Think before you “Think”!

This blog is not about any one particular belief, practice, or opinion; rather, it is about making sure we’ve done our homework before we reach a conclusion or support a cause.

 gateSo many times I hear people defending a belief or practice by saying “I just don’t think there’s anything wrong with it!” If I ask them what the objections to it are, they usually have nothing to say. I don’t believe it’s possible to have a properly formed opinion or belief about any topic without understanding what the other side believes about it. Unless we’re talking about something clearly revealed by God, when it comes to controversial issues, I find it necessary to explore the opposite viewpoint and understand it before we hop on the bandwagon. G.K. Chesterton once presented an argument in this regard to this effect: suppose you were walking through the woods with a friend and saw a gate that seemed to serve no obvious purpose. Your friend says, “That gate is not necessary. We should remove it.” You object, asking him if he knows why the gate was put there in the first place. If he says “no,” then you would respond, “Then how do you know it is not serving some vital purpose you just can’t see at the moment? Suppose it is keeping some wild beast from getting out?” Only if you know why the gate was placed there in the first place will you be in a position to decide that it may now be safely removed. It is just the same with arguments, whether moral, political, religious, what have you. Before you jump on a bandwagon of support for someone or something, specifically when it would be to overturn laws, abrogate practices, etc., make sure you know why the law was passed in the first place and what purpose it served. If you can demonstrate that the law is no longer needed because its purpose is no longer served, then it may be safely removed. With moral beliefs, make sure you understand what the objections are before you make a decision. You might find something there that you hadn’t considered before and end up changing your mind. Only if you know the objections and can rationally reject them are you in a position to jump on a bandwagon. To sum up, if you have researched and understood both sides of an issue and have come to a rational conclusion, then you are sufficiently prepared to take a stand. But if your only response is, “I just don’t think there’s anything wrong with it!” my advice is to “Think before you think!”

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