Where do I stand?

Someone commented on a Facebook post today that she wasn’t really sure if she ever really knows where I stand on the issues I tend to discuss on Facebook and elsewhere. The fact is that I’m not trying to be vague or mysterious, though I do like provoking people to think.

No, instead, I think my views are complex and they’re mine and I’m unafraid to dig into the nuances of why I think the way that I do. Every single one of us cannot help but be the result of the collection of our unique experience in life. Even people who have traveled similar paths travel them differently, and the result is different views of the world.

I cannot emphasize this point enough: my views seem vague because they are uniquely mine. They’re derived ¬†from an informed and rational¬†opinion created by decades of observation, learning, and experience. I do not feel the need to be beholden to any particular ideology or philosophy because I see such things as the lazy way out. Yes, it is entirely possible that the conclusions I have reached may be wrong, but I will say with the same certainty that the burden of proof to convince me of that is very high because it should be.

If I may be so bold, I think that what has happened in the past forty years of my own experience is that people have become eager for simple answers to very complicated questions. There are myriads of reasons for that trend, but the result has been that many people do not want to think about the problems that confront them with any kind of sophistication. Instead of thinking things through on their own, they pick the ideological or philosophical answer they’ve heard from someone else that they think fits them best and stop thinking about it. I never do.

I grant that this view of mine single-handedly insulted just about everyone, yet any argument to prove me wrong must, by necessity, delve into the very kind of nuances and complexity so many people try to avoid. God gave us our minds and learning and experience to help us understand our universe. When we fail to use those things to their fullest extent everyday, we are wasting one of the greatest blessings we have been given. I stand with Galileo in his famous defense of intellect, “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use,” and refuse to back down from my positions simply because they make people uncomfortable or confused.

I understand this position means I live a somewhat isolated existence. So be it. My hope is that everyone will rise to the challenge I see in understanding the amazing and complex world in which we live, but if they do not, I will not stop for them.

I stand where I stand because I am doing my best to climb to the top of this mountain we call life. Join me.