Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I Believe...

Bill Nye (the Science Guy) has ignited a small firestorm by doing a video that has been posted to YouTube. Check it out:

The result of talking about Creationism as bogus has been pretty predictable, at least in this country. On the one hand, atheists have come out in strong support for the thesis of the video. On the other hand, young Earth creationists have decried his lack of faith. And there's a strong contingent of theistic evolutionists who say, "Why should we make a distinction? Why can't we believe that God was and is involved in the ongoing evolution of life on Earth?"

I have a question. Regardless of what you believe, why do you believe it? I'm not interested in hearing things like, "It's because it's the Word of God," or, "Because it's true!" I want to get to something deeper.

Ultimately, when we look at statements of belief like these, in almost all cases there's one or more authority figures at the root of the belief. That figure may be a preacher who set us on the path toward Creationism in our youth. It may be a Biology teacher in high school who impressed us with her sagacity and knowledge. It may be someone on television from years ago who stated matter-of-factly that Darwinian evolution explained in a simple and generalizable way how species differentiated and succeeded each other because of the better survivability of certain mutations and all the rest.

My question is this, in another form - what was there about that one authority figure that made him or her more credible, more convincing than some other authority figure? Was it their personality, their charisma, their relationship to you as a person learning to separate fact from fiction? What, in other words, made their words TRUE and someone else's words FALSE.

This sort of question is very relevant these days. There seems to be a distinct lack of trust in most authority figures. We don't trust the government, we don't trust corporations, we don't trust many preachers or spiritual leaders, we have little faith in many different kinds of public figures. And yet, we trust someone. Why is that? And if we don't trust, why is that?

I'm not trying to answer this question for anyone but myself. I've got to dig back pretty far to examine my own beliefs and why I became convinced they were accurate. What about you?

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