Belief is a wise wager

People who don't believe in anything really bug me. Mostly because they're a snore, but also because it speaks to the egotistical manner by which we humans approach life.

The other day my son boldly stated, "They don't make Cookie Crisp commercials anymore." I said, "Oh yeah? How do you know?"

With celebratory arrogance, he replied, "Because I've never seen one."

Because you've never seen one? That's the best you got? Well congratulations! You're on the fast track to I don't know who raised you but go clean your room. I wonder if General Mills realizes that the success or failure of Cookie Crisp rides on whether the omnipotent Alexander is paying attention.

It really got me to thinking though, about how self-important we humans are. At 10 years old, this child believes that he alone thinks things in or out of existence based on fewer than eleven years of empirical observation on the globe, three of which he didn't even do shit.

This is how people are, though. There are 7 billion centers of the universe on Earth, each with an idea of reality that in no way reflects the one true reality, of which I have no idea what that is, but I'm pretty sure you don't either.

I used to be cube neighbors with a man who didn't believe in anything. NOTHING. Don't believe in God? OK, how about Big Foot? No? Ghosts? String theory? Aliens? Nessie? Alternate universes? Well then...any good conspiracy theories? How about humans? You believe in HUMANS? I mean, Jesus.

You know what he'd say? "Well I've never seen one" of whatever it was we were discussing. This fifty year old man is presenting the same argument that my ten year old does? I mean c'mon. Come up with something better than that. Make shit up. Do something other than pompously march the back ally of reasoning along with all the other bed wetters.

Leprechaun.jpg

What do these people sit around and think about all day?

I'd rather risk a three hour debate with an ornery, bath salt-smoking schizophrenic than trudge through a boring Q&A with Eeyore.

I used to have a schizophrenic mother-in-law. She would tell me about the Leprechauns who lived amongst her. No shit. She would leave plates of food out for them at night, and in the morning she'd present me with proof that they had been there; empty plates. While I suspected she probably had rats, I deeply appreciated the fact that I could not disprove her premise, and I found her ideas to be fascinating. Besides, according to her, she had seen them. Who was I to knock it?

It's sad that when faced with an idea that we reject, we just chalk our opponent up to being a nut job. Oh you saw the Chupacabra? Ok, kids, get in the car.

This is not to say that I believe in everything, but I do hope in most things. For example, I find the existence of Big Foot to be highly believable, while I find mermaids to be less likely. I don't have anything legitimate to base that off of other than my own child-like rationale. But I do hope for the existence of mermaids, because how badass would that be! Little water people. It's fun to think about.

Similarly, I believe in demons, but I hope I'm wrong about that shit. Because that's not very fun to think about. Developing a friendship with a mermaid = fun. Being terrorized by a demon = I want my mommy.

A few years ago a friend of mine suggested I watch the Walking Dead. I made fun of her to her face for watching a dumb show about zombies. Because everybody knows that can't happen. But because I trusted her taste in programming, I checked it out anyway. Let's just say after several episodes, when I went outside to smoke, I was a little more aware of my surroundings, if you know what I mean. It's an interesting idea to consider, and even though I don't find it likely, I have nothing to base my opposition off of because what the hell do I know anyway?

Besides that fact, what harm comes in believing something may, in fact, be possible? Blaise Paschal said it best (and this can apply to anything):

"Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists."

So while I think the probability of a zombie trying to eat my face off later is low, I will be prepared for that possibility because I will have lost nothing and gained everything.

Most people think I'm a weirdo, and I'm good with that. The average person doesn't want to talk about the possibility of aliens, because OH NO what would people think about them! Nope, they wanna discuss how much they saved at WalMart, or how the fat free kind tastes just like the original (nuh uh), or how there's no substitute for diet and exercise (uh huh). Yes, let's sit around and puke rivers of conventional thought all over each other while I secretly drown in your pedestrian abyss.

My son asked me if I believe in ghosts. I told him yes. "Well", he haughtily proclaimed, "I've never seen one", to which I replied, "That's OK sweety. They can see you."