Wishful Thinking

No. 54 - 15th October 2017

When I was child, I can remember desperately wanting a wrist watch. But my parents weren’t very keen on the idea. They thought I would just lose it. I mean, how ridiculous is that? So I want the local market and bought a plastic one to show that I knew how to look after a watch and not lose it. Well, I don’t know if worked, but I got my real watch for Christmas and I was delighted with it. After the holidays, I went back to boarding school, proudly wearing my new watch. I can’t remember how long it took, but sure enough, I lost it. I didn’t dare tell my parents, so I just kept quiet about it. When it was finally time to go home again for the holidays, my dad came to meet us off the train, and one of the first things he said was, “Why aren’t you wearing your watch?” I went very quiet. And then he said “Oh, of course. It’s in the drawer at home”. I could hardly believe my ears, and all the way home I was hoping against hope that somehow, by some miracle, I would find the watch in that drawer at home. Perhaps I had only imagined taking it to school with me. Of course, when we got home and there was no watch in the drawer, the truth was out. All that hope was just wishful thinking.

In the introduction to a later edition of The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins, wrote, “If something is true, no amount of wishful thinking will change it.” Which of course, is very true. But he wasn’t talking about a little boy who had lost his wrist watch, he was talking about a young woman whose whole belief system had been shaken by his book with its rather despairing conclusions. As far as Dawkins is concerned, the cosmos has no meaning at all, and for the young woman, that meant that life has no meaning, and she couldn’t bear the thought.

It’s fashionable these days to think that religion is just wishful thinking, a meaningless escape from reality, and that actually science holds the real truth. Well, ultimately, time will tell. I mean, was everything that Jesus said and did just an illusion? Or is He the ultimate truth. By rising from the dead with a new, physical body, and presenting himself to his many followers, He proved to them that he was alive, and that there is life after death. Now, that is reality. It’s not just wishful thinking.

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