I’ve lately noticed a specific quality that some people have to adhere to things they believe more strictly than reason dictates. And to be clear about this, it’s a quality of the person as a whole in many of their beliefs, not just about one thing in which they believe.

There really is only one good, universal example, and I dislike making it, but to explain further I have little choice. I do not begrudge anyone their religion. There is a place for me, too, in trying to figure out the bigger mysteries of life. Still, I don’t believe that these beliefs necessarily extend into every facet of life that some folks do. And that’s where you can find friction between what I think and what most everyone else on the planet thinks. But what makes me most different, I think, is that I’m still open to ideas and willing to lend them thought, whereas most religious people I’ve encountered are not.

I think there’s a switch somewhere deep in these people that is flipped to the setting that disallows them any further input. It prevents them from seeing reason in deference to their faith. I’m sure that it’s not just me who has tried to argue one thing or another (abortion, capital punishment, gay marriage, etc.) to a person like this and come up against the unassailable illogic of religion. But whatever this quality is about a person, I’ve noticed that it sometimes doesn’t only apply to their religious beliefs, but also to other thinking that they have.

An example of this is, and maybe you saw this coming, Apple zealotry. Similar to my religious beliefs, I also struggle with the problems that Microsoft and Windows have wrought on the world. My coming to terms with it does not involve throwing years of investment in money, time, and training down the toilet for the sake of a Mac’s arguably smoother experience. Simultaneously, I think OSX is a fine platform, if that’s your personal poison. If you have invested in Apple as much as I have in Microsoft, I don’t begrudge you that preference. But there are people who take it that extra step, where it becomes more like a religion for them.

But I’m not building a Microsoft vs. Apple flame-fest here. What I’ve recently noticed is a disturbing ability for people who have become zealots for one faction or another to also be susceptible to irrational zealotry for other divergent areas. Be it cars, mp3 players, home stereo equipment, music, or what have you, these same people often seem to exhibit characteristics of zealotry in other topics.

It’s odd. I mean, I can still have conversations with people of this mindset, but I often find that I have to avoid those specific topics for which they have particular interest because there’s simply no fruitful discussion about it with them. But then you continue on and find that they are irrational about maybe one or two other things, too. It makes conversation very much like a minefield, tip-toeing around topics that are likely to get you into a multi-hour fruitless discussion. And it’s disturbing to discover that these folks have this quality that allows them to fall into an opinion from which they cannot be persuaded.

There are many things that I am personally set in my ways about. Clearly, using Windows is one of them. And yet, I still believe that someone could make a convincing enough argument that I could switch. Seriously, the look of Ubuntu these days is getting better and better. But there are a lot of hurdles yet for me to switch. The main thing about my position though, is that I’m not trying to convince anyone else to have my opinion. I know what works for me, and I’m ok with that. And I assume that what works for you is ok for you, and I would only suggest a Windows-based solution to a problem you have in the name of being helpful.

But likely as not, I’ll get at least one comment of someone trying to convert me. Granted, I can be persuaded. But it’s very unlikely that the person doing the persuading could be persuaded or even convinced that I could be satisfied with what I have. Whatever the reason, I find that disturbing.