A public figure recently called a public official “extreme” for his religious views. I told you about that a couple days ago. In the aftermath of that incident, another public figure referred to this public official and all who share his same active faith have a “mental illness”. Specifically, she said anyone who believes God speaks to them (which is a basic Christian belief; all Christians believe God has spoken and still speaks to them, at least in a general way if not a specific one) has a mental illness.
Once again, it isn’t important who that public figure is. She apologized for her comments, which means she should be forgiven. I wouldn’t want to go after her all that hard even if she didn’t apologize; that’s not my way and I don’t see much value in it. Jesus didn’t attack the Samaritans who opposed Him on His way to Jerusalem, and I don’t believe we His followers should attack those who oppose us.
But I do think we should answer their objections. There is a different between attacking a person and answering an objection. And this person did put forth an objection, whether she meant to or not. She made an assertion. She stated an idea that I have heard many public and private figures state before, the idea that faith is insanity, that a person has to be crazy to have faith at all and has to be really crazy to have an active, “hearing from God” faith.
What those who put forth this objection fail to realize, though, is that they are operating on an assumption. They are operating on the assumption that their way of life or set of values is sane or normal. They are operating on the assumption that their “religion” is the right one (and indeed, everyone has a religion, something they worship, something they serve and sacrifice for; I see the “non-religious” people of my neighborhood worshiping at the Temple of Starbucks or the Shine of the Mall everyday; I see them pursuing and indulging in their creature comforts as if they are spiritual rites). This objection hinges upon that assumption and can only be valid if that assumption is valid.
And the assumption is not valid. The way of life/set of values/religion of the non-believing society is not the sane one. It is the insane one. I have one good argument for that truth right here:
Ok, that’s a rather questionable source, but it is a valid idea.If this life, these 80 or so years (which are not guaranteed but could be cut short by any number of freak illnesses or accidents or acts of violence), is all we have, then is working the majority of those years sane? Is working out to maintain health and appearance sane? Is buying and selling sane? Is getting all the attention on social or other media you can and “trying to be a superstar like everybody else” sane?
I don’t think so. And it isn’t just me. It isn’t just the crazy guy from Con Air, either. It is some rather smart people, people like Leo Tolstoy. In his book A Confession, Tolstoy asks this question:
The implied answer is, “No.” That is the answer he was implying there. That is the answer I give that question as well. If death is all there is, then there is no meaning to life. There is no meaning to our creature comforts, no meaning to the attention we manage to get, no attention to the “good” things we do (or think we do). There is only survival, and there is precious little meaning to that.
What the non-believing society presents as normal (or, to be as fair as I can possibly be, what it seems to me that it presents as normal) is not normal at all. Sucking up all the pleasure you can in the few decades you have is not sane. I don’t think it is truth, either; I think God and the eternal life He promises is truth. But even if it were true, it would not be sane. It would be insane by any measurement.
The objection that anyone who lives in a different way from this “normal” is mentally ill, then, is not a valid objection. It is not logically consistent, and even if it were it would result in a great deal of misery. My opinion, then, is that it is not the people who live by faith and hear from God who are insane. It is the people who live by flesh and ignore God who are insane. The life lived apart from God or with no zeal for God is the real crazy one.