Believing the Unbelievable

Yay Jesus! I’ve always enjoyed Easter, not just because of the chocolate eggs or the people in freaky Easter Bunny costumes (and there were tons of them out today). I guess more fundamentally, since the resurrection is one of the cornerstones of my faith, Easter is a good time to reflect on what I believe in and what my faith means to me.

A few months ago, in the tense closing minutes of a Grey’s Anatomy cliffhanger that found its title character flatlining on a hospital bed, fellow intern Izzie Stephens (Katherine Heigl) begins a long and rambling diatribe. Underscored by a soundtrack designed to tug at a viewer’s heartstrings, she says “I believe in the good… I believe that believing we survive is what makes us survive.” She adds, “I believe that if I eat a tub of butter, and nobody sees me, the calories don’t count.”

At the time I found it somewhat annoying to hear Izzie’s seemingly unsolicited declaration of beliefs, especially while her friend was literally dying in the next room.

But that got me thinking about the notion of beliefs. It got me to thinking about how these days we can easily skate by through life without thinking about what we believe in. And it got me to thinking about how, especially in a politically correct world, many of us choose to hide what we believe, whether it’s our faith or our politics or what we think the role of the federal government in higher education should be.

Now, I want to make a distinction here, because I’m just about as against as proselytizing as anyone. And there are certainly those who use the bully pulpit to try to scare the hell out of people. They’re the ones who give Christianity a bad name. (My take? It rarely works. I tried it when I was younger, and telling people they’re going to hell doesn’t really get people closer to God, nor does it embody the kind of faith I think we’re called to profess.)

But nowadays, I think there are so few who know what their beliefs are, much less stand up for them.

Early Christians encapsulated their beliefs in a bold, public statement that would later be known as the Apostle’s Creed. Even now, many Christian faith traditions use the Apostle’s Creed as a reminder of their fundamental beliefs.

I think regardless of people’s faith tradition, we all ought to know what we believe in—whether it’s believing in God or aliens or that the Red Sox can win another World Series in the next five years. When it comes down to it, do you know what you believe?

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