sometimes I need a reminder. I see so much closedmindedness everyday, and I hate it. Too many people believe that their way of thinking is the only correct way. I see this most of all from both atheists (who claim that they're openminded, yet insult anyone who follows a religion) and religious zealots (who believe that anyone who doesn't believe as they do is wrong, stupid, and damned to hell), and from (unfortunately) many people who are in the position to form the minds of our youth. I am disgusted by anyone who tells me to think for myself, then tells me I'm wrong because I don't agree with them. I think I am very openminded and will often change my stance on topics if I am shown to be wrong or learn a better way to think about it. This does not make me wishy-washy or a mindless sheep following the leader. I'm not changing my mind on a whim; I'm changing my mind because I found that the new idea is better than the one I had been supporting. I'm not a mindless sheep, because I really do think over the two options and either pick the better of the two or combine them, whichever I feel is the more correct way to adjust my views. I don't change my mind simply to avoid conflict or to make others happy (as you'll see in the next paragraph, I do occasionally choose to argue against my beliefs just to show closed-minded people that there is another way to see it). Unfortunately, I, too, fall into the trap of thinking that it's my way or the highway, and when I do, I need to be reminded that being smart does not mean I'm always correct, and, in fact, being smart means that I should know better than to assume I'm correct without facts and proof behind my opinion.
I try to see things from both sides, and if someone starts talking judgementally about others, I often find myself defending the other side, whether I agree with them or not. I have been told that I am smart, I get good grades in many of my classes, and I have a very broad range of knowledge. On top of that, I get upset when I see someone putting down others. I can relatively easily see things from both sides, but I have no interest in insulting or belittling others. I do, however, have some lines I won't cross. I won't defend rapists, abusers, bullies, or those who constantly put others down. I've been on the receiving end of all of those, and will never condone their actions, or even defend them as a person. People who get off on having power over others, especially weaker or defenseless people, will never have me on their side. Anyone who uses fear as a weapon (outside of necessary military/police/defensive actions, of course) does not deserve my support.