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Muddy Thinking

"A friend died in a motorcycle accident, so I'm never riding a motorcycle."

"My mom died in a plane crash, so I'm never going on a plane."

"A co-worker died in a restaurant, so I'm never going to a restaurant."

"My cousin died while in the yard, so I'm not going near grass again."

"A neighbor died on Tuesday, so I'm not going to observe Tuesday anymore."

Yes, the comments got crazier as they went along. Those are, however, the logical next steps with that line of thinking. Do we avoid things because we had a bad experience and we want to apply it to everything in that same category? That type of thinking does not work, but few people think through it enough to realize how illogical they are being. I like to call this "muddy thinking"; in spite of what we think, it is as clear as mud.

We often do this same kind of thing in our spirituality. We see something and then apply it to everything in the same category without any critical thought involved. Essentially, when we do this we are not showing much discernment on what is good or bad; it is a very immature way of thinking. It presumes that because the speaker knows one thing, that he knows everything. This is obviously not the truth, but we sometimes slip and think this way in spite of the massive problems involved with it.

These days, it almost seems like rash thinking is spreading like a plague. People get an idea in their head and then they run with it. Whether it is a good idea or a bad idea, limited knowledge should cause us to be more humble in how we respond to things. So here is the question: how stubborn are you when you are sure you are right? I had to ask myself this question recently, because I know that I have to be firm sometimes, and I want to make sure that I do not allow myself to slip from "firm" to "obstinate".

Let us imagine it on the spiritual scale.

"I know someone who was abused by a Catholic Priest, so I know that all Priests are pedophiles."

"I once was treated rudely in the confessional so I refuse to go to confession again."

"The Church has a lot of rules, so it only cares about controlling people."

"I know a homosexual and he is a nice person, so the Church is wrong to call homosexuality a sin."

"There are non-Catholics who love God so I do not need the Catholic Church."

These are just some examples. Let us each dig deeply and ask whether we are making the same kind of errors in our thought process. Muddy thinking may seem to be okay at first, but it will lead us down the path of disaster (and may even lead us away from God). Let us not be stubborn in our thinking, and let us each realize that only if we humble ourselves before God can we find the truth.


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