDE concepts such as “there is no god”, and the inverse “there is a god”, or even “I have no reason to conclude a god exists” (in the context of religion, these are the three possibilities that correspond to theism, anti-theism, and atheism – feel free to correct me on these names for the sake of correctness and communication, but they don’t actually matter for the point of this post, I’m using Anti-theism as a way to distinguish between “no belief in a god” which is atheism, and a belief in “no-god” i.e. anti-theism- one is not a “belief system”, and the other most assuredly is).

An “open mind” might take the form of a newly-cleaned slate. The information is written down THEN processed using whatever tools are relevant and appropriate. A CLOSED mind would be a confused, busy and mangled slate, where there is little room to accept any additional information – it is already pre-occupied with preconceived ideas and notions.

Am I attempting to show that atheism is “open” and theism is “closed”?
NO!.

A closed-minded person is one who says “you can never make be believe X” – people who maintain this concept are present in all philosophies, theistic, anti-theistic and atheistic (and I’ve received posts from such people here too, I might add).

Quite honestly, I’m not interested in talking to closed-minded people, but those who are fully prepared to analyse any new information with the most “accessible tool”.

Which brings us to the question – if it’s not the “open mindedness” that distinguishes the philosophies, what is it?
I suggest that it’s the TOOL.

My tool is “logic” It works. Is it the “most appropriate”? Well, that’s probably debatable, but it “works”, and the proof is in the pudding – we have achieved incredible things using logic – some of them are the development of the transistor, the LED screen, wireless transmission, satellites… all leading to the availability of sites such as the christian faith site.

But is logic “the best”? Well we Don’t know. What is clear, however, is that it’s the best that we have available.

For theists, the “most appropriate” tool is faith. I can defensibly insist that “faith” and “logic” are two, mutually exclusive tools. They CANNOT co-exist (an example is the famous Isaac newton, who was both a theist and a scientist – NONE of his science work ever concluded that “god exists”, but he ALWAYS assumed a naturalistic explanation in the first instance – bear in mind that newton lived around the same time as the salem witch burnings, a few 100 miles from his house).

Even so, I won’t insist that faith is an invalid tool to use because it CAN (but not always) have a positive effect….. but only on the individual. This is because faith is purely subjective – i.e. it does not arrive at a universal truth and is contingent on the state of mind of the user. Personal faith does not yield usable products (e.g. it is not a replacement for medication, the haber process, or nuclear power), but it CAN (again, not always) make the invoker of the faith, happy. It can also make them sad, or guilty.

So an “open mind” is irrespective of your philosophy – it is dependent on your ability to say things like “I can change my mind, depending on the information available”. This is true for people of faith, and people of logic. People who say things like “you can never change my mind..” are NOT open-minded. They are closed minded (and indeed, they probably lie too, since describing what they think is a high probability, certainly does not translate to a certainty). Faith, or logic, can be both bolstered by open mindedness, , and undermined by closed mindedness.

At least, that’s my opinion. Are there any thoughts? (perhaps more relevantly, from people who might confess to being “closed minded”, since I’ve described this mind-state rather critically).

Many thanks again to you all for your patience and tolerance.
Anon-em

What do YOU think?

comments

Comments

  1. davidchik says:

    Dear “Anon-em”,

    You are correct. “Open mind” is the one that can consider all possibilities – God exists or not, or unverifiable. What you write is reasonable, honest and serious.

    My comment is:

    1. Logic and reason has limitation. When we buy apples from a store, we’ll check the surface for any dark spots or holes, but the store owner will not allow us to cut the apples into halves. In terms of logic, we never have sufficient information to determine whether the apples are good or not. We need faith to pick up and buy them, right?

    2. Logic does not exist in priori. Do you know Second Life or World of Warcraft ? Theoretically, there can exist a world that has a different set of logic (or even completely illogical and chaotic). Logic is simply a general pattern that we observe in this world, but it is not the ultimate authority. If you know something about quantum mechanics, you should understand why I said logic does not exist in priori.

    3. I think logic and faith are complementary to each other, rather than mutually exclusive. Some Christians are supertitious, but others are as reasonable and logical as non-Christians. Actually I am a scientist. I have PhD in Physics and Brain Science. I don’t think I am foolish and superstitious, but I am a Christian.

    4. “BABTB” got the point, although he failed to explain what it means. “Seek, and God will prove himself”. This is true in my experience. Once I was having a job interview in Cambridge, I prayed for success, then during the inteview, fire alarm suddenly turned on, everyone left the building, and the interviewer refused to arrange another time slot for me. At first I was angry, but then I realised God did not want me to go to UK. Now I am in Japan, surviving the earthquake and waiting for the next task that God will give me. I don’t want to write too many “supernatural” things, but I can assure you, if you are serious enough, God will prove his existence to you, personally.

    Feel free to contact me if you have any more questions.

    David

  2. alethesia dipsos says:

    How amazing it is to me when good intentions can lead to hurt feelings, hasty remarks, and all together missing the mark. But then, by the grace of God, forgive each other and find new and greater love from it. Thank you all and thank you Lord, most of all!

  3. bornagainbytheblood says:

    How do you prove God?

    Seek Him fervently by faith, and He’ll prove Himself. It may not happen overnight, but He will prove Himself by fulfilling His promises in His Word. If we meet the conditions of His promises, then we are entitled to the fulfillment of them. There’s nothing so delightful as seeing God move, and that’s proof enough.

    However, if people are in bitterness toward God because they dislike the way He works, then they are their own worst enemy. satan is robbing them, and he’ll eventually have their souls in hell one day.

    • anonymous-em says:

      Hi BABTB,
      Thanks for your reply – however…

      Faith, as you know, operates only in the absence of proof. This is the general dictionary definition.

      What you’re suggesting is actually circular – before you can have proof for god, you must FIRST “assume” he exists. After making that assumption, then of course, your conclusion will be that god exists.

      There’s a lot of other issues with your reply that I might bring up later, in future forums – such as our apparent obligation to earn the favor of an omnicient and powerful being, the ethics surrounding his imposed punishment for not worshipping him (and how that might contradict the common declaration of him being all-loving), and what you seem to perceive as my “bitterness” towards him.

      I’m also interested in your references to satan. Since I personally think that YOU have no way of distinguishing between satan and god. I can’t imagine how an all-powerful god would demand that you do anything at all, but I CAN understand how satan might attempt to fool you, trick you into thinking the HE is god, and control your actions in a selfish way.
      In a nutshell. The bible tells you how to live. I don’t think an all-loving god would tell anyone how to live, but I think satan would.

      • lookinforacity says:

        EM

        This statement of yours, is the most offensive, thing I have ever seen posted on this forum.

        “In a nutshell. The bible tells you how to live. I don’t think an all-loving god would tell anyone how to live, but I think satan would.”

        Also the small subtle things you do such as, time and time again.

        “but I CAN understand how satan might attempt to fool you, trick you into thinking the HE is god,”

        Your use of capital H in reference to Satan, but lower case g in reference to GOD. This is the exact opposite to what I first asked of you politely, so there would be no misunderstanding on your part, You may think it to be a small thing, but to us it is offensive.

        That is the kind of thing that has made you so endearing to everyone here.

        • anonymous-em says:

          Hi jim,
          I think the fact that you draw offense from what is demonstrably my intermittent capitalizations, says more for the quality and substance of your complaint than does any legitimate point you might have – which, as it turns out, you do not.

          Jim, this is, quite honestly, the last time I will EVER respond to your posts. your points are fraudlent, incoherent, inconsistent, condescending, factually incorrect and outright inflammatory. I have not come here to be berated by somone who takes selective offence at various parts of my post that are certainly and demonstrably not representitive, and from somone who, to be frank, has engaged in such superficial research that he cannot understand the basic rules of logic, is obvious to the strategy of productive and important reserach, and moreover.. thinks that tides are a biological phenomenon!!

          Good day to you. I will respond to your posts no longer.

          • lookinforacity says:

            Hi em

            I will not try to condone or excuse what I did or what I said.
            I was wrong in expressing the anger I did to you, for that I am heartily sorry.
            I expressed that anger in open forum, rather than a closed private message to you.
            Therefore I owe you an apology in open forum as well.

            I am sorry for my misconduct towards you, or any anger I caused you to feel.
            Please forgive me. I AM A JERK.

            Be Blessed
            JIM

          • alethesia dipsos says:

            And I, my friend and brother owe you an apology as well. I too chastised you in public and now publicly apologize. I was wrong. I sinned against heaven and against you and ask your forgiveness.
            I respect and look up to you for the apology you made. Please forgive me.
            Neil

          • lookinforacity says:

            Hi Neil

            Forgiven brother, and forgotten.
            Go with God

            Be Blessed
            JIM

          • anonymous-em says:

            Jim,
            Everyone gets angry. In this case, I don’t think it’s something that merits an apology of this depth. Suffice to say that yes, I know I get things wrong and even pointing it out on a forum is fine – that way everyone learns too.

            I don’t know a lot about your god, but I think I know a reasonable amount about the natural world. You know a lot abut your god but, (if you don’t mind me saying again), I think you might benefit from more information about the natural world.
            I’d be more than happy to meet you, or anyone, halfway and try to flesh out how these two worlds affect each other. To be honest, this is what I would prefer, but my point here is to learn about you all, (i.e. Christians) and how you understand and regard the natural world.

            Given the outcomes, I think I’ll recant on the promises of no-communication made in my previous posts. My appreciation of your frankness.
            anon-em

          • lookinforacity says:

            Hi em

            You say:
            Jim,
            Everyone gets angry. In this case,
            I don’t think it’s something that merits an apology of this depth.
            My appreciation of your frankness.

            Here is a point for you, in a world where things happen, the majority of the time the depths aren’t merited.
            But I have told you in another post in different words, We, are held to a higher standard for our actions, it isn’t only that we believe in God as Supreme, it is that we base our Faith in the fact He is exactly who He says He is. Because our future lives depend on this, our lives for all eternity. But far beyond this, we are Gods’ representatives here on this Earth to the lost, and I am sorry to say you do fall into that category.
            So being His representative to you personally, I need to conduct myself not only in accordance with what I believe he says to do, but in a way He would conduct Himself if He was dealing with you personally, and not through this earthen vessel that has all kinds of cracks and scratches.
            So yes, I do have to do things the way He says do them, or I cannot truly call myself a Christian, not my will but thine be done through me is my prayer. Explanation on the whys and the wherefore of the Christian thinking, that is what your asking for isn’t it?

            Be Blessed
            JIM

        • anonymous-em says:

          Oh, and jim, it’s quite clear that you don’t object to mis-capitalisations, there are any number of examples by other posters here, NONE of which have elicitied so much as a peep from you. EVEN such examples posted to your own blogs.
          So it’s clearly NOT the capitalizations you worry about, and given your past record in presenting a valid argument, I won’t bother to explore what you ARE worried about.

          Coherency in complaint, jim. If you’re going to make a mountain, make sure you are consistent with ALL molehills, not just the ones you arbitrarily choose.
          Again, good bye. having successfully illustrated that you are not what you say you are, I will address this point, and you, no further.

        • alethesia dipsos says:

          Since “speaking the truth in love” is out the window, let’s keep going and rewrite the whole thing!
          He is an atheist, he does not believe what we believe.
          If we are to be salt and light, what I just read was tasteless and dark
          We should also reject Peter’s declaration to:
          “Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, YET WITH GENTLENESS and REVERENCE”
          Are we to judge nonbelievers now too? All the memos I must have missed.
          Regarding YOUR statement:
          “This statement of yours, is the most offensive, thing I have ever seen posted on this forum.”
          Get out more. What offense is it to you? Are you God? Or does God require you to defend Him and to pass judgment on His accusers?
          What an offense! An atheist believes not in God and questions God and things regarding God and doubts his existence! How my brother, have you been able to bear up under such offenses?
          And they’ll know we are Christians by our pettiness. I will give you this my brother, the gospel YOU are rewriting IS in fact a much easier one to live by than the one I live by – let me know when you are finished.
          Also, your sinful statement:
          “That is the kind of thing that has made you so endearing to everyone here” I scarcely believed a brother in Christ would commit to words. I am ashamed to be labeled with such. Don’t ever let your arrogant attitude speak for other believers in that way.
          Ask for forgiveness and show Christ’s love, brother. I too have made mistakes as you did – in fact, I have done much worse! I am sinful and dark hearted and unwise. I have been there and know how it is to get carried away. You were wrong brother. Please make it right.

          EM – in fear that my brother does not, I ask your forgiveness for how you have been treated.

        • newlight says:

          Peter I am glad your apologised to EM but i just want to point out a flaw in your arguement:
          “In a nutshell. The bible tells you how to live. I don’t think an all-loving god would tell anyone how to live, but I think satan would.”
          (Take this from someone that was very close to the darkside infact i had sold my soul when i was 15 and now doing my best to get it back.)
          lucifer has only one rule to abide by: Do as thou wilt”
          This one rule of his can cause anarcy and destruction for if there are no laws to abide by then anything can happen: Murder, theft, destruction of anything and everything etc.
          The laws of God make perfect sense to me even if you are not a believer can’t you see how at least the 10 commandments would massively improve the lives of all if all people abided by them?
          Basically all God’s laws and views as sins are taking us out of the grasp of lucifer. As and old saying goes (I am repeating this from memory so forgive me if it’s inaccurate): The easy path is not always the best one.
          It is much easier to follow lucifer’s one rule than to abide by god’s but the reward at the end is great for following god’s path.
          I know you already apologies but these are good people on this site trying to help anyone who desperately need help such as myself. Trust me I believe I am demonically influenced infact i believe 66* days since i sold my soul and my curse came into effect. I do not want to write that evil number in it’s entirety on this site.
          Trust me Peter lucifer exists and if he does definately his enermy god and jesus do aswell. And you would be very wise to follow the slighly harder path to avoid lucifer’s domain. I use the name lucifer as I am not giving the the respect of any other name he gave himself. That was his name when he was an angel.
          I hope you will find Jesus Peter, even if you truely try once to pray to Jesus for forgiveness of your sins and name the ones you can remember and truely accept him as the son of god. If you feel as I do a tingle in your hands etc that is the holy spirit letting you know his presence. If you are only trying this as an experiment and do not do it seriously then you may not feel anything at all.

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