MMA of the heart

MMAI’m pretty much convinced that most people simply believe what they want to believe.

Oh, they can talk big about reading the right books and listening to the right authorities and watchdog groups and historians and news services and educators.  But when the dust settles, it looks to me like the average joe just decides what he or she wants to believeand sticks with it.

And the longer they stick with it, the thicker the filter where information is siftedand private, individual truth is formed.

My dad was a “union guy” till the day he died.  The local carpenter’s union kept my dad working, made sure he was paid fairly, and provided support during the lean times.  When people came along and cried of the evils of the mighty union, my dad would hear none of it.  Period.

Many Americans stand firmly on the belief that the United States was formed as a Christian nation and built on the faith and values of the framers of the constitutionin spite of serious evidence to the contrary.   “It’s just revisionist history written by people who want to tear down our country”,  they say.

When my mother had her first stroke, her beloved doctor told her to start drinking a glass of wine every day.  My poor, teetotaling mom labored under the weight of guilt for the rest of her lifeand no matter how many times her would-be, theologian/youth minister son tried to point out that drinking a glass of wine everyday was not a sin, my mother was never convinced.

We all believe what we want to believe.

  • President Obama is a Muslim.
  • Country music is bad.
  • Public education should be eliminated.
  • Mexicans are lazy.
  • We need more trained, private citizens carrying concealed weapons.
  • Women are not fit to lead.
  • Chevy, not Ford.
  • Steak is the perfect food group.
  • All of creation happened during six 24-hour days.
  • Republicans are rich, heartless capitalists.
  • Democrats are evil.
  • Texans are justbetter.

And hundreds more like these.  When faced with the possibility that their cherished position could actually be intelligently and logically challenged, people will simply close off and continue to choose to believe what they have always believed.

“There is no new information that would ever cause me to change my mind.”

“The information sources I submit myself to are totally trustworthy and intellectually superior to anything or anyone new that could come my way.”

“My position (perspective, opinion, belief, judgment, attitude) needs no changes.  It works fine.  It adequately defines and explains the world, as I choose to see it.”

I have changed my mind on a lot of things during my life.  Most of them were smaller, non-essential kinds of things.  Others, though, have been more of the big, rock-your-world variety.  Some were practical.  Some were ideological.  Some have been theological.

All of the changes were based on new evidence.  Sometime by even walking in other people’s shoes.  Study and questioning and listening and wrestling were seldom easy.  It took time and determination.  None of the changes would have taken place without my willingness to admit my understanding would always be imperfect and limited.

Most of those changes have redefined the way I live my life.  I am definitely a better man for all of it.

How about you?  Are ready to do some cage-fighting with what you believein the pursuit of something nobler?

It’s not so bad on the mat.

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4 thoughts on “MMA of the heart

  1. This topic is very relevant and troubling to our struggle to find common ground with each other. Introspective reflection can be terrifying if it’s honest and genuine; rationale and ‘logic’ must be resisted, at times. I’ve found, in my 37 years on this rock, that while the subordinate details of my ‘take’ on life, my core values, instilled from day one, grow ever stronger with each passing day. They continue to evolve, twist, distort, and morph, but God has a way of constantly reminding me that I am both unique and no more valued than criminals, haters, and the hurtful and that I am not only obliged to accept them, but also love them with a pure and honest heart. Sure, we all function (maybe even most days) in the manipulative power of the immediate, knee-jerk, reactionary, and emotional. The quick theory-creation that happens in a second deems our substantial understanding, as Christians, that God loves EVERYONE with the same fervor and jealousy, seemingly unnecessary. Why bother with all that ‘love your neighbor’ stuff when I’ve been wronged by THAT guy or THAT group? Don’t I get revenge?

    I am highly influenced by what I read and witness, and I get to ‘choose’ my sources! I admit my initial ‘go-to’ sources tend to have a ‘liberal’ slant, a less judgmental and more inclusive framework: I am an adamant NPR listener; I love hippie ideology (to a point); I’m a lover not a fighter. But, I can and should admit my frustration and confusion when face-to-face with truth that rocks my ‘it’s-all-good-let’s just-love-everybody’ mentality. Flexibility and openness are fundamental to life, as long as we are calling ‘life’ the ever-fluxing journey that it indeed is.

  2. So since I’m half Mexican, does that mean I’m half lazy… And I’m assuming that my Irish half means I half a drunkard… 🙂

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