I've been hearing a lot of talk about Christians being narrow minded.
I don't think I've ever heard anyone say or wonder if other groups were
narrow minded, but there's always a first time for everything. I
hope you are "open minded" enough to hear what I have to say.
I don't consider myself to be narrow minded. As a matter of
fact, I object to being labeled as such. This is one of those subjects
that has set in my mind and tumbled around for quite a long time--especially
after being lumped together with a generalized statement about all Christians
being that way. I don't know about other "Christians". I can
only speak for myself. However, I do want to point out that those
Christians I am in contact with and fellowship with are not what I would
consider "narrow minded" by a long shot. Let's look at this term
and what it means or implies.
In my mind when I hear that term being used against "us", it seems
to mean we are unaccepting of other faiths, that we won't even consider
that we could be wrong, that we won't even look at evidence that may counter
what we believe. Is this how you see it?
If by calling me narrow minded you are insinuating that I am unaccepting
of others, you couldn't be more wrong. Why do I have to accept or
embrace someone's else's beliefs before I can accept that person and have
a relationship with him/her? To illustrate this, I have some friends
and acquaintances who are not Christians. Now I obviously believe
in being a Christian or I wouldn't be one. I believe in the Bible
and that Jesus came to earth and died to provide a way for me to have a
relationship with him regardless of what I have done, and I want and have
that relationship. I have accepted his love for me. But do
I reject these non Christians in my life? No way. I can love
them just as they are. I can be their friend. I have some friends
and family members who are gay. Do I reject them? No way.
I love them. They have as much value as I do. I don't agree
with their lifestyle, but that doesn't mean I can't love them and value
them for who they are and have them in my life. I also have friends
who have had abortions, both Christian friends and non Christians.
I strongly oppose the taking of a life. I will never believe that
is right and it causes me pain that we are destroying so many lives that
never have a chance. But although I believe this is wrong, that does
not change the value of the person who has had an abortion or of the one
who gives them for that matter. That does not make them unacceptable
to me, and certainly not to God. You see, I believe we have all done
wrong and continue to do so. When you can admit that and face the
truth of it, you realize one person's wrong is no different than another's.
They may have different consequences, but wrong is wrong and I do wrong
things all the time. The person who has an abortion or who is gay
needs love just as much as I do. I want to show them love just as
I want them to show love toward me. And just for the record--when
Jesus was here, who did he spend his time with? He spent it with
his disciples, yes, but he was known and rejected by many because he spent
time with the "sinners". He was accused of being a wine-bibber and
a glutton. He ate and drank with those who were considered scum.
Doesn't sound to me like he was unaccepting either.
If by calling me narrow minded you are accusing me of not considering
that I could be wrong, you are again assuming something that isn't true.
Some things I've already questioned--such as the validity of the Bible,
the reality of Jesus, etc., and I have determined that there is enough
evidence for me to believe it--and I've also come to the conclusion that
if when I die I find I'm wrong, what have I lost. I haven't been
deprived of life, in fact my faith makes my life richer. I haven't
lost in relationships, I've gained, not only because I have a relationship
with Christ, but also because believing in him and the Bible causes me
to develop relationships with others and become loving and kind to each
one. It doesn't even cause stress in my relationships, because if
I follow Jesus' teachings, I will forgive, I will bless those that curse
me, I won't hold grudges, . I will trust in him and that he has my
best in mind. That means that when things go wrong, I can look forward
to somehow being able to look back someday and see how it was worked out
for good. So that issue is worked out for me. But everything
else I do question continually. I question my beliefs and sometimes
realize I was wrong and change. I can interpret the Bible wrong.
I can have opinions and make decisions apart from the foundational issues
of my faith that are wrong--and when I have opinions they are very strong
opinions usually. But I can still look at someone else's opinions
and consider them. And I have and I do. Just because there
are some things in my life that I believe are solid and I've already tested
and tried them and now embrace them wholeheartedly doesn't make me narrow
minded. But let me ask you this? If you believe in abortion
say, do you ever let yourself consider the other side? Do you ever
allow yourself to admit you could be wrong and go so far as to think about
the consequences of your beliefs if you are wrong? The same with
any other issue you feel strongly about. Is there anything you believe
in with a passion? I hope so. But I also hope that whatever
that belief is that you have been open to the possibilities of being wrong.
Otherwise, someone may say you are narrow minded.
If being narrow minded means I want everyone to believe as I do,
you are partially correct. If you had some knowledge that drastically
changed your life and gave you the kind of life you always wanted, brought
you peace and joy and love, wouldn't you want to share it? And if
you met someone who loved you so much, in spite of what he knew about you
(meaning your hidden secrets only you know), and you knew that allowing
his love to come in and embracing it would really help your friends, wouldn't
you share this information with them? Well, that is how I feel.
I have something, someone in my life of great value. When I go through
difficult times, he is there. When I need comfort, he gives it.
When I feel alone and unloved, he reminds me he is there and loves me more
than I can imagine. When I cry, he cries with me. He dwells
within me, so he is never gone. I can talk to him whenever I want
to. I can ask him for guidance and he gives it. I could go
on. For me to keep him a secret and not share what having a relationship
with him does in my life with those I'm around would be to deny one of
the biggest parts of my life. If you know me, you will find out about
my kids, my husband, my grand kids, my family and other friends.
Why wouldn't I also share about the best friend I've ever had. And
if I saw you in pain, or in some kind of need, why wouldn't I have a desire
for you to also know this person who I believe could help you and meet
your needs? Relationships are sharing one another's life. You
can't have a relationship with me and want or expect me to deny or keep
quiet about something of so much value to me. You would want to know
everything I was willing to let you know about and I'd want to know about
you. Does this mean that if you don't embrace my beliefs that I would
want nothing more to do with you? No! No! No! It
does mean that there would be one part of our relationship that wasn't
as intimate just because there wouldn't be a spiritual bond. There
would be a deeper level of understanding and fellowship that would be lost
because you wouldn't fully understand what I was talking about in an experiential
way. But there could still be a relationship. You would still
be accepted and loved and valued. I could still glean from your life--learn
from you, as you could from me. I would be challenged by your beliefs
just as I hope you would be by mine. I could grow in my own faith
and beliefs and my life can still be richer having had you in my life.
So I hope if you are one of those who put Christians in a box and
label us as narrow minded that you would consider what I have said.
Labels never work in a generalized way. I don't think labels are
even fair on an individual basis because it somehow implies" unchangeable"
and no one is unchangeable. I see labeling as a way of discounting
a person or their beliefs. If you label them, put them with a particular
group, you don't have to pay attention to them or what they say.
But then I'd have to ask, "What are you afraid of?" I think the narrow
minded person is someone who is afraid to have their beliefs challenged
because they don't want to face what may happen if they should find themselves
believing something wrong, or they've already determined that this is how
they want to continue to believe even if it is wrong and regardless of
the consequences. So I ask you, "Are you narrow minded?"
From Our Readers:
Good article, I like the way you systematically
broke apart the different variances of the label "narrow minded". However,
as a Christian myself, I find nothing wrong with being "narrow-minded".
I am in fact closed off to anyone elses beliefs and I will never allow
anyone to persuade me otherwise. As a Christian, I am a black and
white person. There are no gray issues in the Bible. No one can tell
me there are hazy or obscure passages, verses, etc. Additionally, I think
Paul, Peter, and the other pillars of the faith were in fact what we call
today, "narrow minded". They were loving, kind, and compassionate, as I
try to be, but nevertheless - narrow minded in their views and closed off
to other wordly views. They did make themselves available to everyone,
but clearly had their agenda set forth. They loved the sinner, but hated
the sin, and made it be known. As believers in Christ we are to admonish
the wrongdoers but not be hypocritical and do the very same thing they
did. Jesus loved the adultress woman who came to Him and had compassion
on her, but also told her to go and sin no more. We are not to judge others,
but try and correct them through the Holy Spirit and with the love of Jesus.
Well yes, there is a great deal of narrow-minded
"predjudice" against Christians in general, in the world today. I'm very
glad to see that you have many friends who differ from you in various ways.
You do sound like an accepting person.
The problem is, there are a small but extremely
vocal number of Frauds, persons calling themselves "Christian", who are
in fact con-artists like *****, bigots like *****, or scams like *****.
These persons make a lot of noise and get a lot of media, and so they become
synonymous with "Christian" in the minds of many.
As for Fundamentalists, again, a small group
of persons who call themselves Fundamentalist or Evangelical, but who are
actually scam artists bent on exploiting religion to become rich, or who
use specific passages of the bible to promote bigotry and a specific political
agenda, tarnish all others who use these names as well.
You may be a decent person, I have no doubt
that you are. But, *****, *****, ***** and a host of others are quite simply
- scum. And not because they are "Christians", but because they are frauds
exploiting religion to push their own personal agendas. Robin
You have a nice website and I enjoyed your
opinions and views section. After reading your views I had an overall
perception that you seemed a little hard on Christians. You shared
a lot of the same sentiments that the general populace feels towards Christians,
which is not good. Yeah, some Christians are judgemental and might
not be right on track, but we're still fallible and human. People
of the world are just as quick to place judgement on Christians and be
unaccepting of them as well. There are still a lot of godly and righteous
Christians who are doing much more good than not and we need to give credit
where credit is due to them. Greg
Annie's Response: Greg, thanks for your
response. Yes, I am hard on Christians. The reason is because
many times the perception the non-Chrisitan has of us is valid...we have
brought it on ourselves (meaning what some have chosen to do and say has
reflected and brought consequences to us all). My passion is for
Christians to really take a look at theirselves and how they act and react
in the world today, and for the non-Christian to open their hearts and
see how they have judged all of us because of what some have done and do
in the name of Christ. They need to know that Christians don't agree
with all the junk that goes on and to have their eyes opened to the way
we have become discriminated against unjustly. It's time we make
individuals responsible for their own actions and not blame religion, parents,
or any label they choose to use. And it's time for people to realize
there is good and bad in every group and culture. I expect more of
Christians because we are the representatives of Christ in this world and
should not take that lightly, and because this is the group I am united
with, it is the one I want to see grow and mature in Christ and be the
light Christ wants it to be. We can't do anything to change the non-Christian,
only Christ can do that, but we are to help each to grow in Christ.
Yes, the majority of Christians are loving caring people and don't
fit into these catagories, but for those that do, I hope this site will
have an effect. annie
I hope you are open-minded enough to read what I have to say and
consider the possibility that it could be true.