When we come to the realization that the conclusions we come to aren’t just purely objective in nature, it sets up a lot of really great possibilities. I would say that the most positive realization comes with knowing that we are not our conclusions. While I am a Christian and have certain positions regarding Christianity, that doesn’t define who I am as a human being. The essence of who I am isn’t comprised of my theological positions, political theories or the kind of clothes I wear or the car I drive, etc. The essence of who I am is comprised only of the being that God has created.
Acknowledging that our theological conclusions aren’t a product of who we fundamentally are is critical to developing the kind of empathy needed to move forward in a world where our various theologies are endlessly clashing.
It’s so much easier to demonize your theological other when you operate under the false assumption that your theological conclusion was arrived through an objective process. Evidence for this is so readily available, I say farewell to keeping up. When human beings are convinced that what we believe is simply a matter of believing what is true, disregarding the complicated matrix of consequences in which we develop our ideas, it is the first step in drawing the line between those who are right and those who are wrong.
But if we are able to disassociate the ideas we have from who we are at our core, this is the most critical step in developing a bond between those who might be our theological other. By coming to the realization that we develop our ideas while being influenced by our life experiences, we can see that this is the case with others as well. Rational arguments can be made but they are hardly any match for the power of life experiences and how those experiences shape a human being.