What is wrong with “black & white” thinking?
This isn’t necessarily a question that I recently asked myself, but one that I asked about 10 years ago. Because of the environment I was raised in, when I was in my 20s, most of my categorizations in life were either one way or the complete opposite. While I do still believe that there are things that people do that I consider evil and sinful, and there are things that are obviously good, I’ve found that most of life falls in-between these two opposites. I’ve found life to be more fulfilling and peaceful learning to live between these two extremes.
Before coming to this way of living, if I had been forced to come to a conclusion about how I felt concerning a political or religious stance, I would have be absolute in my own stance, not budging, or even listening to the another stance. It often brought a lot of tension and anger. Eventually, it also brought an end to the relationship between that person and me, whether a mere acquaintance, or more than that.
When I began to understand that I do not know all things for all people, this perspective began to change. Really, I can’t believe my arrogance in thinking that I knew the best way for all of the billions of people that live on the planet. I was trained to believe this way. When I began to develop my own set of standards for MYSELF, I was able to say, “this is the best way for me” and let people live their own lives.
All too often, in the Christian sub-culture, we think that we need to let people know what is best for all, instead of just sharing our perspective. If we develop a good argument for our stance, then maybe someone will adopt that stance for themselves. However, if they don’t, that’s okay. Life is easier this way when we don’t take on the role of the Holy Spirit. That isn’t to say, if I feel someone’s actions are damaging to me, or even to a group of people, I should ignore that. If someone’s behavior, or a group’s behavior, is negatively effecting their environment, it should be mentioned that they are hurting people around them.
On the other hand, I’ve found that most are so used to opinions being forced on them, that they think someone merely sharing theirs for the sake of conversation is more of the same. I hope that somehow our society can begin to have decent conversations about life, religion, and politics without the drama, but honestly it is just a mere spark of hope. As long as so many people have adopted this “black & white”, and “I’m right, you’re wrong” mentality, we aren’t going to get far towards peace and social change.