We are simple creatures. Complex in certain areas, but at the core simple. We live. We breathe. We die. And we believe. In something, which helps separates us from the animals. I realize today’s Monday, and I’m a day late and a dollar short, as is my custom, but even though the sabbath was yesterday, I figured now is as good a time as any to dive into the murky depths of complicated rhetoric and search the darkness for a little faith. It is a topic that probably circles our minds more often than we’d like, so regardless of what you believe, chances are you have faith in someone or something.
Now, I’m going to fire off a list of things we place our faith in, and I’ll bet you place your faith in one of them: family/parents, talent, teachers, religion, the media, political leaders, evolution, knowledge, good looks, your lover. Let’s unpack these, shall we? Maybe then you’ll see what I mean.
Family: you trust that they love you. You trust that they’ll tell you what they think honestly, though sometimes you probably wish they wouldn’t. But how many of our family members have let us down? Betrayed us? Stabbed our backs?
Talent: You can sing well. You can write well. You have an affinity for painting. Your skills rival anyone you know. You can sell a tanning bed to a sun cancer patient. You were born with specific abilities that allow you to run faster, jump higher. But is that really going to save you?
Teachers: What they say is law. You obey them. Your parents tell you to obey them, because it’s “the right thing to do.” Their assignments are there to help you think…like them. It’s mystifying to see some of the assignments my little brother brings home, assignments that are training him, along with millions of other students, “the right way” to think. 9 times out of 10 these thought processes subtly inject doses of a particular agenda, rarely ever based on a God-centered philosophy, because what rational-thinking individual could place their faith in a higher power? After all, man is the center of all knowledge, and man is god.
Religion: Whether you get up for Sunday service, hit the Saturday evening mass, meditate in your bedroom, do weird stretching positions while channeling your inner chi, offer strange albeit kosher phlegmy pronunciations of words during the Passover, pray to mother earth, kneel and face mecca twelve times a day, or one day await the coming of the mothership, you’re in one of two camps…a believer or a nonbeliever. The nonbeliever, of course, believes in nothing, which actually becomes a belief of its own, but whatever. Religion is the backbone of any society, which should make you scratch your head whenever someone tries to convince you that it’s unnecessary. Societies dating back thousands of years worshiped something, believed in something greater than themselves. And why not? Last time I checked, I couldn’t make it rain or snow or cause an earthquake. No matter how much I tensed up, squeezed my butthole, or gritted my teeth with clenched fists draped at my sides, I could never create a freaking planet, let alone its inhabitants, or an atmosphere that allows them to breathe. When you think of the intricacy of the human eye, or even the nervous system, denying that there is a higher power just makes you look like a spoiled brat, angry because you just wanna see proof. Open your eyes, bro. Now, am I saying religion has never brought division? No, but just because something divides doesn’t make it bad. Consider a blender. It devours the fruit and creates a nice smoothy. But it also exiles the negative parts your digestive system won’t find particularly appealing. The pits, the granules that don’t blend well, etc. Sometimes division is good. And don’t even get me started on that ridiculous Coexist banner. There will be no peaceful coexistence until the one good ruler establishes a new kingdom. Then, and only then, will there be peace.
The Media: Whether you find yourself on the CNN side of the fence or the Fox News side of the fence doesn’t really matter. Both find ways to spin the headlines in the favor of whatever particular group they’re catering to. Don’t be fooled…the media has one function and one function only: to breed fear. If they can keep us fighting over which political party is better, and if they can keep us questioning the motives of any particular leader, then our attention is removed from the real truth: at the end of the day…they have the power, that power is shared between both parties, they’re all in cahoots, and the citizens are their puppets. Think I’m crazy? I’ll bet people in Germany never thought there’d be a Hitler, either.
Political Leaders: Is this guy really different than any leader before him?
Evolution: Everyone blindly accepts that we came from monkeys, and that the monkeys came from another creature, or better, that that creature crawled out of some primordial ooze which started to take form millions of years ago because some rogue lightning bolt just so happened to strike earth (oh, yeah, earth just happened to be here and hanging in the middle of space by itself) millions of years ago. Does that really make sense? Yet they feed it to us like it’s the new Jesus Christ. Like it’s supposed to answer anything. Here’s something that can silence any evolutionary argument: who made the lightning bolt, earth, and the primordial ooze? See, no matter what you think or believe, it all comes back to a Creator. Something greater than ourselves. The educational system has an agenda: keep the people faithless. Without faith, the moral code loses power. Without a moral code, anything goes. Kill your babies if it makes you feel good. Have sex with men, women, children, goats, pigs, whatever tickles your fancy. Burn women at the stake if they speak up against injustice. Eradicate the useless of society: people with special needs, the elderly, the sick. Don’t you see how blind we are? Place your faith in science, even though everything is really just a theory, and theories evolve all the time into other theories that make even less sense. They have made science a religion on its own when, in actuality, faith and science can exist together, and back each other up, just not the way you might at first think. But of course, man has too much pride in his own knowledge, so placing his faith in a Creator just doesn’t seem logical.
Knowledge: Knowledge is power, right? The more you know, the better off you’ll be. I agree with this to a point. Do I think we should be illiterate or stupid? No, but I do think that our rabid pursuit of knowledge has given us a false sense of security, deceiving us to think that we are God. We can explain everything because some smart guy in a suit laid it out clearly in some academic book. We fell for it in the garden, and the snakes are at it again. We can be like God. We can be God, just as long as we study hard enough, pay enough student loans, and exile any faith in a higher power.
Your good looks: Maybe you were born with a pretty face, so naturally people like you more. It’s easier to get dates, easier to be selected prom queen, easier to get that promotion, and in turn, get that paper. But why do you have those good looks? Natural selection? DNA? Who gave them to you? Why did said Giver allow you to have them and not someone else?
Do you see it now?
Your lover: You think that guy will stay forever? You think your wife won’t ever betray your trust? Yes, it’s possible to stay true and faithful, but odds are against you. Why? Because we live in a screwed-up, fallen world in which people execute failure with extreme precision. We are perfect at being imperfect. We need saving. We need new direction. We need faith.
You could place your faith in any one of the things I’ve mentioned, or maybe you place your faith in yourself or money. No matter what, you’ll be let down because this is an imperfect place. There’s only one way, and nobody likes to hear that. But for some reason we accept that 1 + 1 = 2, and nothing anyone can say can change that. Why, then, when someone offers the truth, do we run from it? Why do we hide? Because it’s easier to buy the lie than to accept the gift of truth. Am I saying we shouldn’t believe in ourselves or that we should all be ugly and never wear makeup or style our hair or that every political leader is a schemer? N…well, maybe that last part is a tad bit true. But no, we should place a measure of assurance in these things, but only a measure. People, possessions, ideas will eventually let you down. But faith cannot. Faith that your art will succeed. Faith that your family will endure through this impossible time. Faith that there is another power keeping it all in motion and that said power wants your marriage to last. Faith that maybe the myth is true after all, and maybe we are screwed up because of one choice thousands of years ago, and maybe there was another choice made by another power, which can set even the biggest skeptic free.
Be careful what you believe in.
ps ARISE coming soon
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