One Lump or Two?

I don’t have any of the specific statistics in front of me right now, but over the last few years I’ve read some reports about the various things in which people believe. One of the things that’s stuck with me is that there is a definite tendency to believe more in things that we like than in things that we don’t.

For instance, in this hypocritically Christian nation of mine (that’s the United States) there’s a lot more people that believe in Angels than in Demons. It probably comes as no surprise than that there are more believers in Heaven than in Hell. And of course, a ton of people that will never be rich still vote Republican even though it’s against their best interests.

So I talked to God about this. This is one of those times when I’m not sure how seriously to take him. He told me that a lot of it comes from being raised to believe in Santa Claus. When it comes to believing in things with upsides and not believing in things with downsides, Santa comes out pretty well. As long as you’re good you’ll win fabulous prizes. And if you’re bad, a lump of coal. In the dead of winter, a lump of coal has definite uses, so when it comes to punishments, it could get a lot worse.

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1 Comment

On December 11, 2009 at 10:43 am

C.S. Lewis’s ‘The Problem of Pain’ deals with this idea very directly. It’s been years since I last read it, so I can’t give any great detail about what he says, other than that a lot of Christians seem to feel that God has abandoned them when something bad happens, when, if they were following their faith the way they were supposed to, they’d know that that isn’t the case. Just praying that the problem will go away won’t do it, either. A Christian has to build these rather intricate walls about the pain (and by pain, I mean anything that causes one distress, not just physical pain) so that it can be coped with. I find his argument to be logical, just not convincing.
And I think you’re right on about people believing in angels, but not devils. According to the Bible, though, angels haven’t been visiting us for about 2000 years, but devils are always around. And some Christian groups look at it that way, too.


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