I want to start by saying that I’m not being at all facetious with this post, nor do I intend to be disrespectful, blasphemous, or snidely disingenuous, although I’m sure my commentary will strike some nerves.
For years, in my 20s, I was a mostly-convinced atheist. I admired the few people I knew who were card-carrying versions. I think my lack of belief at that point was due to the heavy proselytizing to which I’d been subjected in younger years. During my few years of church attendance, one of my Sunday school teachers was a fount of what would be called urban legends today, and she spouted them with the same fervor she gave to Bible verses. As I grew older, it all seemed to be highly questionable. Then I began to read the books of Carl Sagan who, while not denying the existence of God, essentially said that the only truths are those which can be reliably replicated using the scientific method. Dr. Sagan avoided direct comments on religion whenever possible, or so it seemed to me. His work made absolute sense to me.
Then I accumulated more life experience, and in doing so, I witnessed some occurrences that couldn’t be explained by staging experiments. Nor, to my mind at least, were they mere coincidences, although I’m sure logical explanations could be posited. In short, at present, I tentatively embrace the existence of an amorphous Something that’s bigger than all of us, even if it’s only Jung’s collective consciousness or overarching Nature.
My prompt for writing this post was a NY Times article I read the other day which discussed some of the beliefs of QAnon followers. Specifically, there was mention of the Nashville bomber’s conviction that shape-shifting alien invaders have killed high-ranking government and corporate leaders and taken their places. These creatures’ natural form, so the belief goes, is that of giant lizards; while they’re waiting to assume leadership positions, they live in Earthly sewers.
I’d venture to assume that, to most inhabitants of our planet, such Lizardman hypotheses are bizarre in the extreme. QAnon supporters are said to number in the millions, however, although many do not believe in all of the theories put forth on the various sites frequented by followers. To come to accept the existence and malevolent purpose of these aliens, of course, one has to get past the obstacles that tend to work against such acceptance; the difficulty of mastering interstellar travel being the most obvious. Nevertheless, QAnon-ers either don’t consider pesky logical restrictions, OR they go whole-hog and buy into the concept that the Lizardmen are indeed capable of navigating from some distant planet.
In the Comments section of the above-referenced article, wherein the possibility of the Nashville bomber’s mental illness was being debated, a reader posted the following:
“You can believe unlikely things and not be mentally ill. Take, for example, every
Christian you’ve ever met.” – James Crawford, Nashville, TN
This short observation stopped me in my tracks. Sure, for most of my life, I had not espoused Christian concepts. But I hadn’t really thought in terms of delusion about the ironclad, unshakable surety that millions of people have about Heaven, Hell, and an omnipotent, omniscient Being. I just put it down to a faith that I don’t share, and left it at that.
Naturally, most Christians were raised in the faith and don’t really question it. As Scarlett said to Rhett, “Oh, there is [a Hell]. I know there is. I was raised on it.” So most Christians will answer that, yes, they do believe in a Father and Son, at least, even absent any proof. But they feel they don’t need scientific proof. Well, neither do QAnon-ers.
In totally objective terms, then, does it make more logical sense to believe in a God out there somewhere, wielding power over all realms, than it does to be convinced that alien lizards are in charge of the U.S. government? Obviously, it’s possible to believe in both, neither, or one or the other, but why? Is it purely a matter of choice or background? In all seriousness, I invite readers to weigh in on my questions. I ask because I, too, am puzzling on the answers.