Is it possible to have an entirely open mind concerning spiritual beliefs? I have over the years swung from religion to atheism and back again. And whatever I was believing in at the time, I was convinced that it was the one and only truth. Now though, I believe I have moved onto having an open mind. I find myself exploring everything from sceptical atheism to beliefs in the paranormal. I am interested not only in the beliefs of one side of the eternal argument, but to every religious, spiritual and sceptical beliefs. Is it possible though to maintain a mind that doesn't make its mind up, and finds itself agreeing with views which are entirely opposite to each other?
I belive it is possible to have an open mind concerning spirtual beliefs. I am a Christians, but disagree with a lot of the beliefs of each religion and there are many religions in Christianity. From Catholics to Methodists and so on.
You just have to get the "I" principal out of the way and you'll see it's all the same thing. A rational ascertion as to what this is.
Agreeing with positions that are incompatible means one of two things. The first is that the law of non-contradiction is being violated and you are attempting to hold the two views because you are attracted in some way to them both. The other possibility here is that contradictions exist in reality (which would be hard to argue, but maybe possible) and you holding the two views wouldn't actually be a problem at all.
With regards to an open mind, you just go where the evidence leads you. You can begin an investigation with an open mind, assess the arguments on both sides, examine your own life experience, and then attempt to arrive at a conclusion. If you have gone through this process, you have an open mind.
I think the only differences lay within the mind. The only distinctions between this and that, are but facets of observations, of an outside view. We see it and because we don't understand it, we are prejudice to it. "The bible's the only book I ever read". And "Christianity is the only religion I study". The same can be said for worshippers of other faiths as well. To accept them all is to find God in all.
To continue within indecision is the devils playground and the height of hypocrisy.
Its better to go for one or the next or lump both and choose something else.
That something else can be some or neither of the two to whatever varying degree you decide.
But ultimately you make a decision or it will be made for you.....that is death.
for me the end of every moment is death and the start of every moment the beginning of life.
True acording to a certain manner of thinking...
this is the temporal(time) state where death itself is not yet stilled
But True Life isn't flashes of moments but without time itself.
this is the fulnes of Life and rest.
This guy should run for president. He'll get at least one vote!
Yes, it's possible. I'm a christian who views science as an intense study of God's creation and I believe every religion in the world has something to teach us about humanity, whether you accept that religion's teachings or not. Science has confirmed we are all related. We all want to understand who we are and where we come from. There's a lot of common ground here underneath all the derision. An open mind is monumentally important.
I think St. Augustine (354-430 AD), who's writings greatly influenced western Christianity, said much more eloquently than I ever could exactly what many modern Christians need to hear ...
"It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian.
It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation."
I believe it is possible to keep an open mind, though I don't know if it is possible to keep one that is not made up in some way. Let me explain. I know that I believe in Jesus and the stories shared in the Bible; however, I also believe in many of the teachings of the prophets of other religions as well as in the teachings of other religions' books. There is much to be learned from Buddhism and Taoism, from Islam and Jehovah's Witnesses. By reading their teachings, experiencing their services, I have grown in my own faith while also being aware of what else is out there. So my mind is open to always learn and know what is out there but for me, I know Christianity is the right choice because I studied and explored the others before arriving at that conclusion.
Did you find anytime when you switched from religion to atheism and back that you were a closed mind; didn't have an open mind?
I think that whatever my belief at the time, whether it was a a Jehovah's Witness, or as an atheist, I was convinced that it was the one and only truth. Now though, I am discovering that there are so many ways of viewing life, that I will be restricting myself, if I only studied one. And I find it quite liberating to admit that I have no proof for anything and so realise that anything is possible.
I think I do have an open mind regarding religion. I am an atheist by choice, ie. I am not absolutely convinced that there was, is, a god or jesus. By the same rule, I'm not convinced there isn't . Atheist by choice, rather than belief (if that makes sense) I do accept that I may be wrong and that there may be a big G.
Of course. Spiritual beliefs are just that; unfounded beliefs. That's about it.
Are you Rookery Spooner, or does everyone who went to Oxford write this well?
Yes, I think it is. I have had similar shifts of thought and philosophy in my lifetime so I think that I empathize with your situation and question. To me the conclusion that I have taken from it all is this. That I am open minded to others; that I treat their beliefs with as much respect as I possibly can, although sometimes I do fail at this. To me beliefs that are derived from dogma, preached from organized institutions are inferior, in that there is always an agenda that comes from the organization itself. I used to be LDS for a time, and the LDS Church as it is in Utah is the greatest example of this need to push an agenda and to implement control. Spirituality, left to the individual will overcome social agendas, and the individual will arrive at their own ethics based upon life experience and what the compassion inherent in the individual moves them to do. To me this is pure religion, this is organic spirituality. This is also the most difficult of paths to walk, because having abandoned the organizations, and in a sense their protection, the individual is left whole and free, and “anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” (Soren Kierkegaard) In such a state the individual has an open mind to others, their ethics intact, and the ability to discern right from wrong.
I guess it depends on "how" one defines an "open mind"?
If you're willingly allowing irrationality to mix with reality, and you expect people to be "open-minded" about the irrationality you use to mix with reality to be accepting? To those who choose living in reality, which is logic and honest versus irrationality which makes no sense and is dishonest, is what matters most.
Accepting dishonesty isn't going to improve the world. You can be accepting to some, if not, most things. But, accepting some things damages the world, causing huge unwarranted conflicts and increases death tolls.
So, like I said- It depends on your definition of "open-mind". I'm sure your definition will be to include mystical beliefs which have no reason to exist in reality. Your OP seems to be conflicted and you refuse to aim for understanding. I'm going to leave you with a thought- Maybe it is YOU who doesn't understand your own life? I realize you're bouncing around between believing and not believing in a god or religion, either or. Maybe it's time you ASKED yourself specific questions, grow in awareness. It's just a thought.
I can see what you are saying, and recognise that some fields of study, I am taking because I want to believe in them. Such as my fascination in things classed as supernatural. However, the same can be said of my atheism - it served a purpose. And I do believe that all of my stages of belief and disbelief have been valid.
As to accepting views which are different to our own, I think this in necessary to avoid the conflicts, which individuals and socities have. This doesn't mean agreeing with all views, but at least having a willingness to explore them might lead to discoveries and new ways of thinking.
And irrationality must be dealt with in whatever manner possible.
You are an agnostic, the course to take in all affairs of the intellect in my opinion.
You can choose to be as open as you can be. I don't know if any human can have a purely open mind...we all have some sort of bias based on our world view, our experiences, our education, upbringing, etc. But, I think it is valuable to go on the journey of discovery and seek truth. If one is seeking, however, it is good to fully seek and not just research three or four options and think "this is all there is to choose from?" Search in a wholistic sense. Look at evidence from every angle. Look at it from a logical standpoint--search to learn from those on all sides of the spectrum. Search history and archaeology and science. Search broad and search deep. If you look for the treasure of true knowledge, I believe you will find it. And as long as you are undecided, it absolutely cannot hurt for you to ask God (God, if you exist) to guide you. If you make a final decision without having searched long and hard, how will you know that was really the best decision? :-)
I am a believer and my mind is so open that I entertain all possibilities. It gets me into trouble with all religious groups. Oddly enough I only ask questions and I do not fall away from scripture. I trust that they are the experts who can provide me the answers but instead they condemn me. Perhaps I do not need the answers and the World is flat. I think in most cases they see such questions as a challenge to their beliefs or their intellect. I do not challenge any of these things so maybe its not my problem.
I think that you are searching for what you can see as the absolute truth. The fact alone that you are aware of your switching from one sort of belief to another and that you are also aware that they are contradictories, is already by itself an indication that you are closer to the kind of truth you are searching for yourself, some truth that you can believe works for you.
"Is An Open Mind Possible?"
Sure, be careful you don't let in a draft. Especially if you use chemicals to help open the doors of perception
Last week, I had to have a blood test, which is a nightmare for me, as I have always had a fear of needles. This has meant that in previous years, I have actually refused to have blood tests taken. However, the night before I was due to have the test, I received "sprititual healing" from mediums. Afterwards, my fear of needdles disappeared. I consider myself to be sceptical, yet my long-held fear really did disappear, and I am left wondering why I was so afraid. It is such experiences, which make be believe that an open mind could lead to new ways of thinking and experiences.
Spend a week or two or three, just observing your fears, little ones, big ones. Fear in some situations is a healthy response, but in most it is debilitating. 9 times out of 10 what we fear is in fact completely imaginary i.e, we construct our fears, this makes it real for us, but not so real of the world we live in. it's a dangerous world in many ways. Years ago I noticed a little wave of fear would sweep me as I approached the automatic teller. It was telling, but I did not need to feel this as a fear. I just observed and it saw it for what it was. Fears limit. People with closed minds are usually fearful people. Fear opposes faith. Thanks, muldania. you've inspired a hub . . .
The older I get, the more I realize how much I don't know. In recent years I have become more open-minded and willing to listen to other views about anything and everything. I don't have to agree with everything I hear or see. But I am starting to recognize that my opinions today may very well change as more information is given to me.
I've become comfortable in knowing that what I believe today is true for today only. I am able to make informed decisions based on information I have right now. As the information flows in, the decisions may change. And that is perfectly okay with me.
Thank you for posting this important topic - it's helped me to think for a moment about just how open-minded I am and how I could always improve upon it.
Openmindedness is something you need to approach with your WHOLE self - for once, don't separate your spirituality or religious thinking from the rest of you. Consider yourself as whole and entirely in the world, observing and accepting without judgements. Meditate on the way you feel being completely present and when you find yourself making yes or no judgments, just let those go and look at your feelings, the world and your surroundings. When others have differing opinions from yours, look at them also as whole people, not separate from their beliefs. I guarantee you that your mind will open, you will see not only the differences but the similarities, and you will see so much mind-blowing beauty in the world you will wonder how you ignored it all these years! Open-ness is a real treasure and needs to be consistently cultivated, we learn to close up as we grow and are hurt by the world, so it is something we need to be vigilant about. But it is really really possible, and really worth it! Thank you for asking this question and reminding us we can do it!
This question reminds me of a quote I once heard. "It's okay to have an open mind, but not so much that your brains fall out!"
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