What Do You Believe? What Do You Have Faith In?


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Historians, researchers, genealogists, and forensic investigators we are on a hunt for what is true. We have a hierarchy of evidence, a priority. No two pieces of evidence are equal. If two pieces of evidence contradict one another, one always takes precedence over the other based on that hierarchy and not what we want to be true. That is how historians, researchers, genealogists, and forensic investigators work. It should be how all writers work as well, but unfortunately there are writers who will print anything as long as they can make a buck.

Most people do not need that level of accuracy, that level of truth. The Titanic sank, it did not have enough lifeboats for everyone, and that is why 1500 people drown. To the historian or researcher searching for the truth (what really happened) that is not good enough. The Titanic did sink and there were not enough lifeboats for everyone. It sank but the people did not drown; they froze to death held above the water by their lifejackets in 31 degree water. The last two lifeboats were not launched from the davits the ship was almost under water there was no time. So the last two lifeboats were cut free and allowed to float off the ship. If there had been more lifeboats (enough lifeboats for everyone) they would be at the bottom of the ocean with the Titanic. And the 1500 people? That is only an approximation, we will never know the exact number.

There are also things we may never be able to prove. Micro evolution is a truth. Darwin found a cold blooded reptile that adapted to its environment and learned how to swim to catch fish to eat. Iguanas do not swim, but they do on the Galapagos Islands, Darwin saw them and you can too. Macro evolution is a theory – one species can evolve into another species. People are descendent from apes. Nice theory, and it is based on micro evolution, but no proof. Scientist have looked for more than 100 years for the “missing link” but no one has found it. There have been times in the past when it was thought that a missing link was found. However, in each case the new discovery eventually proved to be a forgery.

Another example is the Shroud of Turin. This simple piece of textile has been scrutinized for centuries and never as thoroughly as it was during the 20th century. Unfortunately most of the people who are researching the shroud are not researching it to find out what is the truth. They already had a theory they wanted to be true before they started their research, and their results are tainted.

If you have a theory before you start your research you are not looking for all the evidence you can find so that you may formulate a theory. You already have your theory; you are just looking for evidence that backs your theory. This approach will cause a researcher to ignore accurate evidence because it contradicts the already established theory they have. Basically the researcher who starts with a theory instead of a search for evidence has already decided what the truth is. They are just looking for something to use against the people who disagree with them.

Most of the people researching the Shroud of Turin are in one of two camps. Those who believe in God and feel that if they can prove the shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus then no one can deny that God exists. This group is looking for proof the shroud is genuine. The second group is people who believe that a belief in God is just as ridiculous as a belief in the tooth fairy or boogey man. They are looking for proof the shroud is a fraud. Both groups are friendly to evidence that supports their theory and hostile to anything that refutes their theory. The quality of evidence is only important to these two groups when it is evidence which supports their theory or refutes the opposing theory.

There is a much smaller group of researchers. These are the researchers who are attempting to collect the most accurate evidence on the shroud that is possible so they will eventually know what the shroud is.

While those two primary groups are in their fight over the existence of God (and trying to use the shroud to further their own theory) I came to another conclusion. One day we may actually be able to say beyond doubt that the shroud dates to the first century AD. But we will never be able to say that it is the burial cloth of Jesus. They did blood test and were able to prove the blood is human and discovered the blood type of the blood. They were hoping for DNA, but the samples were too degraded. But what if they did get DNA? What do we have to compare it too? Nothing. So even if the cloth is 2000 years old whose cloth it is will always be a matter of faith.

Which brings me to my next part and two writers whose work I admire, the first is Tim McCanlies.

“Damn if you want to believe in something then believe in it. Just because something isn’t true that’s no reason you can’t believe in it.”

“Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things that a man needs to believe in the most:

That people are basically good

That honor, courage, and virtue mean everything

That power and money, money and power mean nothing

That good always triumphs over evil

That love, true love, never dies …

No matter if they are true or not, a man should believe in those things because those are the things worth believing in.”

(Tim McCanlies – Secondhand Lions)

The next is from Robert Fulghum

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge

That myth is more potent than history

That dreams are more powerful than facts

That hope triumphs over experience

That laughter is the cure for grief

And

I believe that love is stronger than death.”

(Robert Fulghum – Everything I Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten)

Those two writers have written more eloquently that I exactly what I believe. I am going to start believing the sun rises in the west and sets in the east? Of course not. Where the sun rises and sets can be proven scientifically (and with you own eyes). But there are many things that science, legal document, or any other “primary source evidence” cannot prove or disprove.

If you ask me as a writer, researcher, or genealogist if I believe in the Shroud of Turin I will tell you the final evidence is not in.

If you ask me as a dad and a man do I believe the words of Fulghum and McCanlies I will say yes definitely yes!

I believe That people are basically good

That honor, courage, and virtue mean everything

That power and money, money and power mean nothing

That good always triumphs over evil

That love, true love, never dies

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge

That myth is more potent than history

That dreams are more powerful than facts

That hope triumphs over experience

That laughter is the cure for grief

I believe that love is stronger than death.

And – as a man and as a dad

I believe the Shroud of Turin and those other relics are real. Will we ever prove it? The Shroud of Turin, who knows, maybe. Those other relics? Most of them probably not.

But every once in awhile you need to stand up and say “This is what I believe.”

That is part of being a man or a woman that defines us as who we are – those things that we are will to believe on faith and faith alone.

Like you there are things about my life I do not like. But I believe that my life will work out, that what is best for me will come to pass. And I believe that because I have faith.

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One response to “What Do You Believe? What Do You Have Faith In?

  1. Pat Z

    I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge
    That myth is more potent than history

    That dreams are more powerful than facts
    That hope triumphs over experience

    That laughter is the cure for grief
    And
    I believe that love is stronger than death.”

    And I borrowed these from your posting because they affected my spirit the most!