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Well, When You Say It Like That…

“A technician’s job is to find glitches, so he sees glitches. Your job is to find the enemy, so you see the enemy. Locals believe in spirits, so they see spirits. Everyone’s biased.”
| Dec 14, 2016 | 5 comments |

Image copyright Netflix

I recently watched a new movie on Netflix called Spectral. It has been accurately described as Ghostbusters meets Black Hawk Down. Military forces in a war-torn Eastern European wasteland are besieged by entities that look and act like ghosts, and kill on contact. It was a fun movie with lots of action and decent special effects, though the big revelation at the end pushed even my generous suspension of disbelief over the edge.

There is one scene where several characters are discussing what these ghost-like anomalies might actually be. One guys says, “A technician’s job is to find glitches, so he sees glitches. Your job is to find the enemy, so you see the enemy. Locals believe in spirits, so they see spirits. Everyone’s biased.” That moment made me stop and ponder the simple yet monumental truth in this statement. We see what we want to see.

Not only that, but we denigrate the other options that conflict with our worldviews. Consider the problem of the spectral assailants. One soldier could say to another, “You mean to tell me that spirits of dead people are walking around, killing our guys?” The other soldier could respond by saying, “Oh, so you believe that our enemies have discovered an active camouflage cloaking device that makes them invisible to the naked eye and most middle-spectrum light?”

Anything can sound ridiculous if you phrase it a certain way. After all, only an insane person would strap themselves into a metal container with dozens of gallons of combustible fuel which is constantly exploding right at their feet and hurl themselves down the highway at fatal speeds, mere feet away from similar contraptions being driven by people prone to any number of distractions. Or perhaps they are just driving their cars to work, as hundreds of millions of people do every day without incident. I came across an amusing meme on social media. It read, “Christianity: The belief that some cosmic Jewish Zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree. Makes perfect sense.”

Most people with a high school education know what a “straw man argument” is, and it’s very tempting to paint the other side with a snarky and sarcastic brush. It’s true that everyone is biased, that we see what we want. However, that doesn’t mean we get to insult those on the opposite side of the fence. In the movie Spectral, some believe the anomalies truly are ghosts, while others think they are simply regular people utilizing advanced technology, but the truth ends up being more incredible (and far-fetched) than anyone could imagine. And in that fictional world, it was taken as fact, because it was. There are many insane truth that exist in our real world, and if you are a believer in Christ, then the “Cosmic Jewish Zombie” is as real to you as your own flesh and blood.

When something sounds ludicrous, take a step back. Is it truly ludicrous or is it simply phrased that way? As fans of science fiction, we know that today’s impossible becomes tomorrow’s gadget. And keep an open mind – the truth may shock you.

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CE Martin
Member

I think you meant to say it has been INaccurately described as Ghostbusters meets Black Hawk Down, because Ghostbusters actually has ghosts.

It was a clever line, but Christ isn’t a perception, he’s a fact. I don’t want to see Christ impaled on a cross, tortured for what others, including myself, do wrong. But I do. I don’t want to see millions worshipping false gods and prophets, but I do. That’s not my bias–it’s a fact. There’s only one God, and His son, Jesus Christ, is the ONLY way to salvation and eternal life. As a Christian I can’t say anything else.

Others may be biased by their own (mis)beliefs, but Christians aren’t. We see the Truth, at least when it comes to our King of Kings.

notleia
Guest
notleia

Is it aliens? It’s aliens.

Rebecca LuElla Miller
Admin

Interesting post, Mark. I think for those who become Christians our “bias” has to be that God can do the impossible. Anything that might otherwise seem hard to accept is covered by that fact.

And I think CE has a point about the difference between “biases”–they aren’t all equal. There actually is objective, knowable truth anchored in reality and unaffected by who or how many believe it.

Becky

Tim W Brown
Guest
Tim W Brown

Seeing Christianity portrayed in such a ludicrous fashion – unfair, distorted, flip, and demeaning (not to mention willfully ignorant) – can also make one cautious in accepting flip descriptions of other things, in politics, religion, economics, social issues, etc., etc. Pretty much every aspect of human life is more complex than can be expressed in a ‘meme,’ and pretty much all memes are grotesque distortions (even if made ‘just for fun’ (though to be honest, I think many ‘just for fun’ memes are inspired by just the kind of disdain discussed in the above article)).

Paul Lee
Member

After all, only an insane person would strap themselves into a metal container with dozens of gallons of combustible fuel which is constantly exploding right at their feet and hurl themselves down the highway at fatal speeds, mere feet away from similar contraptions being driven by people prone to any number of distractions.

That is totally bizarre and irrational, but desperate people in desperate times do desperate things. Some people build crude rafts out of tires and try to escape tyranny on the open sea, and other people get in a car and drive to work on any given miserably hellish morning. That is human life as we know it.

And this is a good piece — well put about perspective. It’s almost always possible to turn sarcasm and mockery back on the scoffers. That’s one reason why I try to take everything seriously — or at least I think we should take every person as seriously as possible. Even the alien guy.