Some things are objectively false. Although this may not seem surprising as a statement, this simple statement is missing from our current social interactions. What I am referring to is what I will call over ecumenicalism – the tendency to think that any belief is just as likely to be true as any other, and that we must accept as possible a belief which has virtually no grounding at all. We must not mix up the legal fact of freedom of belief with the idea that every belief is equally likely to be true. And yet, the concept that some things may actually be true and other things false is anathema to many.
Over ecumenicalism occurs when we start to think that a belief is valid simply by virtue of the fact that someone has it. It is true that we do not have the (legal or moral) right to impose our beliefs on another, but this is not the same as accepting anything and everything as possibly correct. Some ideas are simply wrong.
But dismissing a belief is not the same thing as dismissing the believer. It is incumbent upon us to treat each other with respect – but this does not mean that we must coddle everyone. We are not treating people with respect if we simply respond with a pat on the head and an “isn’t that nice?” whenever they espouse some half-thought-out notion. Tossing out an idea into a crowd is today’s method of seeking validation – and silence is seen as consent. In this way we see a degradation of the ability to think critically, since we have spent so much time validating ridiculous notions by not challenging them that generally people start to believe that there is no idea so ludicrous that it will not be accepted.
You don’t want to be so open minded that your brains fall out.
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