I often see, and sometimes meet, folks who have a zeal for their faith or particular world view that brooks absolutely no argument on a particular topic. They know what they know, and that’s that. Most often they refer to themselves as “born again.” While it’s most common to hear the term as it relates to Christians, I have known many others who are “born again” atheists, Muslims, etc. The key definer, as noted by Merriam-Webster, is “having returned to or newly adopted an activity, a conviction, or a persona especially with a proselytizing zeal.”
I would suggest that each of us, every day, are born again in some fashion. Sometimes, we have epiphanies so profound (at least to us) that we want to tell the world! I remember when I first came out of the cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and experiencing rapid-fire changes in my world view. The first one, which seems like absolute common sense to me now, shattered my first long-held illusion about why I went in the door-to-door preaching work. My entire world view shifted in a matter of moments. Every time a paradigm shifted, I was born again.
I like to think of being born again as waking up to a new understanding. This applies to anyone with or without a religious faith. Coming to a new understanding does not make us better or special. It does not require making others think like us. Why would I want to pressure someone into a new world view, depriving them of the journey themselves? And, let me say this, not all of my epiphanies over the years have been accurate. Certain ideas or philosophies might have fit me at a particular time in my life, but now they don’t fit my current thinking. What once seemed like “be all, end all” thinking, has morphed yet again or been completely discarded. Born yet again.
When we realize that our world, our lives, and certainly our thoughts are constantly evolving, it’s hard to imagine why we would want to force our personal belief on anyone by proselytizing. Should we warn folks when we see dangerous cults in action, who seek to take away a person’s free will? Certainly! Should we encourage them to research and come to their own conclusions and beliefs? Absolutely!
A friend once shared a thought in his online bio about the mind being like a parachute–if it’s closed, it doesn’t do you much good. And, it certainly won’t save you. I encourage everyone to be born again every day, keeping an open mind to new information. Test that information, knowing that no matter how true something seems today, there may be an update in your future 🙂