11/20/2016 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Carl S ~
Believers find something wrong with unbelievers: If you don't believe, they'll tell you, it's because you have chosen not to. (By the way, what's wrong with that?) They all maintain belief is necessary for morality. So let's rethink this unbelief thing. Unbelief is as necessary for believers as belief. I maintain, along with Eric Hoffer, that it takes an incredible amount of unbelief to make belief possible. In fact, much more unbelief than belief is involved. You have to constantly disbelieve the evidence, the realities of life that keep contradicting those beliefs. The contradictions in the various creeds alone create suppressed undealt-with doubts within them. This has always been true. You might say about this, "Tell me something I don't know." Or maybe right now, you don't see things that way; if not, you soon might.
Sometimes the obvious takes a long, long, time to be recognized. Speaking of important discoveries and proposed theories, one observer noted that the majority of them were met with instant rejection. (Some things, like gay rights and climate change are still being dis-believed; again, mostly by believers.) Things change. Over time, they become accepted. Later still, they are "obvious," and most experts who rejected them will claim they knew all along they're true. Only rigid fundamentalists are entrenched in disbelief. They're still failing to mature, blindly believing just as their ancient revered predecessors they emulate did. They go to church in modern cars, while maintaining oxcart morality is superior to all others. And the rest of society is supposed to respect their beliefs?
Faiths claim the beliefs are "obvious." After all, if there is a god, he can do anything; hence, miracles contradicting the laws of nature. Anything goes. But - that's "if" there is a god and if that god is the one they choose. From all available evidence, who needs a god? "God" fed people in the desert for 40 years with bread, told people to stone to death disobedient sons and homosexuals, and even brought a man like "Jesus" back from the dead, back in those oxcart-morality days. Believe it or go to hell. And unbelieve anyone who tells you differently.
We enjoy solving problems. Sometimes, what's "obvious from the start" turns out not to be. "Let the buyer beware," is an ancient adage. The more serious our subject(s) are, the more so shall we investigate them. That's why there are spies and private investigators, for example. You'd think a person who's concerned about being tortured forever simply for not believing something would investigate whether that claim is true. You would think that common sense naturally tells you that if the payoff on a heavenly insurance policy is immaterial, so then should the payments be immaterial. The more important the claim is, the more, not the less, it should be investigated.
There was an old crime case, a real one, on TV. A woman called 911 to report her husband committed suicide. When the EMT's arrived, she said she and the children had come home from a breakfast/shopping trip. She called for her husband, who slept downstairs, and went to find him dead, having killed himself with a revolver. She explained he had a history of attempted suicides. Cut and dried, case closed, right?
Let the buyer bewareSuicide? The EMT's didn't find the gun. She explained that it was bloody, so she wiped it clean, and put it on top of the refrigerator, to keep it away from the kids. Sure enough, that's where it was. When the police arrived, they found he had been shot twice in the head. Questioning the wife, she gave conflicting stories of the time-line leading up to her finding the body. She repeated the part about going out, but added that she called down to him before they left the house. Forensics revealed he had already been shot at that time.
Does anybody shoot themselves twice? Yes, if they graze themselves on the first shot. This was not the case here. Both wounds were direct ones. Further investigation revealed she had purchased the gun days prior. She said her husband and the kids were in the car when she was buying in the gun shop. The CCTV outside the shop showed her car was empty at that time. When confronted with the evidence, the wife said: Okay, this is what really happened. I came home and he was there bleeding, and he told me, "I want to die. Shoot me." And so, she said, she (mercifully) did. These words were her defense in a plea deal to get a mild sentence. True, he was still alive when she arrived home. Also true was the fact that she then scanned her computer to find what to do when the first shot did not end a life. Bottom line, the judge found her admission of shooting him, and other evidence, enough to put her away for 65 years.
The higher the stakes, the more elaborate the "explaining away" a murder, theft, swindle, etc. When someone tries to sell you a bill of goods, be wary. The greater the cost, the more serious the commitment involved, the more the claims must be investigated. It is not like falling in love, as one woman said, involving, "I know in my heart that I have a relationship with Jesus just as sure as I have with you. I just don't question this." I understand feelings, but she can touch, see, hear and even taste me. I'm for real real. She, like you and me, can surely fall in and out of love, sometimes with heart-wrenching results. We don't investigate the person we fall in love with, but we ought to if this involves getting involved with "Jesus." The stakes are high, once you start down that path. The evidence does not lie to us, though.
The child has to be born in Bethlehem, so the entire Roman domain has to comply with a writer's homemade census that sends its mother there to give birth? Nobody is resurrected after dying, but have you read all the "eyewitness evidence?" Talk about lying and contradictions. But the stakes were high: getting people to accept such nonsense meant power and careers for the writers. (One Christian founder, Tertullian, proclaimed, "It is impossible for a man to return from being dead; therefore, it must be true.") Big stakes often require bigger lies and stories. Keep this in mind the next time someone tells you to believe something without question. Red light alert. Don't take my word for it.