Anyone who has tried to extract political opinions from strangers - a niche pursuit of canvassing activists and vox-popping journalists - knows that the obligation to take a definite view is often felt as a burden.And then I was reading Derek Tidball's book on pastoral theology, Skillful Shepherds, and came across this (again, with my emphasis):
There probably never was a time when there was only ever one version of reality passed down from generation to generation. But the degree and commitment to choice has never been so mind-boggling. It has left many punch-drunk to the extent that they never choose at all.In the Biblical book of Proverbs there are three broad groups of people: the wise, who although they already have understanding know full well that they still have much to learn, and so pay attention to the teachings of Solomon; the foolish, who have decided against wisdom and have embarked on their own false and immoral path (for in Proverbs wisdom and morality belong together), who will not listen and are therefore impossible (or near impossible) to correct; and the simple, or the naive, or the gullible. This latter group also includes the young. They are those who have not yet chosen. They are not set on a course of wisdom or folly; they are teachable. But they remain as yet simple.
It strikes me that our culture is on the whole committed to being uncommitted. We avoid anything that might irrevocably commit us to one path or another. We regard it as a virtue not to have strong opinions or a decided lifestyle. We are simple.
And the warning of Proverbs is that one cannot remain in this group forever. In fact, to stay simple is just to become foolish by default - to become hardened in a position of opposition to the wisdom which begins with the fear of the Lord.