We are all Superstitious

By Joel A. Hess

A week ago I had the pleasure of enjoying a drink or two with an American hero. Not only had he served this country in Vietnam and other wars, but he was also rewarded with the mantel of leadership in our armed forces. In addition to these achievements, this man was well learned in philosophy, finance, and other sciences. And he was still hungry to learn and master our world. I am confident that if there are any government secrets, he would know them.

Yet to my surprise, somewhere in our conversation his eyes brightened up and he began to talk about the power of mystical healing, psychics who surprised him with what they knew, and the infamous John Edwards who claims to talk to the dead.

At first, it frightened me that someone who had one time had his hand on the global steering wheel believed in magic, healing stones, and horoscopes. Perhaps Alex Jones is right, there is a global alien/spiritual conspiracy. But by the end of our time together, I realized that there was an alternative to the biblical narrative then this fellow would know it. Yet here was this learned man standing in awe of late night TV psychics.

For all our advancements in society, our laptop computers, vaccines, rocket ships, and fast cars, we are really not essentially any smarter than we were 2,000 years ago. We still stare into the same abyss of death with absolutely no answer. We still can’t figure out why we love others, why we do terrible things to one another, why our best friend in 7th grade killed himself. We still don’t live past 100.

We believe in jinxing. We believe in Karma. We think the “universe” cares. Working as a psychic, tarot card reader, essential oils consultant, and Las Vegas oddsmaker can provide a good income. Ultimately, this poor fellow started listening to nutjobs because he couldn’t be cured of illness by modern medicine. Death turns us all into scared little animals who will sacrifice common sense and principles if it means we might live another year.

If you think anything has changed over the past 6,000 years, you don’t know history or humanity. We all tend to be superstitious cavemen.

Many Christians seem to believe that the western or first-world humanity has changed. It has become more sophisticated. It knows things that a first century Palestinian did not. I will bet you that many people sitting in pews think that one day we will create an app that will allow us to live forever, even though there is absolutely no evidence that we have taken even a flinch toward that.

No matter how finely dressed and decorated we are with education and our technology, nothing has changed. We flail our arms in the darkness of our cave, worshiping anything that even resembles a light. It doesn’t take much.

Your people, no matter how well educated, still cry at night over the loss of their mom. They still beat themselves up over their failures.

Don’t be afraid to give them a narrative that certainly isn’t any crazier than the ones they might believe in. Don’t assume they have heard it before. They probably think Christianity is just another religion full of abstract principles and behavior requirements.

Tell them what happened 2,000 years ago. Tell them about God on a cross and an empty tomb.  Tell them that their sins were washed by real blood. Tell them that Jesus’ promises are matched by his own resurrection from the grave. 

Stop staring at tea leaves and counting on luck. There is a God in Israel, and He loves you.

2 thoughts on “We are all Superstitious

  1. Very astute observation. We often wonder how well educated people who seem rational and reasonable on the surface can accept superstition and mystical ideas.. To the hard core atheist and rationalists, we Christians are no better….since we believe in the risen Christ, Our Lord and Savior, and our theology, to these intellectual types, is no better than the beliefs of the Druids. But hey, our convictions are based on God’s words as recorded in the Bible, and our faith. We do not dare approach it purely on logical terms, because the intellectual atheist, while unable to offer an alternative, will skewer us in a debate. But we need not be defensive or apologetic, we believe what we do without reservation, and we will fight the battle for truth. Spiritual warfare is what we are called to engage in, while we still have life and breath. We are as those who came before us, soldiers for Christ.

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