So I was watching “Grey’s Anatomy” last night (thus fulfilling my prediction of “in a few hours I’ll be lost in some vapid television show”). It’s definitely a show on my B-list (not an A-lister like Lost or Alias), but for what it is it’s usually enjoyable enough. Anyway, two of the doctors on the show were having a difference of opinion over the nature of reality – Yang is a classic “if I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist” rationalist, and Burke is of the “I’m not religious but I am spiritual” school of thought (which warrants an entire post on it’s own, but not now).
After a few exchanges on the subject the two of them find themselves dealing with a child in need of a heart transplant, and things aren’t going quite as expected, yada yada yada. Afterwards Burke explains to Yang (paraphrasing here): “That sense of powerlessness in the face of that boy’s troubles? That is why I have to believe in something beyond myself. If I didn’t, it would eat me alive inside.”
:: blink ::
What what what? That is the worst possible reason I can think of to believe in something – because it makes you feel better. What is he, 8 years old? Don’t believe in things because they make you feel better, or because your parents believed them, or because “all the cool kids are doing it”. Believe in something because you believe in something – that is, because you believe it is True, not because it gives you warm fuzzies.
I have been a Christian for roughly 22 years now – and I remain a Christian because I have spent countless hours in research and thought and examination, and firmly believe that 2000 years ago a dead man rose from his grave. (Naturally my faith and worldview encompass a great deal more than that, but without that starting point Christianity simply doesn’t stand).
Prior to that I was a generic sort of animist, with a wishy-washy belief in a very undefined “something out there” – because at that time I firmly believed that was the Truth of things.
Even before that, I was a secular humanist (though of course too young to know the term) – because at that time I had never seen or thought anything to make me think otherwise.
If I only believed in things that made me feel good, I would still be waiting on Christmas morning for Santa Claus to shimmy down the chimney with an Xbox 360 in one hand and a sixpack of Smirnoff Ice in the other!