Post Author: Bill Pratt
Imagine a man named Charles. Charles is dogmatic about his beliefs concerning the origin of the universe, the existence of God, right and wrong. Charles is an evangelist who loves telling people about his beliefs. He writes a lot of blog posts and sometimes he comments on other people’s blog posts. Whenever he gets an opportunity to explain to people why his views are correct, he jumps at it.
Charles converted to his views as an adult after spending many years on the other side. He has an inside view of the other side and knows all of their weaknesses. He feels sorry for those still on the other side, as he knows they are wrong about reality, wrong about the big questions of life.
Charles has surrounded himself with those who think like him. He congregates with them, buys books written by them, votes like they vote. Charles has found a community that affirms what he believes.
Charles no longer feels a need to consider the evidence the other side provides for their viewpoint. He looked at it briefly in the past, but it is so obviously wrong that he didn’t have to spend much time before he moved on to other things. Now, when he interacts with the other side, he just does so to shake them out of their ignorance. He knows their arguments are weak, so he doesn’t really pay much attention to them.
Charles, more recently, has grown less patient with the other side and has started calling them names and insulting them, mostly anonymously or through social media. He just wishes they would snap out of their uninformed beliefs. When he encounters the other side these days, he sees them as the enemy. They represent what is wrong with the world.
Charles doesn’t feel too bad any more when people on the other side are demonized or mocked by his friends. I guess he’s just used to it. The other side is, after all, irrational and deluded.
Charles now lives in a very comfortable cocoon, a safe place he has constructed for himself. He knows he is right. He knows his friends are right. He knows the other side is evil, deluded, even hateful. If the other side would just go away, the world would be so much better off. In the mean time, though, the cocoon is pretty nice.
He is protected from having to actually think about the other side most of the time. What’s the point? He already thought about it a while back. No need to dig it all up again. No need to leave the cocoon.