Belief and Unbelief

Belief is hard. Disbelief is easy.

I’ve been following SpaceX for a very long time. Many people didn’t think they’d ever launch anything. Then many thought landing rockets was impossible. Others doubted they’d ever make any money. At each step, each new thing they tried, there was a division between those who believed and those who didn’t.SpaceX has now successfully landed their first stage boosters 57 times; they have reused those boosters (that is launched and landed and then relaunched) 39 times, with a couple of the boosters having been reflown up to 5 times.

Elon Musk, SpaceX’s CEO, is today the 10th richest man in the world. SpaceX just took people to and from the space station. It’s the first time Americans have flown on an American spaceship from American soil since 2011.And yet there remain those who think it is a scam. You can find YouTube videos of people claiming it is all just cgi. Sort of like those who try to say the moon landing never happened. As if there was only one moon landing. Forgetting, or perhaps not knowing, that 12 Americans have walked on the moon. The US landed people on the moon not once, not twice, but six times between 1969 and 1972.

There are those who insist that the Earth is flat and prefer to imagine that all the images and videos of a round Earth are fake.

Some people reject vaccinations as hazardous. They don’t believe in modern medicine.

There are those who believe that 911 didn’t really happen, that it wasn’t planes flown by terrorists who took down the twin towers, but instead a nefarious government plot involving explosives.

Pretty much everything, no matter how obvious, will have those who reject reality and substitute their own, no matter how crazy, no matter how much harder it often is to reject the truth.

And so it should not surprise us that there are those who refuse to believe the Good News that Jesus died for our sins. Or who will refuse to believe that salvation is by grace alone, by faith alone, by Christ alone and that it is free and requires no contribution or help from them. Instead, they prefer to think that they have to work to maintain their salvation.

That atheists exist should not surprise us at all.

It is not startling that some people refuse to accept the resurrection of Jesus. It is to be expected that there are human beings who do not believe in the afterlife.

Why do people reject the truth, even when it is obvious? What makes someone decide the moon landings didn’t happen? What makes someone an atheist?

Why do people buy into odd conspiracy theories?

Because they find comfort in the “alternative” explanations of reality. The truth is usually hard. The truth is often painful. The truth is not always comfortable. Let’s not pretend otherwise. And there is comfort in postulating the alternatives. Lies can be very sweet and tasty.

When Jesus was alive on earth, some people believed him and it changed their lives. Some people believed, and they didn’t want to change their lives. And most people just didn’t believe.

Because that’s what they wanted. And what people want often trumps everything. Even reality.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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