Two things to start with: 1) the post from Nov. 15, “Links to Everywhere,” has been taken down as per webmaster Ben’s request & all pics removed. Fair enough. 2) The following post was born from a snippet of conversation that took place between myself and Ernie earlier today. I cannot shake the conviction that I bore him, and nearly every one of the other few people I converse with. That said, here is what I wrote out by hand as I digested our conversation, as well as some new observations:
How strong is the power of thought? In his book The Dilbert Future, Scott Adams explains a phenomenon that he experienced but cannot explain: thoughts, and thoughts alone, changing the physical world. Now, I have a strange dual mix of beliefs, for on one hand I firmly – unshakeably – believe in the most basic Christian tenants in which God became a man, died for our sins, and rose again live and well after three days. On the other hand, I have passed through enough scientific training to have a healthy skepticism for inexplicable superstitions such as the idea that “thinking bad thoughts causes bad things to happen.” That is the constant dynamic struggle for the analytical-minded Christian: how to reconsile our desire for empirical evidence with our complete and simple faith in Christ? A knotty problem, surely.
Yet many people swear that what you think directly influences reality, and not just because you take action on your thoughts. Somehow, thinking a thing may make it happen, so don’t think of failing this exam! Scott Adams claims that through thinking positively, and with no major behavioral changes, he became a bestselling author and cartoonist. He offers other examples in which he believed that he would encounter high-payoff stocks, and lo and behold, the stocks he felt compelled to buy (but didn’t) suddenly increased drastically in price. Ernie told me that I shouldn’t ask what the worst possible thing that could happen to him was: it would cause something bad to happen.
Now, what to think of this firm belief? Perhaps he was just dodging my question (lots of people do that to me); but many people share that same firm – if irrational – conviction of something. In fact, I act exactly the same as everybody else, for what is Christianity but an irrational belief? Oh, we call it “faith,” a belief in that which you cannot see, believing without proof that Jesus is the Son of God and that he lives today. That we, His followers, have found the only door to heaven. Why, then, should Scott Adams’s power of thinking not exist also? Why not telekinesis, or teleportation, or mind-reading? I cannot say that none of those exist, but I do know that God created an ordered universe, and such things are not within the regular framework of His design – that we know of. How can I call the demand to think positively “superstitious” and still be consistent with my faith? Truthfully, I cannot answer my own question; but I can also set it aside and know that is part of who I am as a Christian and a quasi-scientist. So I still can say that Christianity is true, while other beliefs are not – are superstition.
On the other hand, if somebody across the room levitated my pencil, I might just have to rethink my views.
– KF –