Saturday, May 24, 2008

Belief, Doubt, and UFOs

Foxnews.com loves the attention grabbing headline. Earlier this month we could read about the Mexican UFO story: Spooky Flying Character Has UFO Watchers in Mexico Buzzing.

Now we have: Woman Wakes After Heart Stopped, Rigor Mortis Set In.

The UFO story links to a video of the "UFO". It is a little creepy, but I have to wonder why every picture of a UFO is blurry, from very far away, and lacking in detail. I mean, seriously, can't anyone get a good shot of one? We can get quality photos of Brangelina from 1000 ft away, but we can't have one decent photo, or video, of a UFO?

In regards to the Virginian resurrection woman, that's really awesome--an incredible beat-the-odds, medical miracle story. However, from what I have read, rigor mortis doesn't set in until about three hours after death...actual, physical death...not lack of brain waves, being kept alive by machines kind of death. It would have been nice if they had cleaned that up a bit.

I probably wouldn't have read the story then.

Besides the silly stories, it did get me thinking about belief and doubt. When I read the UFO story, and watched the video, I didn't expect to suddenly be persuaded that there were such things as UFOs. It's going to take more than fuzzy camera work to make me buy that one.

Which made me wonder; what would it take to make me believe something I now consider outrageous? If I stood in a canyon and saw a strange figure seemingly flying from cliff to cliff, what would my first reaction be? Confusion, probably. Skepticism, definitely. Sudden belief in UFO's, doubtful. It would take repeated exposure to unexplainable events to start steering me down that road. My first thought would be that it was a hoax.

In the case of the Virginian woman, my initial reaction to the headline's declaration was shock. After rigor mortis set in? Really? Of course, after reading a few versions of the story, it becomes obvious that rigor mortis had not set in. One of her son's made that statement, not a doctor. That doesn't detract from the fact that something remarkable happened to her. I have less trouble believing the "back from the dead" story then I do the UFO story.

But why is that?

Maybe because I can actually here the words of the "deceased" person on video? Maybe because there are innumerable witnesses, including her doctor, which can attest to what happened. Maybe, because I am a Christian, I am predisposed to believe in resurrection stories?

The UFO incident has witnesses, and video, and "experts"; yet, I give them no credence.

In turn, I started thinking about myself. I haven't prayed much about my cancer diagnosis. I prayed that the surgeries would go well. I prayed for strength, and for my kids; but I never prayed, "Lord, heal me." Perhaps, that is a reflection on my lack of faith. Maybe I don't really believe God heals people.

Part of it is based in not feeling like I need to bargain with God. I have faith that I'm going to be OK in the long run. I also recognize that many holy people have suffered far worse fates than mine. Just recently a well-loved pastor in our area died in a plane crash with his thirteen-year-old son. He was in the prime of his life, serving God as a pastor, and now he and his son are no longer here, leaving behind a wife and five other children.

Also recently, Steven Curtis Chapman, a singer I used to listen to voraciously when I first became a believer, is mourning the death of his five-year-old daughter....who was accidentally killed by her older brother when he was backing out an SUV in the family driveway.

The truth is that tragedy and death are always around the corner. People in China and Myanmar know this well. It is the norm, not the exception.

Not only is this the rule in obvious tragedies, like the ones mentioned, but in the life of every person I know.

On Mother's Day, DH and I were sitting in a Sunday School class at the church we have been visiting. The lesson started off with people listing all the wonderful attributes of mothers--beautiful, caring, supportive, wise--all the Hallmark sentiments. The leader went around the group asking everyone, "What wise instruction did your mother teach you?"

Everyone came up with something, and then it came to me, and I had to be a downer. I said, "Actually, this is the one question I can't answer honestly. My mother loved us, and I love her, but this area was where my parents failed. They didn't give me any wise instruction. That, in itself, became an instruction, I suppose. Even in the lack, there is something to be learned."

I felt bad for a moment after that. Everyone was waxing rosy about mothers and I had to be the naysayer. stupid cynicism. But, something happened. Everyone was nodding their heads. Out came stories about the good aspects of their mothers, hand in hand with stories of fly-swatter smacks, and physical encounters. In one moment this group of people had switched from the superficial talk surrounding Mother's Day, and moved into discussing the real aspects of mothers, children and learning to value the good traits our mothers possessed in spite of their faults, and the power of forgiveness and God in those relationships

Hearing some of the group's stories brought home the realization that every life has some sort of tragedy lurking in the background. We kid ourselves by not naming those tragedies. We give the appearance that everything is normally perfect in our lives, and that the trials we face are exceptions and intrusions.

It's simply not true. Thinking that way frames our lives in an "everything is good except when something goes wrong" mindset. Then, when something does go wrong, we are brought up short by our expectations of uninterrupted, peaceful living.

On the other hand, recognizing that life is always filled with disappointments and tragedy for everyone, can make us more thankful for the blessings we do have. I am not saying we need to be pessimistic in order to be optimistic, but that we need to be accepting of the fact that living is not easy. The longer you live the more likely something bad is going to happen to you. So, don't be surprised! :-)

I don't think I would make a very good motivational speaker.

One more example:

A few years ago, I read an article highlighting a local pastor and his church. It was in a weekly column that would focus on a new church/synagogue/place of worship each week. This particular article was spent interviewing the pastor on his background, experiences, and direction of his church.

In the interview he made a statement something like this,"Well, I've never had to face some of the problems that many people have. I have a happy family. We are doing well. God has blessed us." That statement stuck with me and troubled me. How can someone minister to people without understanding the struggle that life is? How can someone go that far in life and really say nothing bad has ever happened to them? Was it dishonesty? Was it a lack of self-awareness, or a lack of awareness of those around him? I wasn't sure, but it bothered me.

A year later he cheated on his wife and had to resign from his church, causing suffering for himself, his family, and his church.

As I remembered the earlier interview, it saddened me.

I've rambled quite a bit now, and I can't even blame the pain meds. I guess I'm just trying to work out what it is that I really think about what's been happening to me and my family--to lay out what's happening in the gray matter in my skull.

Well...that's enough for now. No need to torture the blogosphere anymore today.

2 comments:

SoD said...

There are many Regional Celestials of many different sect … each traveling of their own Designed FLOATS … Flyers Levitating Of Advanced Technology …. The only Alien-Celestial are those that travel from abroad through distance dark space who are unrelated to the many sect already associated with this planet ….

But there are indeed the countless Extra-Celestials who hold residence up and outside this Seventh Universal Plane of endless darkness ….

Regional Celestials have been secretly apart of this planet’s activities since early surface evolution … And now because of failing power Facilities of their unorthodox advanced technology, many things hidden will at first gradually come into view as they struggle uselessly to reestablish their cloaking abilities … and many things once elevated in secrecy by their unorthodox power facility, Will fall from place … the effects of this spill-over has been referred to as the opening of seven seals ….

A ‘once celestial’ people will walk as surface dwellers …..

I am just an Old Soul passing through, given something important to say …

I write so that Walkers of the Good Faith will not be left uninformed in these matters in this new UFO era that now approaches ….http://sod2008.com … evelynseedofdavid@gmail.com

terri said...

I see. Thanks for clearing that up. ;-)