Academics label those who hold views different from theirs “unscholarly” or “pseudo-intellectual.” Religionists of all extremes (and in between) label those who hold views different from theirs “unsanctified” or “pseudo-spiritual.” Anyone who holds a strong view, whether on politics, racism, rights or privileges, environmental sustainability, breastfeeding in public, homeschooling, or housecleaning—for or against—tends to label those who hold other views as “ignorant,” “misguided,” or even “evil.” All with tears of righteous indignation or a little rolling of the eyes and a tiny smirk. It’s the same arrogance.
We’re never more intolerant than when we demand tolerance.
We have chips on our shoulders and we call them convictions. Planks in our eyes and we call them vision. The more fervor we have for an issue, the blinder we may become and the more willing we may be to trample down anyone who disagrees with us or sees another angle. We rationalize the carnage we leave in our wake rather than weep over it.
If we’re right about something, there’s no danger in respectfully considering the merits of other views, at the very least to test our own understanding and look for points of value in alternate views that might better inform our and create bridges of understanding and compassion. It’s all part of, “Come let us reason.” We all will be surprised someday to discover how many things we were wrong about and to what extent.
May humility begin now.
May it begin in classrooms and executive committee meetings, from both liberal and conservative pulpits and pews, on social media, and over the dinner table. May we show restraint, wisdom, compassion, humility, and respect toward all so our children will stay close.
Arrogance will scatter us before ignorance does.
It’s not about achieving balance or rejecting our own closely-held views or losing our passion and fervor in searching for and defending truth. It’s not about remaining silent or failing to be counted on things that matter. It’s about humbly recognizing the possibility that we may be wrong, in spirit, truth, or action. That in lifting up one group or cause we may crush others in the process. That in focusing on some things we may miss others.
May we keep the greatest commandment and let God do any necessary tearing down or lifting up—and he will. In the end, when all wrongs have been made right, we will praise him for doing it and not ourselves.