Creationist Wisdom #336: The Will To Believe

This isn’t the typical letter-to-the-editor written by a maniac in a shack. Instead, it’s a column in the Cleveland Daily Banner of Cleveland, Tennessee, and it’s written by William Wright, that newspaper’s Lifestyles Editor. But the content is very much like the usual letter we see, so we’ll include it in our collection.

The title is Choosing what to believe – How? It’s long and rambling and filled with bible quotes, so we’ll have to skip a lot to give you the good stuff. Here are a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis.

In his book, “The Will to Believe,” Dr. Marcus Bach said, “The most important and most unnoticed quality in the world is the will to believe. It plays a part every time we drop a letter in a postal box or board a plane or do the thousand-and-one routine things that make up our modern life. From the money we bank to the money we borrow, from our hope for a better future to the conviction that yesterday was not without meaning, from accepting the universe to rejecting a weather report, we live in a world built on faith.”

We never heard of Marcus Bach, and if that quote is accurate, we don’t care to hear about him again. On with the column:

Perhaps you have found this to be true? Then again it may still depend on the circumstances. For example, choosing not to believe in gravity could be fatal. Choosing to believe you are invisible would be foolish. But to believe in the general goodness of others is a matter of choice, and what we choose to believe will have an impact on our relationship with others.

This guy is really bouncing around. And it gets worse. Let’s read on:

Believing that the earth is round is a choice. Did you know there is a Flat Earth Society that promotes the idea that the earth is flat? Personally, I believe it is round. While I have never been in outer space to observe the earth’s shape, I do accept the images I have seen of our planet and the history lessons of Columbus and Magellan. It also seems logical that since the sun and the moon are round, the earth probably is as well.

Okay, he’s made a choice to believe the earth is “round.” We assume he means spherical, but we’re not sure. He continues:

More importantly, I accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God. At Isaiah 40:22 it spoke of “the circle of the earth.” — King James Version.

That’s “more important”? Actually, that bible passage refers to a disk, and everywhere else in the bible the world is described as flat. We’ve discussed that and the Isaiah passage in The Earth Is Flat! Here’s more:

But personally, I choose not to accept the theory of evolution. I choose to disregard it as a theory that runs contrary to the truths found in the Word of God. Think about it. If humans evolved from apes then man was never created sinless and in the image of God. [Skipping some bible stuff.] I reject that hypothesis.

Good, huh? Moving along:

I believe life comes from life and all life comes from God. Scientist have yet to prove otherwise. [Bible stuff omitted.] Others choose not to believe this. That is their right. Those who choose to believe in evolution are not convinced by the proof offered by scientists who support intelligent design or creation. Those who choose to believe in creation are not convinced by the proof offered by scientists who promote evolution as a fact. Why? Because both groups are exercising their “will to believe.” They picked a side and are skeptical of any other persuasion.

He’s talking about you, dear reader. You reject “the proof offered by scientists who support intelligent design or creation.” You are exercising your will to believe. His next paragraph is even more amazing:

In spiritual matters one must also choose what to believe, for there are many faiths teaching vastly different things. Most people were born into their “faith” and exercise a “will to believe” without ever examining its teachings. But to take the time to weigh the evidence, reason on the Scriptures and humbly ask for Divine guidance, a person can come to know the truth that sets them free. In this case, a little skepticism may have been helpful. But once you have made the truth your own — that search is over. Why invest time reading material that will tear down your faith and make you skeptical?

Skipping a couple paragraphs of bible quotes, we come to this:

Believing in something in the absence of proof is not faith, but credulity. Skepticism in the face of proof is not a sign of intelligence, but paranoia. Both can be self-destructive. But so is being indecisive. At some point in life everyone must choose to believe in some things and decide how much time they will devote looking into others.

We’re not sure what he just said, but he ends up saying that sooner or later you have to make a choice. Another excerpt:

You cannot believe in everything. You cannot invest time in every notion that comes along. One must choose wisely and then read material that support their belief system. That is a fact of life.

Yes — once you decide to be a creationist, then you should read only creationist websites. Nothing else will do. Here’s how he ends the column:

At a certain point, skepticism and faith end up traveling in different circles. They must, because of the exercise of a “will to believe” whatever you choose. Many see this as the mark of great intellect. I choose to believe that is true.

Wow. Just …wow! It’s scary to see what goes on in some minds.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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6 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #336: The Will To Believe

  1. docbill1351

    The guy’s got to be a Poe! Nobody is that ignorant or stupid, although the article was devoid of humor and that’s the mark of a creationist.

    The author writes,” Believing that the earth is round is a choice.”

    Well, that cinches it! Case closed! We can all go home.

  2. Most people were born into their “faith” and exercise a “will to believe” without ever examining its teachings. This is very true, and children are rarely, if ever, and especially in the fundamentalist camps, given an opportunity to think otherwise.

    I fortunately, have overcome this adversity, I choose to believe in the divinity of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in all his holy noodleness. This is the true path to Nirvana and the land of eternal Pasta.

  3. docbill1351

    Spot on, David. Very few of the faithful take the time to actually read the “articles of faith” for their particular sect and, I think, most would be horrified if not simply disturbed at the crazy. I know lots of Baptists who are not young earth creationists who simply brush off their very own articles of faith that declare the literal interpretation of the Bible. Just brush it off.

    Hey, it’s a social thing but I can tell you from experience I don’t miss those potluck dinners!

  4. Our literally-interpreting Lifestyles Editor forgot to interpret one of his bible verses literally. He quotes from First Timothy: “You needed to warn them to stop wasting their time on senseless stories and endless lists of ancestors.” Where do we get pages and pages of genealogies?

    Paul was telling Tim to stop worrying about what is now called the Old Testament; believers no longer need to obey its laws and rules. It doesn’t take much interpretation to come to that conclusion as he repeats this theme in many of his letters. And of course, biblical literalists heed Paul’s advice and don’t follow most Old Testament laws (except for “gays are bad”).

    But instead we have to believe that when Paul bumped into JC on the way to Damascus, JC was all “Dude, like in 1800 years, evolution, and you know, bad and stuff.” And Paul was like “Evolution? That sounds like a senseless story and I need to warn everybody and whatnot.”

  5. Re “In spiritual matters one must also choose what to believe, for there are many faiths teaching vastly different things.” Teaching? More like requiring, which is why people choose to split of and form another group and another group, and another group, until there are over 20,000 versions of Christianity, for example. Each of them claims the others got it wrong. So much for the “Inerrant Word of God.” This guy seems hopelessly confused with regards to what it means to believe and can’t seem to distinguish between evidence-based “belief” and fantasy-based “belief.”


  6. Carl Sachs

    If I were the ghost or zombie of the great philosopher and psychologist William James (who coined the phrase “the will to believe”), I would return just to afflict this one pathetic columnist for the remainder of his mortal existence.