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“You can’t read that here.”
Our friend’s 3rd grade daughter brought her Bible to school last week to read it during their designated reading time. Applause to the teacher for building in some time for kids to read books they actually want to read. Far too many kids leave school hating books instead of being hungry for more of them. On this particular day the teacher was gone and there was a substitute teacher. They made a mistake.
It’s not about religious liberty
She told my friend’s daughter that she couldn’t read her Bible at school. My friend’s daughter complied but when she returned home she told her mom what had happened. She was hurt, who wouldn’t? Her choice had been squelched. This isn’t a rant about religious liberty. 99.9% of the people reading these sentences agree that the substitute teacher was completely out of line in terms of religious liberty. The larger issue is the fear of ideas.
What new ideas do for us
You likely fear new ideas. Ideas that challenge existing beliefs affect us on a deep level. They challenge how we see the world. When someone brings an idea before us that we are unfamiliar with or even more difficult, challenges a pre-existing belief, we react. The substitute teacher reacted with fear. How do you react? Perhaps she believed she was protecting that little girl from something. Perhaps she thought she was protecting the other students from something. Ideas can hurt people when they become actions but the discussion of ideas, especially those new to us, is healthy. It is more than healthy, it is vital. The teacher wanted nothing to do with these new ideas so she chose to exercise her positional power to kill them. She put a knife through those pages. Again, not because she was opposed to a belief in God but on a larger scale because she feared ideas she did not herself understand.
She put a knife through those pages. Tweet this
This isn’t about the teacher
Do we seek out new ideas? Ideas that challenge our preexisting ones? This is healthy. Weight lifting is an exercise in resistance. The resistance is the goal because from it comes more strength. Why do we spend so much time seeking more momentum to add to our existing beliefs than challenging them with opposing ones? It’s easier, that’s why. It’s not better, it’s just easier.
Ideas are not weapons. They are attempts by each of us to sort out an existing world. Tweet This
NPR and new ideas
Do we listen when we meet new ideas? I listen to NPR most of the time I have the radio on. We financially support our local Christian radio station but I rarely listen to it. I listen to the station that has ads for Planned Parenthood and I’m pro-life. NPR is good for me because it often introduces me to new ideas and best of all it’s is a safe place for me to have conversation about those ideas. I’ve called into Minnesota Public Radio several times to talk to guests and it’s been civil and productive. The exchange of ideas should be peaceful. Ideas are not weapons. They are attempts by each of us to sort out an existing world. Some people look at NPR and see a liberal bias. I turn it on and hear a conversation that I’m invited to participate in. Do I agree with the guests? Often I do not but then the conversation starts.
It is a pathetic waste of time to only spend time around ideas that support your own. Tweet this
[note]What do you do to challenge your beliefs?[/note]
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