Wanting To Believe

Yesterday Shirley and I received an email from someone who has sent us abnormally interesting, accurate, stuff in the past. What he sent us this time was rather detailed and seemed plausible. It concerned Lee Martin, Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Rodgers. The story was warm and inspiring. It was the kind of thing we wanted to believe. It was also mostly wrong. Believing the story and wanting to share it, we sent it along to a couple other friends. Luckily, one of them suspected, as we should have, that it the story was full of errors.
Shirley and I are both more than a little skeptical about most things that come our way. Because we liked this story, wanted it to be true and found strong emotional appeal in it and because it came from a usually reliable source, we believed it. We were wrong in doing so. We were wrong in passing it along uncritically. But it does illustrate how the desire that something be true, reinforced by other emotions, can lead one astray. I’m not all that unhappy that the sorry is mostly false. I am unhappy that we fell for it and shared it without giving it a good sanity check. While the origins of faith are complex, the desire that some account be true combined with its emotional appeal are surely important elements in faith.