Post # 1
Here’s a question for you lovely and intelligent hive members: is it ever ok to be closed minded?
I think of being closed minded as a bad thing, a character flaw. It means you think you know everything there is to know about a given issue and aren’t open to other ideas.
But I’ll admit that there are somethings I’m complexly closed minded about. An obvious example for me is gay marriage. I am adamantly ADAMANTLY pro gay marriage. I do not believe that one single justifiable reason exists to ban gay marriage and I believe that people who think otherwise are WRONG. I’m only open to hearing about other ideas to the extent that I’m eager to think of how wrong they are.
That’s the definition of closed minded (although when your closed minded in the liberal sense which doesn’t tend to get labeled as such). And I’m fine with that.
Do you think that it’s ever ok to be closed minded? And is there anything that you are specifically closed minded about?
(For ladies who were talking about feeling worried about sharing dissenting opinions earlier today – here’s a chance!)
Post # 3
Love that question… unfortunately I don’t have a great answer for you.
The perfect world answer would be no, but I can’t imagine how that would be possible. To get into the conundrum… I believe in science and evidence. I base my worldview on them, and am open to supernatural things only if and when I see cold, hard, quantifiable evidence (which I haven’t, but that’s another thread. ;))
So am I closed minded about that? I guess so! So I guess we all are closed minded about something.
Post # 4
Closed minded or open minded, it all depends on how you treat people who believe differently.
Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, and I think it’s great that you’re so passionate about what you believe. But if someone walked up to you and said that they felt opposite, I think it would hinge on how you treat them.
For instance, my Future Father-In-Law is adamantly pro-choice, to the point that he has expressed to Fiance that he doesn’t want us to use birth control. We don’t hold the same view. I still love him- he’s a really great guy and I’m happy to be marrying into the family- but we don’t have knockout, dragdown fights about it. We’ve gotten to the point that we just respect the other person’s belief and let it go.
So I guess that’s my opinion on having opinions. 🙂
Post # 5
@gidgett – wait, he’s pro-choice so he doesn’t want you to use birth control? Did I read that right? that is INSANE (and I’m pro-choice. But I don’t want to have an abortion.)
Post # 6
i am close minded about things that will hurt you – like drugs abuse etc. i have opinions about that that will never change.
i feel ike any illegal drug is just that – illegal. no ifs ands or butts. end of story. its not okay. and its also not ok to abuse perscription drugs.
idont care what justification people use, but that stuff hurts people. even if its just the user (which is rare)
but i think that when it comes to things like a difference of opinion or somethign that might be based on someones religion or values, then im not one to argue with them on that – i dont judge when it comes to that because i have my own values and religious beliefs.
with the example that you gave though – that automatically saying anyone that disagrees with pro-gay stance is wrong, wellllllll i think thats wrong, but its your right to think that way.
youre kinda just being as close minded as the anti-gay folks if you ask me.
but no one said that everyone has to agree – but there should be a level of tolerance though.
Post # 7
I agree with lilyfaith when she says that we are all closed minded about something or other. I’d say that most people have really strong opinions either for or against something, and like you said cbgg, they think that others are wrong. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true, it just means that to them it’s the only right answer, and the only one that makes sense.
I think it is ok to be closed-minded about some things. I do not think it is ok to insult, criticize, bash, slander, etc. another party with a differing viewpoint. There is a way to communicate differences without belittleing and being cruel.
I am against gay marriage. I am conservative and a Christian and it is just not in line with my values to support it. (Hopefully I will still be able to log on to Weddingbee tomorrow! LOL! ok just kidding :P) I do not bash gay people & I would NEVER EVER hold up a sign that says something as ludicrous, insulting and just plain WRONG as “God hates fags”. That is HORRIBLE and unfortunately paints all Christians & conservatives in a VERY bad light.
Anywho, just wanted to respond to this and thanks for the opportunity to express our opinions in your thread 🙂
Post # 8
I like to say that I am intolerant of intolerance. If someone wants to try to sell me their case on being pro-racist or anti-gay rights or whatever, I cannot see their point of view nor will I try to do so. It doesn’t make sense to provide an open-mind to a “view” that is decidedly closed-minded.
Post # 9
I don’t think having opinions = being close minded or convinctions = close minded.
I’m adamantly pro gay marriage as well. But I don’t think I’m close minded – if some information came out that revealed that gay marriage actually hurt anyone or like raped children (or whatever insane thing is trotted out as a reason to oppose it) and there was factual proof I’d be open to changing my mind. With my knowledge of the world I feel confident that no such thing will happen the same way I feel confident flying pigs won’t appear. But if I see flyng pigs I’m ready to evaluate. That’s being open minded I think. 🙂
Being close minded means being unwilling to listen to anyone or change your opinion when presented with facts IMO but defining open minded as someone who can’t make up their mind or doesn’t value their opinions/decisions – that’s a willingness to ignore facts as well and is anti science.
Post # 10
@lilyfaith: GAH! messup. I meant pro-life. Most def pro-life. *facepalm* I need stop eating cupcakes late at night…
Post # 11
@gidgett – haha, okay, I see… I was going to say, that’s a really odd view!
Not to be just agreeing here, but I think everyone’s dead on. I especially like what okqueenbee and peanutlovespumpkin said – there’s definitely a balance between having convictions and making sure you’re compassionate.
Post # 12
spaganya, but what about someone whose opinion on drugs is different form yours because of their values and morals? I don’t really see the distinction you’re making. And I don’t know why we view religion as a ‘get out of jail free’ card. Religion is a fine reason to believe something I guess but it’s not any more inehrently right or unassailable than any other reason IMO.
Post # 13
What an interesting question.
I really value open-mindedness. I view it as a patiently exercised humility—a willingness to engage with ideas regardless of whether I agree with them and regardless of whether I have already formed an opinion. I do not think of it as being wishy-washy or noncommital. Whatever new evidence I gain from a conversation will either strengthen or weaken my ideas, and while it’s easy to seek out ideas that support your opinion, part of the humility component for me is allowing my opinions to be weakened by new evidence, allowing my mind to be changed if that is so warranted. Ultimately I see open-mindedness as a tool to refine my opinions as purely as possible.
Sometimes though it is hard to keep yourself open-minded, like when you feel like you have heard all the arguments and don’t want to hear any more or when your emotions are so strong that you can’t hear all the arguments even if you want to. When that happens to me I have to take a break from the situation and disengage. I think everyone has to do that sometimes, but that there is real value to getting back on the horse, as it were, instead of making up your mind once and for all, regardless of whatever else might occur. So I think of close-mindedness as a necessary state, but of open-mindedness as a valuable choice to make when at all possible.
Post # 14
I agree. I also think a lot of times, close mindedness comes from people just not wanting to stop and listen. Sure, I have my own beliefs, but I’ll stop and listen to what you have to say before politely disagreeing. Who knows, maybe I’d learn a thing or two! 🙂
Post # 15
I think what people are saying is really key – the essence of the problem is not necessarily in being flexible in your opinion and more in being respectful to others. While I do think that people who have a different opinion than me on that particular topic are wrong, i don’t (often) actually tell them that. And when I do I try to do it in a respectful way.
@Arachna – i agree about the religion as a “get out of jail free” on belief questioning. I’m ok with it in general but it bothers me when it’s used as justification to hurt others.
Post # 16
Another thought: how or whether should we be open-minded with seemingly “close-minded” people or ideas?
To answer my own question, I think the degree of engagement one can expect depends on where you are in the decision-making process. If you do not know much about a situation, then I think it is valuable to learn as much as you can about both arguments and to be open-minded about which will sway you—versus never seeking out any more information while insisting you are right, or going in with a preconceived notion and looking only for information which will support your preconceptions, or viewing all information you do receive through a preconceived lens.
But maybe you have been open-minded and you have looked at the evidence and made up your mind. It is not then close-minded to refuse to immediately re-examine evidence you have already processed—you can be open-mindedly waiting for new information, even if you think the odds of it arriving are somewhat on par with those for pigs flying—this attitude looks like close-mindedness but is really just open-minded resolution waiting for more information.
A trap though is thinking that these issues are stationary targets—that you can consider all sides of an issue once and then be done with it forever. I think it’s important to occasionally take out your dearest-held beliefs and to examine them for what they are worth. Most of us here are quite young, in our 20s and 30s; our opinions aren’t that old yet. In another 20 or 30 years, when our children are grown and/or getting married, will our ideas look as backward to them as some of the ideas of our parents’ and grandparents’ generation look to us? I think the only way to ensure that they do not is to make sure that we don’t get caught thinking we have all the final answers.
And I totally agree with everyone that open- or close- or any-minded, respectful behavior is paramount. 🙂