We have a large problem in our society today, namely a rather large lack of understanding. We have in this nation, as in many others, finally decided reason, facts, and understanding do not truly matter anymore. What happened to the lively and civilized debates of past generations, where the people could talk to one another about lofty ideas founded in principles and the faith that man was, albeit faulty, good enough to pick the right path for itself, individually?
It would seem, that while we have all types of information at our fingertips, as a populace, we have decided that we would rather spend our time playing games, making memes, and watching videos whether for entertainment or because the teacher in the video aligns with our perspective on the world. There is a general inclination built into us to huddle with like minds, but at the same time, each generation, even while being more and more connected, creates their own reality inside of their bubble.
Let's talk about building walls. When was the last time, in general, you decided to step out of your self-satisfying walls to reach out to anyone with whom you disagree, just to have coffee?
How many people decide to investigate, read up on, and try to understand the ideas that they don’t agree with, simply to make themselves a better person, or so that when the situation arises, they could meet someone where they were in their understanding and help guide them to reason?
How many people that espouse beliefs, understand the full ramifications them, and are driven to pursue and deepen the knowledge of such things? Too often, people have decided on something, and have built the wall around it so high that tearing it down would be too much work mentally. So, instead, they ignore anything that doesn’t coincide with their ideology.
Thomas Jefferson wrote that we should, “Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there is one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.” In context, he was speaking to religion, and the idea that God made us with reason and understanding, able to comprehend such things, and as such, reasoned honest questioning is something he would approve of even if it was to question his own existence.
Taking a bigger picture perspective of this in the context of our society today, why are we blindly following the party lines in politics? How can we sit back, knowing that both sides of the aisle in our Government have literally swapped positions, for the sake of team against team battle?
Have we, as a people, become so comfortable in our opposition that we have become blinded to the truth in front of our eyes? If so, then we should be ashamed as citizens of America.
How do we fix this? How do we fix reason back firmly into her place?
First, we must look at ourselves and our lives, and do a full evaluation-- an honest assessment of what we know, what we think we know, and what we believe. Is it fact, or opinion? Is it based on truth or just my perspective of truth? What are we truly concerned about? Is that real? Does it have value beyond our own personal needs to be seen and heard? Is everything fluid, or is there a moral foundation to which I am missing, and should be guided by? Do I actually understand what I espouse? Do my understandings hold up to honest questioning and reason?
These basic questions and more need to be answered with the utmost honesty by everyone, and the proper action follows which is a mind, hopefully, opened enough to start receiving new information from sources to which we may disagree with, or not understand without further research.
Even those is the past centuries of western civilization who didn’t believe in God still knew the Bible back and front, and understood what it was, its relevance to society, and why it was important. With this information, they could appeal to others with great boldness and reasoned arguments about such matters. It was with the great feat of reason that Martin Luther found great fault with the Catholic Church of his time, and created a movement that possibly changed the course of societies in many regions of the world.
Our greatest power and enemy is our ability to reason, create, and imagine. Mankind has survived because of its use of these wonderful gifts for thousands of years, and yet we still have not figured out how to use them in a way that one doesn’t overpower the other ability in our minds.
Maybe if we took a step back, looked closely at ourselves, and reasoned through our own beliefs first, then maybe, by the grace of God, we will be able to reach out to those we never thought to try to, and start to end the problems that have plagued our society, economy, and world. First yourself, then one person at a time.