One of the biggest barriers to change is the way we cling to “the things we know” like a lifeboat. We cling to our personality and our belief system as it is because change is scary, and change to our core beliefs is almost physically uncomfortable.
But imagine going into college determined to hold onto 9th grade Earth Science as the only view of science. And if you went through all of those science courses (about physics, about the real life food chain with blood and guts) without ever hearing it out of its own accord.
But it doesn’t work like that for things that seem like real knowledge to us (math, science, grammar). It’s only our personality, our spiritual beliefs, and our sociological/political beliefs that we cling to like that.
So I’m wondering…
Why is it that when we don’t understand something in science, we’re fascinated by it, but when we don’t understand something in a religion, we’re cynical about it?
Our culture wants us to believe certain things about marriage, life, and death. Many religions don’t agree. But instead of both sides educating themselves, talking peacefully, and learning more… we spew anger, disbelief, and incredulity. We shut ourselves off from learning to protect the “me” we think we are. And we cut off the possibility that we could learn, change, evolve, beyond our beliefs as they are right now.
As a Christian, I probably hold some beliefs that are controversial for people living fully immersed in the culture right now. But because of my time as an agnostic (and maybe even atheist person), I have a lot more understanding and respect for the secular point of view.
Don’t get me wrong; I’ve drawn my line in the sand and I am coming around to the Church’s belief in all things. But it’s only because I was open to the idea that maybe I was wrong and I dug in to find out. Grabbing a hold of any “side’s” propaganda (even if it’s the “right” side) is dangerous, and it leaves you more likely to flip out and shut down than grab a seat and talk it out.
So there’s my challenge… the next time you feel angry, try feeling curious instead. You might find you feel a lot more at peace, even if nothing about your perspective changes.
PS This is a great approach for dealing with people, too! The next time someone cuts you off, get curious (and brainstorm) why someone might do that. It’s like lifting a rock and seeing your role in the way things work.