Worldviews and pre-conceived notions
Each and every person carries with him a worldview, a filter by which they discern truth from falsehood. The filters act very well. I've learned that when people say they have an open mind, thus no filter, there are generally two worldviews they themselves possess. Either they believe in nothing (if your mind is truly open, all information would flood in and then promptly leave) or, as is the general case, the open minded will be open minded to everything....except every opinion they disagree with. The trick is figuring out a balance of the two, meaning one would be open enough to be able to question his previous beliefs but still believe in something and know how to distinguish truth from falsehood.
Along with this framework comes "preconceived notions". Question those and people can easily become rude, nasty, and even violent. See some of the responses to my husband's comment on kim du toit. They don't refute his claims- they either think it's a rambling mess (a very small percentage of those who have heard his ideas) or denigrate his writing ability (one of his greatest talents) and grammar, despite that other posts also have errors in grammar and that has nothing to do with the ideas expressed in the essay. In other words, they either CAN'T see it- their filter is too strong and won't let them or they will do everything possible to question his credibility without actually having to think about the ideas he expressed. It's much easier to attack someone's spelling then a view you see as wrong but can't prove why. People see what they want to see. The reason the outcome of the Waco and Randy Weaver shootings/burning didn't produce more outrage than they did is that people didn't WANT to see their government as tyranous and so they didn't. They instead blamed the victims themselves. There are two types of "conservatives"- those that essentially wish to maintain the status quo and those that realize the very status quo that is so comforting is the problem.
Over the course of 4 years I've changed from a gun-fearing, Marxist, non-Christian poorly educated youth to the opposite (I'm still working on the education part, but I'm learning). When my husband would make me question the Holocaust's killing of 6 million or showed me the Southern perspective on the Civil War, I would lash out in anger. There were times I would break down into tears at having my world fall apart- my views of God, science, history, and more. "Things fall apart; the center does not hold". Everything I "knew" was true and wouldn't even have thought to question were squashed.
To live without challenging yourself and your views would be an easy life but also a cowardly one. The devil is the Father of Lies and I for one want the Truth. I may have lost my former foundation built on sand, but I gained a far deeper one- my life is built on the solid Rock of Christ and I will strive (and frequently fail and always be forgiven) to mold my worldview to be more like the Creator's. We are made in his image, after all.