published by the Christian Anti-Communists Crusade
124 E. First Street
Long Beach, California
and Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1960
Outstanding among these attitudes is intellectual dishonesty. When the truth is too unpleasant, a natural tendency is to refuse to believe it. As a medical man, I have seen this often. A man of character and intelligence is afflicted with cancer. He knows the symptoms perfectly well, and if he saw them in another, would never have a moment's doubt about the final outcome. When he observes these symptoms in himself, however, a strange thing happens. His characteristic honesty and clarity of judgment disappear. He ignores the central, symptomatic stream, and seizing on peripheral symptoms, builds them into a dream world in which to take refuge while doom advances.
No matter how clear the evidence is, people can always find an interpretation that will allow them to cling to what they want to believe. This is well illustrated by the story of the priest and the rabbi who were driving along the road, the rabbi in front and the priest behind. As they approached the intersection, the rabbi gently stood on the brakes and brought his car to a halt. The priest, however, had been gazing all round the countryside. Noticing at last that he was right on top of the rabbi's car, he jammed on the brakes, but to no avail. He crashed into the rear of the rabbi's car.
The priest and the rabbi were surveying the damage when along came an Irish policeman. After he had examined the wreck and had ascertained the respective owners of the two cars, he was clearly a man in great mental and emotional distress. He found himself in the grip of two simultaneous, conflicting duties, his duty to the Church and his duty to the law. He began to tremble and stammer. Suddenly the answer to his prayer came. The wrinkles left his brow, and a look of confidence and serenity came over his face. He looked sternly at the rabbi, and then, turning to the priest, he asked, "Father, what speed was this man doing when he backed into you?" How often the wish begets the thought. The situation confronting us is dark and fearful. To face the true situation requires courage and honesty. The vast majority of people are quite unwilling to acknowledge the truth, preferring to ignore the evidence, or to select only those facts which will support their preconceived ideas and will not threaten the fulfillment of their desires.
Last modified: Thursday, 31-May-2007 09:41:45 EDT