Friday, February 18, 2011

Blind Faith

Everyday we accept things on blind faith. Television ratings, polls, research findings, results of studies, you name it, are almost everywhere we see, hear or read and are accepted as gospel truth.

Yet, many do not accept the Gospel as truth. Disturbing.

Consider Nielsen, Gallup and Pew Research, three major, well accepted, hardly ever challenged services that are quoted all the time.

Gallup, the oldest and mother of all survey companies, is most known for its voter polls. Pew Research measures everything from political preferences to religious behavior. And Nielsen is the only television rating service used by advertisers and stations alike. Trust me, as a former salesman of TV time, they swear by them.

All of them depend on, or should I say, raise to the level of divine revelation, the principle that “a randomly selected, small percentage of a population of people can represent opinions of all if the sample is selected correctly.” It’s called the “Probability Sample ”. That’s their answer to those who ask “how can the opinions or answers of as few as 1,000 people be projected against 300 million people?”

So, why isn’t the gospel always and everywhere accepted as truth? It’s challenged certainly more than a TV rating, a poll or a study.

It’s not my intention nor can I arrogantly assume to discuss the authenticity of Sacred Scripture in so short a space. But, let’s consider just one example of revealed truth in the Old Testament that is a major cause of discussion today: the creation of the world. Those of us who accept the Scriptures-certainly, all Christians-are labeled “Creationists”. (“Well, isn’t that special”, as the Church Lady on Saturday Night Live used to say.)

In Genesis (1-11 ), the description of God’s creating our world is clear and unmistakable. This first book of the Old Testament, like all the others of the entire Bible, was inspired by God. That’s tough for non-believers to accept, many of whom, however, have no problem believing 110 million people watched the Super Bowl. A football game is not as important as the Bible, they may claim, without addressing the issue of accuracy of either.

Let’s take one more example, and this time from the New Testament, the Resurrection of Jesus. That extraordinary miracle proved He was (is) God. The story was reported by St. Paul in his Letters, by Saint Matthew and in the Acts of the Apostles. It is the foundation of the Christian faith. Yet, there are and have been those who contest even that remarkable event. When was the last time you heard or read a lively discussion of the accuracy of television ratings?

While I don’t wish to disparage the ratings or surveys, I simply hope that more of us accept the word of God as revealed in the Bible as we accept those numbers and opinions.

Faith in God’s word as revealed in the Bible is not blind. It is, so to speak, seeing by believing.