Skip to main content

A Thought about Thinking, a little tribute to Chesterton

I have to offer another quote. Sorry, I've been reading GK Chesterton and I just love this guy. I'll try to supply the context after,

"...the modern man fancies he has reached supreme culture because he opens his intellect...There is one odd aspect of the man with this sort of open mind...it is that being thus gaping and helpless, he is really brutal and oppressive. he tyrannises; he forces on all other men his own insolent indecision. He forbids his followers to come to any conclusion till he has done so. He will allow no one else to find the truth...He is the worst tyrant that the world has seen; he is the persecuting sceptic. He is the man who has held up the whole world now for over a hudred years." (London Times Oct 16, 1909)

His point is very simple. One who tries to forever remain an 'open mind' is one who can never actually come to a decision. For example to be open-minded when it comes to say abortion, or euthenasia, or Reformed theology really means to never actually believe anything definitive about it. Once you do you become 'closed-minded.' And the one who demands others maintain an open mind really demands indecisiveness upon others. To maintain an open mind is to never close down on an idea, or theology, or viewpoint. It really is to detach yourself from the world of thought. Isn't it interesting that the ebbing flow of culture has taken something so compassionate sounding 'open mindedness' to mask something so bland and boring and dangerous as detachment?

As a side note --read GK Chesterton, you'll love him (probably)!

Comments

chris said…
what's that old joke about being so open-minded your brains fall out? i've noticed that the most "open-minded" often fall into two camps: the lazy and the militant.

Since the average American watches, what, 4 hours of TV a day and many people don't engage in any thought-provoking activities at all, being open-minded is the easiest option. many of the "open-minded" individuals that i know personally have half-formed opinions based on TV sound bites, misinformation, a desire for the easy answer, and a sad lack of concern for knowing truth. They aren't bad people or ill-intentioned, just... intellectually and morally lazy.

i also see the militant every day at law school, as i attend arguably the most liberal school in america (not a single conservative faculty; students think it's worse to illegally download music than have an abortion).

the few conservative-leaning students on campus (myself included) have found that, if you aren't passionately liberal (socially and politically), your opinion is really not acceptable. i've noticed that the more "open-minded" a person considers himself or herself, the more viciously that person attacks opposing viewpoints. it's not just students, either - i've actually heard professors sneer at comments which hint at non-liberal ideas. in general, anything other than liberal ideology is branded as intolerant, hateful, and unwelcome.

i don't mind this because i am constantly challenged to be thoughtful and articulate about what i believe, and people generally respect that in one-to-one conversations. however, the prevailing atmosphere is overwhelmingly opposed to "dissenting" viewpoints - hardly what the casual observer would expect from an institution that takes great pains to be "open-minded."

Popular posts from this blog

Lilly Grant News Release

NEWS RELEASE FOR RECIPIENTS OF GRANTS IN THE 2019 NATIONAL CLERGY RENEWAL PROGRAM
First Baptist Church of Haverhill has received a grant of $49,980.00 to enable its minister, Pastor Rick Harrington, to participate in the 2019 National Clergy Renewal Program. First Baptist Church of Haverhill is one of 150 congregations across the United States selected to participate in this competitive grant program, which is funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. and administered by Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. Established by the Endowment in 2000, the program’s grants allow Christian congregations to support their pastors with the gift of extended time away from their ministerial duties and responsibilities.  Ministers whose congregations are awarded the grants use their time away from the demands of daily ministry to engage in reflection and renewal. The approach respects the “Sabbath time” concept, offering ministers a carefully considered respite that may include travel, study, rest, …

Wrestling with God

“How to Find a Church” Endorsements

Listed alphabetically:


“Rick Harrington's book How to Find a Church is an excellent and informative read. The titles of each chapter clearly outline the steps a person would take in understanding the value of church, and in finding the proper one for themselves. Various scenarios are openly discussed in both truth and humor, highlighting the complexity of the human soul's search for belonging.”
Pastor Rick Amendola, New Life Christian Assembly of God.
"In a winsome, concise and uncanny way, Pastor Rick Harrington takes the confusion, anxiety, and weirdness out of finding a church family.I encourage those that have given up looking for a faith community or those actively seeking a faith community to read How to Find a Church to assist them in their journey to the relational joys of life together in Christ's Church."
The Reverend Canon Brian Bethke, the Anglican Diocese in New England.
“Choosing a local church can be one of the most formative decisions a person makes. H…