If you keep your mind sufficiently open,
people will throw a lot of rubbish into it.
–-William A. Orton
If you’re placed in a situation where you suspect your convictions will be labeled intolerant, bigoted, narrow-minded, and judgmental, turn the tables. When someone asks for your personal views about a moral issue—homosexuality, for example—preface your remarks with a question. You say: “You know, this is actually a very personal question you’re asking, and I’d be glad to answer. But before I do, I want to know if you consider yourself a tolerant person or an intolerant person. Is it safe to give my opinion, or are you going to judge me for my point of view? Do you respect diverse ideas, or do you condemn others for convictions that differ from yours?” Let them answer. If they say they’re tolerant (which they probably will), then when you give your point of view it’s going to be very difficult for them to call you intolerant or judgmental without looking guilty, too. This response capitalizes on the fact that there’s no morally neutral ground. Everybody has a point of view they think is right and everybody judges at some point or another. The Christian gets pigeon-holed as the judgmental one, but everyone else is judging, too. It’s an inescapable consequence of believing in any kind of morality.
Merely having an open mind is nothing; the object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid. –G. K. Chesterton
Often the person with spiritual convictions is seen as close-minded and others are seen as open-minded. What is fascinating to me is that at the center of the Christian faith is the assumption that this life isn’t all there is. That there is more to life than the material. That existence is not limited to what we can see, touch, measure, taste, hear, and observe. One of the central assertions of the Christian worldview is that there is “more” – Those who oppose this insist that this is all there is, that only what we can measure and observe and see with our eyes is real. There is nothing else. Which perspective is more “closed-minded?” Which perspective is more “open?”
― Rob Bell,
Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith
Invited to give a lecture at Harvard Business School, Chuck Colson was given the topic: “Why Good People Do Bad Things.” Never one to mince words, Chuck told the students that Harvard could never teach business ethics because it did not believe in absolute values. The best it could do would be to teach pragmatic business judgments.
“You can’t teach ethics here because you don’t believe there are moral laws,” he said. “But there are moral laws just as certain as there are physical laws. We are simply unwilling to admit it because it interferes with our desire to do whatever we please, and doing what we please has become the supreme virtue of our society. Places like Harvard, indeed Harvard of all institutions, propagate these kinds of values.”
Colson’s speech was met by passive silence, then polite applause. Anticipating a more hostile reaction, he later queried organizers of the event: “Why such a docile response?”
“The material you presented was totally new to them,” said one young man. “They didn’t have the tools to debate it.”
–Jack Eckerd and Charles Colson,
Why America Doesn’t Work