Have you heard some of the crazy stuff people believe these days? I mean its nuts. For one, there are those thousands of people that believe that that God wants them to take over the world for him, murdering, robbing and raping anyone who gets in the way. There’s also people that think that God just created the whole universe in 6 days. Yeah, just erase hundreds of years of scientific research for the sake of a “Holy Book” that was written thousands of years ago. If that’s not wild enough, there are people who actually look out on the universe and see nothing but a biological machine completely void of any intrinsic meaning or purpose. Many of these people really believe that love and beauty are not real at all – they are mere evolutionary mirages who’s sole function is to keep us moving. Talk about crazy!
There’s theres also a huge group of people who believe that we are all one with the universe – that there’s some magical force that unites all things. Ok ok I will stop, but not until I mention those radicals that are under the impression that nobody is actually right (except them of course). They think that whatever the truth is, there’s no way that anyone can really know it. So just pick whatever works for you, and build your entire existence on it, as long as you don’t offend anyone (anyone who thinks like they do, that is).
My my what has the wold come to. It seems that we have totally gone off the rails.
What’s even crazier is that the above paragraph pretty much summarizes the thought perspectives of the vast majority of humanity today and how many of them think about each other. We live in a time in which people seem to be more than ever committed to their belief systems, thus being more than ever diametrically opposed to those who disagree. As secularism spreads through Europe and America, it is followed closely with a wave of renewed religious faith and a return to ancient belief systems.
We are living in an increasingly polarized world. This is something deserving our consideration. We have to be aware of the reality that surrounds us if we are going to live effectively in it. One of the tendencies that I have noticed in myself and others around me, is that we tend to respond increasingly more critically to those around us who think more differently than we do. We blow them off as crazy, radical and foolish. And it seems that the closer they get, the harsher our criticism becomes.
Why do we do this? Perhaps there are layers to the answer. Maybe we are insecure. We see more and more people around us who think and live very differently than we do and we feel that our worldview is threatened. The only option seems to be to completely discount all potential credibility by labeling them as “crazy”. Another layer to the issue is that we may be failing to understand how worldviews work. We fail to see that there are many people in the world who truly see the world from a fundamentally different perspective. We measure all their actions on the basis of our thinking and find if completely absurd.
It is interesting to note that some of the greatest minds of history were blown off as absurd. These are some of history’s most foolish blunders, very often leading to much unnecessary bloodshed and many many years of regressive thinking.
We cannot discount people without first understanding how and why they believe what they believe. Labeling them as radical or crazy without first attempting to understand how they see the world is not a sign of disagreement but a sign of an unwillingness to think on our part. We are not rejecting their worldview. Rather, we are rejecting the opportunity to consider it. It is an indirect way of stating that we have nothing to learn and that our perspective is 100% complete.
When we take time to listen to, and understand, those who think very differently than we do, we often find that there is a lot more in our own perspective that is worthy of further examination. We also find that there is often a lot more in their perspective that makes sense. This has great power to enrich, challenge and strengthen our own worldview, as well as build a greater appreciation of the people around us – even if we don’t agree with all that they say or think.