The Prove It To Me Society


Life is, in a very real way, an act of faith—but not an irrational faith driven by feelings.

An excerpt from this article:

In the 1993 movie “The Man Without a Face,” Justin McLeod, a disfigured ex-teacher who had been tutoring a troubled boy throughout the summer for a military entrance exam, has been accused of physically abusing a former student. Chuck Norstadt, the boy preparing to go to the military academy, confronts McLeod, wanting to know if the accusation is true.

McLeod doesn’t answer him. Instead he tells him to “Think, Norstadt, reason! Have I ever abused you? Did I ever lay a hand on you of anything but friendship? Could I? Could you imagine me ever doing so?”

Norstadt replies, “Just tell me you didn’t do it, I’ll believe you.”

McLeod refuses: “No, no sir! I didn’t spend all summer so you could cheat on this question.”

Reason, logic, looking at the deeper truths, putting all the information you’ve gathered and experienced together and forming a reasonable conclusion: that’s what McLeod had been teaching Norstadt. To think. The young boy assumed he was being tutored just to learn information he could regurgitate on a test, but that wasn’t McLeod’s goal. He knew Norstadt needed more, not just to pass the test, but to succeed in life. He needed to think with a reasoned and informed mind.

Data Can’t Think For You

Insightful and intuitive, McLeod knew life isn’t about living by so-called proofs or simply trusting authorities—the “experts.” Our journey in this world isn’t one solely of scientific inquiry with technocrats dictating the rules. “Just the facts, Ma’am,” isn’t sufficient. Life is, in a very real way, an act of faith—but not an irrational faith driven by feelings. It is, or should be, a reasoned faith based on a moral and rational foundation deeply rooted in human nature.

People want some expert with a ‘scientific’ study to tell them what to believe.

McLeod wasn’t going to let Norstadt cheat on the test of life, because it was only through using his own mind, factoring in all that he had personally observed, reading between the lines, if you will, that he would know the truth. Norstadt wanted to take the easy route. He didn’t want to think. McLeod wasn’t going to let him get away with that, even when his own reputation was on the line.

Our modern society is made up of too many Chuck Norstadts. People don’t want to think. They want some expert with a “scientific” study to tell them what to believe. If only they find the right person with the acceptable expertise, they will believe what they’re told; they’ll know the truth. They want the “facts,” and they have little patience with gathering all the information available to them—including their own common sense—and reasoning it through to form a sound conclusion. They just want to plug something into the search engine, sift through the results until they find something, anything, that backs up their presuppositions, and then they spit it back out as “proof.” They even proudly call this a healthy skepticism.

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