Maybe my most flexible and most treacherous talent is my ability to convince myself that, in any and every situation, I am at least partially right. I hate being hurt by someone else’s mistakes, but hate even more to admit my own. Why? I really am not sure. All too often, I am painfully aware of my feelings but can only guess at exactly what makes me I feel the way I do. And this, too, bothers me – why do things always have to be so complex? Because my head and heart are wired for more than just enjoying steak and driving fast and making out. That’s not a groundbreaking announcement; I’d bet it all that you’ve felt this way too.
Why do we feel like this? And why do we pretend this feeling is less real than the foolish thoughts we entertain? Well, humans aren’t perfect…we all die and makes mistakes and so forth – I can handle that idea. At least I can until I get sick or do something less than perfect and want to weasel out of it. Who came up with this right versus wrong garbage? I did my best and that was awfully good, but here I am getting hosed again. I thought there was a God but why does he have me puking when cokehead Billy next door is meaner than me and didn’t catch the flu? In no time at all here I am with all kinds of reasons for saying “screw it” and going on as if my shifty feelings of right and wrong are the best I can do. I don’t need evidence – I’ve got bad experiences that tell me the world sucks, so I’d better stick to looking out for myself.
But nearly as often as I’d like to doubt all else and hold on to my rationality, I get the impression there’s something bigger that I should be holding onto instead. These feelings don’t fit with the rest of my picture. In fact, when I help someone or am helped by someone or fall in “love,” it’s like the focus of my lens auto-zooms away from me and onto a different image altogether. As often as I’ve been wrong, I wonder if maybe the pain I’ve experienced is truly due to everything being crap or instead is simply a product of others being almost as self-centered as me. It’s a question that even on a bad day I have trouble shaking, and one that on good days tugs at my pessimistic side and roars at my brain for some answer.
Now I come to school and find myself in a pre-med science course on genetics and the evolution of species. Its lack of real rational, scientifically proven fuel stuns me. How did you say we got here? Millions of years of random mutations that started for no reason on sea-foam and/or mud? The part of me that believes in God and feels the real weight of love chuckles at how preposterous this is. Even my coldly logical but proud brain tells me its incomprehensible workings did not come from luck and a smart monkey somewhere along the line pushing a big, dumber monkey out of a tree. Basic polymers plus the perfect environment plus a whole lot of chance do not add up to thousands of species of animals and one distinctly different creature at the top…animals with complex thoughts and feelings had to come from somewhere special. A gorilla that can do sign language and chimps digging with sticks are pretty sad proof that we’re only another link in an intricate but meaningless chain.
Here at last is a source of progress. We sometimes imagine that faith in God is shaken out of the rational tree, so to speak, without considering that there is no more evidence against God than there is for Him. With this in mind, why does the college community seem so anti-religion, and against Christianity in particular? Someone might tell you it’s because the traditional (which in and of itself has become a bad word amongst educated people) American childhood is a brainwashing process whose spell is broken once we get into the “real world” we’ve heard so much about. But all political correctness aside, I wonder what percentage of college students nationwide have stopped to honestly consider the weight of Jesus versus self. Self-righteous professors and the stupid media hint constantly at the silliness of Christianity, and bad impressions from imperfect Christians tip the scales – ‘nope, I’ve seen enough, that Jesus business is not for me.’ Is faith in God un-cool because people seriously think about it and find it makes no sense, or because we do what’s easier and pretend our own way is best?
My bias towards Christianity will not let me overlook the grossly overestimated brainwashing argument. How much time have I spent praying and reading the Bible, opposed to the amount of time I’ve spent watching moral-free TV or listening to the dirty radio? If I weigh my hours spent focusing on God against my hours doing otherwise, I see that if anything has been leeching off my ability to think for myself, it’s the screwed-up world. I don’t understand everything about human life or the universe that surrounds it…but neither does anyone else. When I’m being honest I see it’s the worldly thoughts that wreck my healthy relationships and my own mistakes that get me hurt in the first place. Aren’t these bumps and bruises what originally led me to doubt the standards that, if I’d followed them better, would have served me well? Now what is it that makes doubt so “rational,” exactly?
Or instead, look at it another way – I listen to a lot of rock, alternative rock, and punk music, which typically is not the most romantic sort of stuff. Yet while past mistakes have made me seriously cautious, CDs full of broken-hearted lyrics and angry guitar jamming do not shake my feeling that some day I’ll find true love in a relationship deeper than fun times or commitment with an expiration date. Could you suggest that this idea of love springs from watching romantic movies for days on end – long enough to counter the time I’ve spent listening to anti-girl music? How many hundred exposures would I need to Beauty and the Beast for that argument to make sense? But maybe by now you’d rather not think, and will shrug me off as an idiot instead. If you’re realistic you’ll call the thing an emotion that leads you to react so strongly. Where do you think that emotion came from? Nature?