“For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise.” - Benjamin Franklin
The more I learn, the less I know. On the other hand, the more I learn, the more sure I am about certain things. For one, people have many different views and perspectives of the world. This is not a new phenomenon. It is not an earth-shattering revelation. And yet, it is a slightly novel idea to me in some respects.
You see, growing up, I was taught that there was only one "right" way to think - about religion, and about politics. I was not taught to have respect for those views that were contrary or distinct in some way to mine. Rather, I was basically taught to ridicule those ideas as inferior, because if people were intelligent, they would obviously come to same conclusions that I had reached in my life.
I have since just started to scratch the surface of learning the wonder of a world full of diversity. There are myriad religions, political parties, clubs, and family arrangements. While they are not all exactly in agreement with the way I conduct my life, I rejoice in the differences, and the similarities. I strongly detest those who mock others' ways of viewing the world.
I also question the need to mock and/or be defensive with regards to one's own beliefs. To me these days, an excessive amount of defensiveness, or invoking of the persecution card, or belittling of others, may be nothing more than insecurity on the part of the individual doing such acts. If one has a conviction and a confidence about what they believe, they need not feel a need to act in such a way. Security in belief is best reflected in accepting fully that others have different viewpoints, and that is okay.
Accepting differing opinions is the first step in opening up the mind and the intellect to view the world in a whole new spectrum/paradigm/light. I am so glad that I took the risk to understand the world better, and to have more respect for as many perspectives and views as possible. I invite anyone to make the jump.