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.