That’s hard to believe

Many things are hard to believe. What we often deny is that our actions or inactions reveal our beliefs. On the International Space Station a $2 billion cosmic ray detector searches for dark matter that believers call “the glue holding the cosmos together.” Human senses cannot detect it, but scientists who adhere to dark matter’s existence claim it makes up about a quarter of the universe. That’s hard to believe. Despite the common saying, “The sky’s the limit,” the sky has not been the limit for many years. Out there somewhere is something techies call “the cloud.” Through cloud computing, we access, share, and store information. A gadget-oriented friend gives me a simple explanation, “It’s magic.” That’s hard to believe. We dream big, especially in technology. Silicon Valley’s latest trend is the development of wearable electronics. A March Associated Press photo showed Google founder Sergey Brin sporting Internet-connected glasses. That’s hard to believe, not to mention nerdy.
If these things truly exist — dark matter, the cloud, wearable electronics — then doubt will not annihilate them. We use what benefits us even if we cannot explain it. Being able to believe, according to Charles Darwin, is a human privilege: “the most complete of all distinctions between man and the lower animals.” Believing in the wrong things means unhappiness and even disaster. In an April Tribune Media Service cartoon, three men hold signs in front of Uncle Sam. The first sign says “Sandy Hook” and the man shouts, “Gun Control!” On the second, “Boston,” and the shout is, “Pressure Cooker Control!” The third holds “Ricin Scare” with a shout of “Mail Control!” And Uncle Sam’s response: “How about just crazy-person control?” Amen. If only: We could determine the right things to believe and force everyone to agree on them. We cannot because that goes past Darwin’s thoughts on our humanity to God’s actions. Believe it or not, the Creator God built into us a will, a freedom to choose our beliefs. A 95-year-old woman, Margot Woelk, just let us know she was one of 15 young women forced to be Hitler’s food tasters. Because of Hitler’s paranoia that he might be poisoned, Woelk lived a nightmare for 2 ½ years. He could not get inside her head, however, unless she let him in. Since the Boston bombings, the media has gone from castigating the bombers to lengthy specials with experts analyzing what made the two brothers choose this awful path. No matter what brainwashing took place, whether by their parents or radical Islamic terrorists, the brothers themselves must bear the consequences of their actions. Children are usually at the mercy of adults, but being adult means taking responsibility for our beliefs no matter what has happened to us. Many try but eventually find that escapism does not work. The legendary George Jones confessed in his memoir: “In the 1970s, I was drunk the majority of the time.” It didn’t help; it did determine his actions. “Don’t I fill heaven and earth?” is a question God asks in Jeremiah 23:24. Answering it is up to each of us; but, believe it or not, the answer guides all belief and consequent action.

Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If we seek simple truth, we can find it together—side-by-side.

Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at lindadowning.com.