Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Hello. My Name is Irony
On the average day most people are bombarded with stories from coworkers, breaking news, political agendas, online articles, and messages from anything else that can convey a language. As we mature we begin to realize that all this information is tailed by the caveat, “but this may not be 100% true.” We have engineered a mindset for this when we are online due to the malleability of the media channels, and occasionally a verbal reminder of the caveat is necessary when face-to-face. Unfortunately, if we are in our default, absorb-information mode we may not take the time to switch our settings and consider the option of fiction.
I make an effort to keep that mindset at the ready; a news story may have been funny, but before I tell a friend about it, some research may be needed depending on its importance. ‘I heard a guy robbed a gas station with a sword,’ is silly enough and worded such that even if it was not true it entertained the audience and there was no harm done. I have observed that subjects that are ‘more important,’ such as national security or organized religion, do not need the caveat. We take all information related to such topics seriously, because it would be unwise not to. For some, the possibility of it being untrue is, ironically, too far-fetched for them.
I see myself as a very logical person, and I want as many facts as possible for something that I take interest. If a groundbreaking scientific discovery is announced, I want to do research for the explicit joy of gaining knowledge. Spirituality, similarly, is important enough that I want to do research for it as well. I very much want to be a religious person, but my coding prevents me from accepting the supposed facts without the necessary evidence. The likelihood of a divine being differs based upon the person; probability in this sense has no baseline, for emotion often comes too close to normal reasoning.
There is not much pure evidence, to be frank, of any religion that recognizes a divine being. Artifacts or corpses may have been relevant to history, but whether there is a legitimate religious association is hardly debatable. That’s where faith, a third pillar to this discussion, comes in. Many people have the faith to accept claims without a long second glance, especially if the channel is one they have grown to trust. Your friend is trusted and the claim of a sword-wielding robber may be unlikely, but there is a line drawn in the sand by faith that was not crossed. For many people the line of faith covers more ground than mine; I enjoy being analytical and skeptical, even to the point that results in some self-loathing. There is a delicate balance to stories, fact, and faith; it would do everyone well to define where their lines are drawn.
Christian Brooks, H3
26 October 2016