Please note that I have arrived at these steps after absolutely no careful thought and study.
Rather, I have arrived at these steps exclusively through their repeated practice on almost every opinion and position I once held, particularly those related to my spirituality and my parenting. (Also, they are not easy steps, that is a big lie but it doesn’t sound right in a title, does it? “In which I explain how to change your mind in 5 or 6 very, very hard steps.”)
1. Whether it’s the result of careful study or indoctrination, be convinced that those people with a differing view are crazy and/or ignorant at best, irrational heretics bent on the destruction of all you hold dear, perhaps the first hints of the anti-Christ, at worst.
2. Begin to get to know a few people that hold that opinion. Realise that they are not likely bent on the destruction of all you hold dear but may, in fact, still be crazy. But as people, they’re okay. You think. So you begin to listen – quietly without anyone knowing that you’re listening.
3. Begin to read, to research, to acquaint yourself with the differing way. Begin to think that maybe, just maybe, you’re not the final authority on everything and you may have something to learn here. It is at this point that you begin to think that you may have been wrong or mistaken or ignorant.
4. Come to the conclusion that the former-heretics-intent-on-destroying-all-you-hold-dear are actually right. However, you can affirm their position while still holding onto your own positions. In short, they’re probably right but you’re not ready to change anything about your own life yet.
5. Become the crazy radical. Begin to believe/practice/think the same way. Change your mind and change your decisions. You are now doing or believing the very things you used to think qualified a person as barking mad.
(Bonus Step: Alienate the people that still believe or do what you used to believe or do. They may become convinced that you are now absolutely crazy at best, an irrational heretic bent on the destruction of all they hold dear, perhaps the first hints of the anti-Christ, at worst. Be gentle with them and humble in your opinions. They may change or you may change again, after all. Then be welcomed with very few “I-told-you-so’s” from your new friends or community.)
Opinions on which I have proven the steps:
- Natural childbirth
- Traditional schooling
- Corporal punishment
- Church attendance
- Identifying the call of God
- What qualifies as ministry
- Being a stay-at-home-mother.
- Church as an institution.
- Hell and the after-life
- Other cultures
- Other religions
- Home birth
- Same sex marriage
- Consumerism and materialism
- Environmentalism and creation stewardship
- Craft rooms
- Alcohol consumption
- And on and on and on it goes.
What about you? Have you gone through these steps on any cherished opinion? Or would you add another step or two? This should be fun.