Tuesday, 3 February 2009

People Believe What They Want

I've often heard the rubric,
"People believe what they want to believe"

I've most often heard it directed in derision against Christians. Which I find funny. If I was making my own religion, it wouldn't have looked much like Christianity.

The problem with that saying is, of course, that everyone loves to apply it to everyone else, but not to themselves.

I think the practical way of putting it would be something like,

"Be suspicious of anyone who tells you what you want to hear."

Let me show you what I mean. When the preacher man says, "God loves America" I would like the patriotic Christians of America to just ask, "Where does it say that?" and "What does it mean by that?" and to just ask, once, "How has America also displeased God?"

When the Mullah in the middle east says that killing Americans gets you to heaven, I think it's a little suspect.

And into this category I would also put the Atheist bus ads in London. The ads essentially carry the philosophical load of the old phrase, "Eat drink and be merry." (We've stopped saying the ending because it's not done to face the reality of death these days) That's what we want to hear, so wouldn't you expect the atheists to be a little more skeptical.

As to pointing the finger back at myself. As a Christian, there are times when I probably need to be challenged. I'm human. But overall I think the Christian message has stuff I really don't want to hear.

You're a sinner - who wants to be told that?
God will judge the world - is that a cheery thought?
Love your enemies - nobody likes to actually practice this.
Submit your will to God - not going to attract a lot of people.

No, I believe the unpalatable truths of the Christian faith because I lost the battle to disprove them, because I am convinced of their truth, not because I liked them.

For a discussion of those atheist ads from a person smarter than I you could look here and here.

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