How fascinating that some of us will believe what we want to believe no matter what facts stare us in the face. We find ways to justify beliefs we want to keep.
A friend of mine is a stanch conservative. Let’s call him Kenny, Kenny Conservative.
According to Kenny, conservatives can do no wrong. Recently I mentioned how U.S. President George Bush lied about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction. Kenny said that I was wrong because Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. I said that they never found the weapons of mass destruction, and Bush had lied to justify invading Iraq.
“Just because they never found them doesn’t mean that Hussein never had them,” said Kenny. “Bush never lied. The liberal media twisted the facts.”
I could not believe what I heard, but Kenny was serious.
In Kenny’s world, there are no grays or uncertainties. Things are either black or white, good or bad, right or wrong. Conservatives are always right and good; liberals are always wrong and bad.
Kenny worships Rush Limbaugh. If Rush Limbaugh said that the moon was made of red cheese, then Kenny would believe that the moon is made of red cheese. Any scientific proof showing otherwise would be “a plot by the liberal media to discredit Rush Limbaugh.”
Another example of Kenny’s rational thinking concerns God and afterlife. Kenny says that there is no God or afterlife. During one of our discussions, I asked Kenny, “What if a scientist produced scientific proof of God and an afterlife? Would you accept this scientific proof?”
“No,” said Kenny.
“Because,” said Kenny, “the scientist would be wrong.”
“How is he wrong if he produces scientific proof?”
“The scientist is wrong because there is no God or afterlife, and the scientist cannot prove what does not exist.”
Kenny makes me ask, “Do I twist truth to fit my beliefs?” I probably do. But unlike Kenny, I am not afraid of uncertainty or life’s gray areas.
Although he would never admit it, Kenny trembles with fear behind his rigid beliefs.