This post was originially published back in January of 2010. In light of our recent conversations about how changes in faith affect relationships, I thought this would be an appropriate re-post. More to come tomorrow and Saturday!
One of my favorite scenes from the TV show “Lost” occurs down in the hatch, between John Locke and Jack Shepherd.
Arguing about whether or not to press the infamous button on faith alone, John demands, “Why do you find it so hard to believe?” to which Jack furiously responds “Why do you find it so easy?”
It’s a classic moment in Lost history because it perfectly encapsulates John and Jack’s characters, and because it points to a predicament to which we can all relate: Some of us really struggle to accept things on faith, while others seem to find it easy.
And occasionally we get on one another’s nerves.
For example, I relate more to Jack in the sense that I’m a skeptic. I think critically, challenge authority, and ask tough questions about my faith. Many of my friends,on the other hand, rarely wrestle with doubts about Christianity, and can’t seem to understand why I would.“Why do you find it so hard to believe?” they ask.“Why do you find it so easy?” I want to shout.
There are several reasons why their confidence bothers me.
First of all, deep down I’m jealous of the fact that they don’t lie awake at night worrying if everything they’ve been taught is a lie, if God is good, or if He exists. I hate to admit it, but I envy their certainty and serenity.
Second, I’m perplexed because the things that move me to ask questions—disasters like the one in Haiti, religious pluralism, heaven and hell, science, poverty, injustice—don’t seem to bother them like they bother me, and I (unfailry) wonder if it’s because they are less compassionate or less intelligent than me. I wonder sometimes if they are in denial, if they’ve checked their brains and their hearts at the door in the name of blind obedience and easy peace.
And third, there’s that nagging fear that the John Lockes of this world relish in the opportunity to judge me for my lack of faith. We all have the tendency to return judgment with judgment, so the moment I feel vulnerable to attack, I put on the armor of resentment and pride and inform my perceived enemies that they’ve got it all wrong, that my faith is actually stronger than theirs because it can stand the test of scrutiny while theirs remains weak and unchallenged.
Clearly, my frustration with those who find it easy to believe has more to do with my own insecurities and fears than it does with them.
Perhaps this goes both ways. Perhaps the John Lockes of this world don’t find it as easy to believe as I think, and they get frustrated with me because my questions don’t make it any easier.
After all, John ends the conversation with, “It’s never been easy.”
So, to whom do you relate the most—Jack or John? Do you find yourself frustrated with the people who find it hard to believe or frustrated with the people who find it easy?