Keep an open mind:
The mind is like a parachute, it is useless unless it is opened. Here I wish to warn against the dangers of “indoctrination”, adopting a belief system that excludes all other points of view is extremely egotistical at best, or extremely cult-like behavior at worst. And avoid groups that demand you throw logic and reasoning out the window and adopt dramatic life changes based on nothing but blind faith. Keeping an inquisitive mind, an investigative mind, and a scientific mind is the best attitude in life.
When I was 19 I joined a “Christian church” and devoted my life entirely to the Christian religion, according to the doctrine of this group. This church was radically committed to the Bible, which appealed to me at the time, but then claimed all other churches were not “real Christians” because they didn’t follow certain biblical teachings the way we were. The church insisted every member study and examine the bible every single solitary day, so I did. The problem with this is if you have an inquisitive mind, an investigative mind, and a scientific mind then study and examine something thoroughly, its flaws, defects, blemishes, and/or contradictions will stand out. The purpose of “indoctrination” therefore is to keep one’s mind in a certain mold, so that when difficult questions arise, the “doctrine” or religious “belief” can fill in the gap and provide ‘reasonable answers’. Thus indoctrinating one’s mind is to close one’s mind to explanations outside of the teachings or doctrine of the religion. Therefore an indoctrinated mind is a closed mind.
Keeping an open mind allows you to examine all sides of a subject and then choose the information that makes the most sense to you. An example of an indoctrinated mind is, the book of Genesis tells us God made Adam and Eve the very first Humans to ever exist. Their first son was Cain, their second son was Abel. So there were now 4 humans on the Planet, but Cain became jealous of Abel and killed him, we are now back down to 3 humans on the planet. God became angry that Cain killed Abel and banished him to live away from Adam and Eve, so Cain went to the Land of Nod where he found a wife and, … wait, WHAT!? If you approach Genesis 4: with an inquisitive, investigative, and scientific mind you will have more questions than answers, but if you approach Genesis 4: with an indoctrinated mind you have been taught to accept what Preacher says and don’t ask any questions. Two men have jumped out of the plane, both have parachutes but one chooses to open his, and the other has blind faith his god will break his fall. Keep an open mind, and open the parachute.
Here is an example of open-minded thinking. Genesis might NOT describe the Creator of existence, but rather it could be the description of “the beings” responsible for creating a specific kind of Human. When Adam and Eve were created some 10 thousand years ago, (or 5 thousand years ago if you add all the dates in the bible from the age of Adams first born and so on and so forth), there was water flowing at the base of the Sphinx, this accounts for the water erosion currently at the base of the Sphinx in 2022, the Sphinx is no less than 12 thousand years old, and there is speculation that the Great Pyramids are between 26 thousand and 250 thousand years old. So when Adam and Eve were “created” there were already civilizations in existence, so when Cain was banished from his home and sent to the land of Nod, he simply found a woman from an ancient civilization. This version of events is more similar to the Sumerian text and gives a more suitable explanation of how Cain found his wife. But whether or not it is true is neither here nor there, my point is an open mind has room for new information and new scientific breakthroughs, and there is room in a new wineskin for new wine, however, an indoctrinated mind cannot accept new information, there is no room for new teachings, the new wine will tear apart the old wineskin as the new wine expands. If “scientific proofs” conflict with “sound doctrine” there becomes a fork in the road and the individual must now choose between facts and faith.
Admitting ‘you were wrong’ can be one of the most difficult things to do, for some this is even traumatizing and psychologically damaging. But if you take the stand that you are a student, you are here learning, you are bound to get things wrong every now and again, then you will have a more healthy approach to new information. But why is it so difficult for some to accept new information?
Our ego drives separate us from one another and give us our individuality, therefore you have the ability to see life uniquely from one point of view, your own. Your ego is also designed to protect you, therefore once you have concluded something to be true and real, your ego will help you protect that reality on a subconscious level, you will reject conflicting information and even become emotionally passionate about protecting your point of view. In order to keep an open mind, you need to master the art of sidestepping your own ego. Close your eyes and picture what confident humility looks like. Keeping an ‘open mind’ doesn’t mean a mind that sways this way and that, blown around by every differing opinion that blows by, but being confident in what you know and humble enough to know you are still learning. You are not here to win arguments, you are here to improve yourself, know the destination you wish to reach, and be completely honest with yourself. If your goal is to win arguments, then you are completely controlled by your ego, but if your goal is to develop a Christlike character, you will need to be open and honest about the differences between you and Perfect Love.
If you have a belief and someone else has an opposing belief, the closed indoctrinated mind will need to convert that person’s “wrong belief” to mirror your own. An open mind will ponder how they reached their conclusion and eventually understand their mindset, then comparing their journey to your own you now have more information to choose the best path for yourself.
There is nothing wrong with a deep unshakeable conviction providing you don’t ram your convictions down people’s throats expecting them to live, think and act as you do.