Reality can be hard to deal with at times. Why else would we invent many ways of ‘escaping reality?’
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in the pleasures of escapism. We all need breaks to refresh ourselves from dealing with reality.
But while it’s good to ‘get away’ for a week or two or even just for an evening, we cannot live apart from reality. We were made to live in and deal with reality. In fact, if we don’t, reality has a way of reminding us it’s there. Sometimes that can be a gentle reminder. Other times it can be a bit more abrupt and in-your-face.
Here’s a simple example. If you live in Phoenix, Arizona like I do, you know that hot weather came early this year. Temperatures ranged from the mid- to upper 90s in late March – even peaking as high as 97 degrees.
Now as much as my wife and I didn’t want to, we were faced with having to turn on our air conditioner. It’s late March, we thought. It’s way too early to turn on the air conditioner – even for Phoenix.
But, the reality was it was 97 degrees outside.
So, reluctantly, we turned it on. We had to deal with the fact that it was hot outside even though it was only March 27th. If we chose to ignore reality and keep it off, we would’ve been hot and uncomfortable in our own house. Reality would’ve ‘reminded’ us about the outside temperature.
In short, our belief about what the temperature in late March should be changed nothing in terms of what the temperature really was.
There are many philosophies and religious views out there that give their take on reality. They all say “this is how the world works.” And those views are either true or false.
Getting reality right usually matters because there are consequences if we don’t. And that’s true if we’re crossing the street, deciding to turn on the air conditioner or examining religious claims.
So the question becomes is there a right religious answer?
I would say that there is. Let’s take the question ‘Does God exist?’ It’s a valid question and there are arguments that are made for and against God’s existence. Why think there isn’t a right answer to this question? But as I said, religions offer mutually exclusive views of reality, so they can’t all be right.
For example, is God a personal being or is He an impersonal force? Is there one God or many? When we die, do we simply cease to exist, are we reincarnated or do we go to Heaven? It’s possible all of these views are wrong, but they certainly can’t all be right.
But does it matter if we have the right view? Well, even though there is a diversity of religious views, nothing significant follows from that.
There was a time in history where the shape of the Earth was hotly debated. Does it follow that because there was a diversity of views, there was no right answer and therefore the Earth had no shape? No, of course not.
Reality is not dependent on our beliefs and views. It exists regardless. And because religion is a view of reality, it matters whether you have the right view.
Sincerity isn’t enough.
The question you should ask yourself is are my religious views (or lack thereof) true? If you’re not sure, it might be time for a reality check – before reality sends you a reminder.