Updated: Oct 5, 2020
S = Snap
T = Total
U = Unquestioned
P = Passive
I = Ideologically Filtered
D = Dogmatic
Sign #5 of S.T.U.P.I.D. Thinking
I = Ideologically Filtered Judgments
The fifth sign that alerts me to my own S.T.U.P.I.D. thinking is when my judgments are ideologically filtered.
Ideologically filtered judgments.
In simple terms, an ideology is literally an idea of how the world should be.
Every human on earth is born into an ideology. One that began with an alpha human that popularized their version of how the world should be.
Buddhism is traced to Buddha.
Christianity is traced to Jesus the Christ.
Islam is traced to Mohammad.
Communism is traced to Karl Marx among others.
Democracy is traced to ancient Greece and more recently the signers of the Declaration of Independence in America.
Religion and Government are nearly one in the same in this regard. A single person or a small minority of powerful people have IDEAS for a better world. Then they create rules to make these ideas an actual reality for the vast majority of people under their domination.
In theory, obedience to these rules will bring about the world imagined by its creators. And of course, disobedience to these rules will bring swift and painful punishment to those threatening this way of life.
Again, whether you are dealing with religion or secular government, the concept is the same. It’s all ideologically driven by the IDEA: "this way of living makes the world a better place."
But the problem with any ideology, is that the majority of the world doesn't agree.
It's a sobering reality that: whatever you are, most of the world is not.
· Are you a Christian? Most of the world is not.
· Are you a Muslim? Most of the world is not.
· Are you a Hindu? Most of the world is not.
· Are you a Jew? Most of the world is not.
· Are you an Atheist? Most of the world is not.
· Are you a Buddhist? Most of the world is not.
· Are you American? Most of the world is not.
· Are you Chinese? Most of the world is not.
· Are you Russian? Most of the world is not.
· Are you Indian? Most of the world is not.
I remember when your brother Ray was around were around eight or nine years old. We were throwing around a football in the front yard. At some point he said to me, “Dad, I don’t think I’m a Baptist.”
I’m sure this phraseology was not original with him. He probably heard me say something similar and was just repeating it. I said back to him, “Ray, you can be a Baptist if you want to be. But you don’t have to be a Baptist either. You are free to choose for yourself. Take the time to know what you believe and WHY you believe it.”
Then I had him do something. It was in Autumn, and the leaves were all over the ground. I had him gather 100 fallen leaves and told him to place them in 10 rows of 10 leaves – placing them on the cement slab at the front of our home. After all the leaves were collected and organized, I told him to separate 2 of the leaves from the remaining 98.
I said, “Ray, do you know what these two leaves represent? They represent how many people in this world are some type of Baptist Christian. Do you know what the remaining 98 leaves represent? They represent the number of people in this world who are not Baptist. Most of the world is NOT Baptist.”
Then I had him separate out two more leaves.
Now there were now 4 leaves in one group and 96 leaves in the other. I said, “What do you think these four leaves represent? They represent the number of people in the world who are American. The 96 leaves represent the number of people in the world who are not American. Most of the world is not American.”
And I made this point: “Ray, your dad was raised in a Baptist American household. In my upbringing I interacted with 2% to 4% of the world’s population and information. That means that I rarely interacted with 96% to 98% of the world’s population and information. Do not be in a hurry to call yourself a Baptist or anything else. Take the time to know what you believe, and more importantly, WHY you believe it.”
Every person on the planet could tailor this leaf analogy to match their own upbringing. We’re all born into an ideology - the way someone thinks the world should be. But the fact remains. Most of the world doesn't fit our view of how the world should be.
So how should we view people with different ideologies?
They don't have the same ideas about God. They don't have the same ideas about worship. They don't have the same ideas about women. They don't have the same ideas about sexuality. They don't have the same ideas about money. They don't have the same ideas about....
And each of these ideologies believe they are the ones on Earth who are “good,” and who got it “right.” Each ideology can never view the majority of the world, who think and live differently from them, as being “good.” They CAN’T view alternative ideologies as truth. This would undermine their own ideology which has 5000, 3500, 2500, 2000, 1400, or 250 years of tradition.
All ideologies have come too far to examine their own worldview. They have lived for millennia, centuries, or decades believing they are the ones who are 100% good and 100% true. They are the enlightened ones who have seen the light.
The vast majority of others who live differently are in darkness. Other ideologies are “evil.” They are deceived. It is them who need to adopt our way of living. We must take the beautiful utopian world we have created and spread it to them - by force if necessary.
You get the idea.
These ideological conflicts also create a martyr complex. That is, a “victim’s mentality,” or a “we are a persecuted people” complex. Most all ideologies want to be the “winning” ideology. Therefore, ideologies attempt to force other “inferior” or “outdated” ideologies to live by their rules, for their good.
They will even go to war if necessary. If they win the war, the winning ideology will bring the losing ideology under their domination. The losing ideology must live in fearful submission to the winning ideology.
What is the new mentality of the losing ideology?
The losing ideology now casts itself as a martyr. It’s an oppressed remnant. It’s a victim.
In my ideological background, it always seemed like Christianity thought it was unique and special because someone wrote “Foxes Book of Martyrs.” A mentality of “You know what we believe is true, because of all the people who died as martyrs for the faith.”
But name one religion who couldn’t write the same book. Name one political group who couldn’t write the same book. Name one people group or race of people on earth who couldn’t write the same book.
Here's the point. We are all born into some ideology or ideologies. I was born into a Baptist Christian American Republican household.
Get all that?
I chose none of these identifying labels. But these ideas of how the world should be were all forced upon me by loving, well-intentioned parents. I learned very early in life to process all new information through these ideological filters.
By being raised Baptist, if I found out someone was a Catholic – gasp! I learned to make a snap, total, unquestioning, passive, and ideologically filtered judgment on this person.
I quickly concluded that this Catholic person (but not me) was going to burn in hell forever. That the Catholic person (but not me) was part of a false religion. That the Catholics (but not us) were bad people. That the Catholics (but not us) were in error. That the Catholics (but not us) needed conversion.
And if I could convert a Catholic, they were to live by our specific Christian rules now. If a Catholic should push back and resist my attempts to convert them, then I would interpret this as me being persecuted for my faith. Therefore, one day, God will punish the Catholic for this. My Baptist team wins in the end. I’m the good guy. The Catholic is the bad guy.
Growing up in a Republican household, I had the same ideologically filtered judgment on anyone I discovered was a Democrat. Gasp. Immediate suspicion. This Democrat must be a liberal (whatever that means), baby killing, sexually immoral, corrupt, and evil person.
For most of my life I did this. Anyone who was not what I was raised to be, would get a similar ideologically filtered judgment from me (like I was their judge). If I discovered someone was a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jehovah’s Witness, a Communist, a Socialist, a Laker fan, etc., they must be a bad person, or at least deceived.
For most of the first 30 years of my life, my thinking was constantly stupid. I consistently made judgments that were snap, total, unquestioning, passive, and ideologically filtered. Anyone who viewed the world differently than my Baptist tribe, they were bad. They were wrong. Because we were good. We were right.
To date, no ideology of how the world should be has gotten it all right.
Every one of them is a mixture of good and evil.
Every one of them is a blend of virtue and vice.
Every one of them mixes truth and error.
Every one of them has blind spots.
Every one of them uses fear, force, and the threat of punishment to accomplish their will.
And the world continues to tear itself apart.
Because all ideologies try to hold it all together through fear and endless cycles of coercion.
That we ALL make ideologically filtered judgments is the point NO ONE wants to concede. Too much is at stake. Other religions are false. Not mine. Other governments are corrupt. Not mine. Other parents were misguided. Not mine.
Because they loved you and were wonderful people? Because they were sincere? Because they protected and provided for you? Therefore, do you just turn a blind eye to the deficiencies of their worldview?
Let me ask a few questions. Can you point out the errors, evils, and hypocrisy in other religions? Probably.
Have you ever used this same critical thinking ability to judge if there are errors, evils, and hypocrisy within your own religion?
Can you point out the errors, evils, and hypocrisy in other nations? Probably.
Have you ever used these same reasoning abilities to locate errors, evils, and hypocrisy within your own nation?
Let’s get very real.
· If coercion was not being used against you in any way.
· If you were not threatened with being hurt.
· If you were not living under the constant threats of execution, caging, excommunication, disowning, defunding, fining, group shaming, etc.
· If these threats were completely removed.
· If you had no threat of family, professional, or societal rejection.
· If your survival and wellbeing was not threatened in any way.
· If you were under no compulsion to conform through “fear choices.”
· If you were completely liberated in your life to make free choices.
· If you were completely free to think what you wanted to think.
· If you were completely free to believe what you wanted to believe.
· If you were completely free to say what you wanted to say.
· If you were completely free to do what you wanted to do.
· If you were completely free to be what you wanted to be…
Would you still be a Catholic?
Would you still be a Baptist?
Would you still be Muslim?
Would you still be Hindu?
Would you still be American?
Would you still be a Liberal?
Would you still be a Conservative?
Would you still be a…?
You fill in the blank with your ideological filters.
This is the problem. These ideological filters keep us from honesty. They keep us from humility. They keep us from love. They keep us from freedom. They may be keeping us from truth.
Ideological filters cause us to become S.T.U.P.I.D. in our thinking. They keep us from the better world WE ALL want.
None of us are 100% good. None of us are 100% knowledgeable of the truth. None of us have it all figured out.
Have the courage to reject ideologically filtered judgments.
Have even more courage to examine your own ideology.
The fifth sign of S.T.U.P.I.D. thinking.
D = Dogmatic judgments.
If you have found these thoughts to be helpful, please share (and subscribe if you have not already). Thanks!