Posted by: Jim | April 18, 2012

Belief as a Means to an End

Last night my significant other pointed out something about Chemtrails. For those of you who don’t know, the Chemtrails conspiracy theory purports that mind-control agents are being tossed out of jets at high altitude. The evidence of this activity is the “mysterious” white cloud you see behind jets as they pass overhead. Whether you believe the theory or not, once you hear it, you never see contrails the same way.

But the point made was that if people really believed the Chemtrails conspiracy, why aren’t they wearing gas masks? If the mystery gas is a mind control agent or a poison, wouldn’t it behoove us to protect ourselves? If they really believed it, wouldn’t they take action? Yet they don’t. I’ve yet to see a single believer in the chemtrails theory wearing a gas mask or even a dust mask to protect themselves.


The answer is that they don’t really believe it. However, by convincing themselves that they believe it, they can accomplish some other goal that appeals to them. For the Chemtrails folks, it makes them feel good to have “inside knowledge,” or to have another reason to believe that the government is evil. By believing that the government is evil, it exonerates any number of other things the believer might do, like lying on tax returns. “After all,” the justifier may claim. “They’re lying to me, why shouldn’t I lie to them?” Belief is often just a means to an end.

So people can claim to believe things that they don’t really believe. The same holds true with religion. People can think they believe that I will go to hell when I die, but if they really believed it, and they gave two shits about me, they would be working day and night to convince me to accept Jesus as my savior.

But they don’t.

It’s not because they don’t love me (how could they not?). It’s that the actions required to really believe actually outweigh their own conviction. It’s tough to wear a gas mask day and night, and if you wore one to work, everyone would think you were a complete kook. And they would be right.

But they’d be a kook whose conviction I could respect.



  1. Hi Jim,

    That’s a thought provoking question, and one that I’ve actually been struggling with recently. I’ll say right up front, I’m a follower of Christ, but (especially recently) I’ve been struggling with the concept of hell. It seems so arbitrary that during our brief time here on earth, if we take the “blue pill” instead of the red one, we get to spend eternity in heaven, but otherwise we burn forever in torment. You’re right. If I truely believed that, then I would do everything in my power to try and convince people that they need to “take the blue pill”.

    But really, it’s about more than just a pill, isn’t it? It’s about a relationship. A friendship. God loves you and wants desperately to have you reciprocate His love. However, he loves you so much that he gave you the freedom to choose. So even when we make decisions that he know’s are going to lead us into hurt and pain, he allows us to do it. Because he loves us.

    If your friend was going to walk over a cliff, and insisted on doing it in spite of all your protests, would you let them? Or would you lock them up for their own safety? By your logic above, the right course of action would be to lock them up for their own safety but in doing so you take away all their freedom, and essentially just transfer them from one demise to another. At some point, if you really want them to be free, you have to let them go.

    So, just because nobody is locking you up and hitting you over the head with a Bible until you “believe”, don’t assume that Christians don’t care. Many do, and more importantly, God does. But you still have the freedom to choose.

  2. Hi James,

    To quote Inigo Montoya, regarding love “I do not think that word means what you think it means.” My best friend tried to kill himself once and made me swear I wouldn’t call the police to stop him. I loved him, so you know what I did? I called the police. He lived to see another day, and thanked me later.

    So do you not believe in hell then?

    • Hey Jim,

      I’m sorry to hear that my comments hit kinda close to home. It’s not my intention to bring up a hurtful topic and I’m really glad you were able to help save the life of your friend. If you’ll indulge me, what would have happened if your friend had continued in his insistance to kill himself? It sounds like he changed his mind on the whole subject, resulting in his salvation from death. Couldn’t the same be true of those who turn from their rejection of God and pursue a relationship with Him?

      I believe that the consequence of choosing to reject God is eternal separation FROM him. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that there would be few fate’s worse than coming to the end of your life and finding out that God actually does exist and lives in eternal glory with those who loved him here on earth yet being completely separated from him.

  3. So, you believe all the Biblical accounts of hell just a metaphor then?

  4. I would say they’re a human attemt to describe something so horrible that it’s difficult to describe in human terms. Is it a real, physical fire somewhere that people get thrown into? I have no idea. It seems unlikely that a spirit (what I assume we are after we die) is capable of being injured by a physical fire. Does hell exist as a real place of torment whether by fire or separation from God or otherwise…? Absolutely, and not something to be considered lightly. We’ve strayed somewhat from the topic though.

    Being that there are no cosmic “police” I can call (that I’m aware of 😉 ) to convince you not to continue rejecting the existance of God, I’m left with either A) resorting to personal violence (proven NOT to be particularly effective as seen by the Crusades or jihads) or B) continue to engage with you conversationally to try and convince you that God DOES exist, and loves you and wishes you would turn back to him. At the end of the day though, it’s still up to you. It’s a decision that each one of us has to make personally and individually. It cannot be made for us, cannot be forced and cannot be faked.

  5. So, you don’t think The Bible is 100% literally true?

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