What does it mean if someone is called a bigot? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
According to dictionary.com, the following is what is meant by a bigot.
A bigot is “a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.”
Nowadays, a bigot is seen more often as anyone who disagrees with a belief or doesn’t accept it. The irony is that so many people who are using this term are the ones who are the bigots themselves. Someone who is a bigot is so utterly intolerant that they are not open to changing their mind.
There are some beliefs in my life I would say I do not think I could possibly be wrong on and this even if I have no easy way of verification. I consider it absolutely certain that my parents are my biological parents. I have never done a test and I have never had to. I have accepted their word and lifestyle and the surrounding testimony of the community I grew up in. It’s possible everyone around me is involved in a massive conspiracy, but this is not likely and not something worth considering.
That being said, if you wanted to offer evidence to the contrary, I would be open to it. I would be skeptical, but I have no reason to not listen at all. Note that that is something important. I would be very unlikely to change my mind, but if the evidence was good enough, I would.
I get concerned when I meet people who say that they are Christian and that they will never change their mind. Now I certainly hope that they don’t, but I don’t want you to be in it in such a way that if there was ever given absolutely evidence to the contrary that you would still say, “Nope. Not changing my mind.” As a devout Christian, I have no real concerns I will ever find such evidence, but I also know that I don’t know everything.
If that seems problematic to you, keep in mind that if you do evangelism, you are asking people to do just that. You are asking them to change their mind and whole worldview entirely based on the evidence that you present to them. Why should they need to be open but you don’t? Because your belief is true? They think the exact same thing about their belief.
In debates today, such as issues like homosexuality and abortion, many who are more conservative are often called bigots. The idea implicitly is that this is a done debate and there’s really no need to listen to the other side. If that is what you think, then that is actually being utterly intolerant of a creed different from yours which makes you the bigot in that case.
Yesterday, I wrote about charges like homophobia. What was rightly said in a comment on my Facebook is that this is a way of just shutting down debate. That’s entirely correct. The problem is that means that you really don’t care to know if you’re wrong on an issue if you go that route. Now I have no problem if you think it’s highly unlikely that you are wrong. All that’s recommended is to listen to the other side.
If someone opposes XYZ, it’s good to always ask why they oppose it. It’s easy to say something like “Republicans just want to see poor people die!” or “Democrats just only want to spread sinfulness!” Now both of those could be true, but you don’t know someone’s reason for opposing something until you ask them. I saw someone share something today about Republicans voting against a certain act. I wanted to look and see why they did so and find it in their own words. Too many articles I wrote were on the other side saying “Republicans hate XYZ!” I kept looking and found reasons that on the surface at least left me thinking, “That makes sense.” If I wanted to argue they were right, I would want to look more, but I at least decided I should see what was said first.
Ultimately, if you think it highly unlike you are wrong, that’s one thing, and that’s fine, but still listen to see what your opponent has to say and if it’s something new and you consider it important to your thinking, look into it. If you are convinced that you cannot possibly be wrong, then you are just a dogmatist and essentially you’re holding to a religious creed of sorts. If I meet someone who does not think they can be wrong in anything, I wonder why I should think they are right in anything. Ironically, as was said about, such a person is truly a bigot.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)