People instinctively have a need to worship God. This has been shown throughout history.
So an atheist is like a child reared in the institutional setting of the orphanage. Such a child would naturally feel a deep sense of loss because of never knowing his parents.
For centuries people believed that Aristotle was right when he said that the heavier an object, the faster it would fall to earth. Aristotle was regarded as the greatest thinker of all time, and surely he would not be wrong. Anyone, of course, could have taken two objects; one heavy and one light, and dropped them from a great height to see whether or not the heavier object landed first. But no one did until nearly 2,000 years after Aristotle’s death.
Legend has it that in 1589 Galileo summoned learned professors to the base of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Then he went to the top and pushed off a ten-pound and a one-pound weight. Both landed at the same instant. The power of belief was so strong, however, that the professors denied their eyesight. They continued to say Aristotle was right.
This illustrates what is going on in the world today. You could show the terrible ravaging effects of AIDS and people will have promiscuous sex anyway.
You can show someone a diseased liver and cancerous lungs and people are going to abuse alcohol and smoke regardless of the facts.
If only someone would just climb to the top of the tower and push off a ten-pound argument and a one-pound argument and just see which reaches the ground first.
That would finally prove who is right and who is wrong. But then we are reminded that when Galileo did that no one believed him.
Even with the authority of obvious visible proof, i.e. the two weights reached the ground at the same time, the professors did not believe. Most people are going to believe what they have always believed regardless of the facts.
Ink in water
The human mind may be compared with a glass of water. If someone adds a drop or two of food coloring, the entire glass changes color. It’s not a lot of contamination, but it saturates the entire glass.
We can similarly be affected by the persuasion of massive public opinion. It can even cause us to accepting un-scriptural views or beliefs.
Do we have “loophole” mentality when it comes to serving Jehovah? It is said (perhaps in jest but perhaps not) that a famous film comedian was near death. A visitor found him avidly reading a Bible and inquired as to the reason for this suddenly found interest. The visitor had known the man for quite some time and never heard of him being concerned about the Bible before.
“I’m looking for loopholes, my friend, looking for loopholes”, was the reply.
A wealthy television evangelist was dying in his mansion, and his flock gathered round to ask him for his last wish.
“Before I die,” he said, “I would like to take a ride.” And they asked the rich preacher what he required for that final ride before entering the kingdom of heaven.
And he said, “I would like a very small camel and a very large needle.”
“Belief is almost inevitably a suspension of searching and critical thinking. There are many beliefs worth having. I will not discuss them here. My concern is that too often we people are prone to latch on to the first beliefs thrust on us, and thereby to end the critical search for what we really hold to be true.” — Albert Emerson Unaterra (1952-2002), American writer
“I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.”
— Bertrand Russel (1872-1970), British philosopher, mathematician, social critic, writer
“Believe nothing merely because you have been told it. Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be kind, conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings — that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide.” — Buddha (563?-483? BC), Indian mystic, founder of Buddhism
Believing things ‘on authority’ only means believing them because you have been told them by someone you think trustworthy. Ninety-nine percent of the things you believe are believed on authority. I believe there is such a place as New York. I could not prove by abstract reasoning that there is such a place. I believe it because reliable people have told me so. The ordinary person believes in the solar system, atoms, and the circulation of the blood on authority — because the scientists say so.
Every historical statement is believed on authority. None of us has seen the Norman Conquest or the defeat of the Spanish Armada. But we believe them simply because people who did see them have left writings that tell us about them; in fact, on authority. A person who balked at authority in other things, as some people do in religion, would have to be content to know nothing all his life. — C.S. Lewis.
“The mind can assert anything, and pretend it has proved it.” — D. H. Lawrence
“Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true.” — Demosthenes
“If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won’t, you most assuredly won’t. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad.”
— Denis Waitley
“Man is a being born to believe. And if no church comes forward with its title-deeds of truth to guide him, he will find altars and idols in his own heart and his own imagination.”
— Benjamin “Dizzy” Disraeli (1804-81), British politician
“If you were to destroy in mankind the belief in immortality, not only love but every living force maintaining the life of the world would at once be dried up. Moreover, nothing then would be immoral, everything would be permissible, even cannibalism.”
— Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian novelist
A good scare is worth more to a man than good advice. — Edgar Watson Howe, novelist and editor (1853-1937)
“Dogmatism does not mean the absence of thought, but the end of thought.”
— Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), British writer
“The phrases that men hear or repeat continually, end by becoming convictions and ossify the organs of intelligence.”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), German writer, scientist
A belief is not true because it is useful. — Henri-Frédéric Amiel (1821-81), Swiss philosopher, poet
“In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”
— Mark Twain (1835-1910), [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] American author, humorist
The grocery store tabloid news industry survives for one reason only — the gullibility of people. Consider some headlines:
- Dinosaurs Honked Like Buicks
- Cow Mattresses Help Cows Produce More Milk
- Pregnant Woman On Diet Of Only Chicken, Lays Huge Egg
- WWII Bomber Found On The Moon
- Woman Gives Birth To 2 Year Old Baby: Child Walks & Talks In 3 Days
- Adam & Eve’s Bones Found In Asia: Eve Was A Space Alien