Friday, December 10, 2010

"Well, I know you were influenced by......."

I really hate hearing this in debates. Yes, we all have biases, due to our upbringings, our status in society, and a multitude of other factors. At the same time, I find people use this one when they're so sure they are right that they pity your inability to come to their truth. I hate hearing this line because the person using it basically uses it to smear any credibility you have, usually without knowing or considering your life story, your thoughts, or your reasoning. I'm not going to lie. It pisses me off.

Guess what? I'm young. Yet I'm still an adult, I still possess a brain with relative intelligence. I've been living pretty independently for someone who is still in college. Hell, I've been living in Kenya for the last three months. Unlike most of my elders, I grow up in a much different time, in an era of constant exposure to information and enough mental stimulation to send the entire Roman Empire into a perpetual state of sensory overload. Thus I am quite capable of finding information, analyzing it and deciding my viewpoints on various topics after having that exposure to different viewpoints. It's how I've formed (and CHANGED) my political views, how I've researched for my IR and Economics courses and how I've decided (questioned and evaluated) my own religion. After living in Kenya, I've been exposed to even more diverse viewpoints, extreme situations and have been forced to reconsider views I long held to be sacred convictions. So, yeah, I think. I think a lot. I still have to make a decision about what I think.

No one decides my viewpoints but me. Not my parents, not my Church, not a rock band, not my friends, nor anyone who manages to sweep me off my feet. Yes, they've all shaped my viewpoints, somewhat. However, at the end of the day, it is I who decide what I believe and what I will stand by. I'm the one who stands before God. He gave me the gift of free will. Why don't we all do likewise?

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