Sunday, June 10, 2012

humility & conviction

I just finished reading the book Humilitas by John Dickson.. It was an interesting read and definitely challenged me in how I live. Towards the end of the book there's a chapter that really started me thinking.

In one of the chapters toward the end of the book, Dickson started talking about how humility works with our personal convictions - morally, ethically. He began by talking about the idea of tolerance that is pushed in our society today. And then went on to talk about how the idea that we must soften our own convictions on things to be tolerant of others really is illogical. As a religious person, it would be hard and illogical to believe your religion is right about something, but also say that other religions are equally right. It makes no sense. The same is true in the arenas of abortion and homosexuality. You cannot think one way about those issues and still hold that the other side is equal. You have to choose a side on them.
As Dickson moved on to talk about humility works with our convictions, he described it in a way that made his whole concept of the chapter click for me.
Humility applied to convictions does not mean believing things any less; it means treating those who hold contrary beliefs with respect and friendship. (John Dickson, Humilitas, pg. 167)
This allows for all to have their beliefs and convictions about things and to live them out, but to treat others well even when they disagree with us. There are still people who are worthy of our respect, even if we don't agree on things.

Dickson closes the chapter with a summary of what his main point was in a succinct way. He talks about how our way of defining tolerance in society today, has two directions that it can go. It can reduce people to only being lovable if you approve of their lifestyle or thinking. Or it accepts everybody and everything in terms of lifestyle. According to Dickson, there is a third way that we can hold onto our convictions and act in humility towards others:
It's where we learn to respect and care even for those with whom we profoundly disagree. We maintain our convictions but choose never to allow them to become justification for thinking ourselves better than those with contrary convictions." (Dickson, Humilitas, pg. 170)

That is the way I would desire to live my life. I want to hold deeply to my convictions. I want to live them out. But, I also want to respect and care for those who may see and believe things differently than me.

What about you? How do you want to live?

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