I’m comfortable with that

I’ve heard people dismiss a discussion on spiritual things by asserting that they’re “comfortable” with their religious beliefs. Which is fine, unless that is the primary basis for them. In other words…truth is relatively unimportant; I choose what to believe based on my personal preferences.

If we applied that kind of criterion to other objects of faith, we would have conditions and situations like these:

I’m more comfortable believing that I have a $1,000 checking account balance. Try using that defense with the bank manager when you attempt to persuade him or her to refund the $390 in NSF fees because your balance was actually $27.50.

Despite her complete lack of attention to me, I choose to believe my attractive employee finds me equally attractive because that makes me comfortable. Will your beliefs make any difference when she sues you for sexual harassment?

I really love sweets so I find the belief that consuming loads of sugar daily will not negatively affect me more comfortable than what multiple studies have shown. The fact that I am listless, obese, and at risk of a coronary must be purely genetic.

Can you imagine your boss’s reaction on Tuesday when you explain that you didn’t show up yesterday because you are more comfortable believing every Monday is a holiday? Or if you told your spouse you choose to believe adultery is perfectly moral and acceptable because you’re comfortable with that? How about defending your more comfortable belief in a tax-less society to the IRS agent?

If we understand our need to ground our non-religious beliefs in truth, does it make any sense to be little concerned with it when it comes to matters of eternal significance? Can we even properly identify them as beliefs if they’re not based in truth, or at least what we honestly perceive to be true? I think not. I would call them instead a constructed fantasy framework designed and built to support opinions and behavior that we find personally preferable.

A belief system built on anything other than truth may offer some temporary support, but it will ultimately collapse and fail. Truth is the only sure foundation. False preferences are shifting sands.

This post was originally published in January, 2015.