It was Friday and I was really hungry for Chinese. I innocently asked a few people I work with to go to the Chinese buffet with me.

They recoiled in horror. “You can’t eat meat on a Friday!”

“Why?” I asked with curiosity.

“Aren’t you Catholic? You can’t eat meat on Fridays during lent.”

“Oh,” I said, while I was thinking, “And why is that?” Honestly, where did that tradition come from?

I am not criticizing Catholics, or the religion. I am just curious where this rule about no meat during lent came from. If it is because they have chosen to believe the veracity of the bible, have done a careful and honest inspection of it, and believe in a verse that says, “Thou shall not eat meat on Fridays during lent,” then that is fantastic. Let them eat no meat all year if they can back it up.

But I have always been curious why Catholics believe they must go to a priest to be forgiven. That is an old Jewish custom, done away with in the New Testament with the New Covenant. It was easy to see why the practice continued, as during the Middle Ages, the priests used it to their advantage to gain wealth, power and prestige (and again, not all priests were so worldly). I shouldn’t be surprised to see that this tradition, over years, has lasted, though it has no basis in fact. I didn’t know about meat during lent though and had never stumbled across that bible verse, so I asked why they believed the rule.

“We have always done it that way. That’s how I was raised.” It sounds absurd to us, that they never questioned this practice, this belief.

Yet, everyday I choose to believe things that I never question. I choose to believe that my heart will continue beating when I wake up in the morning. I choose to believe that the sun will rise and the earth will spin around it. I choose to believe that a glass dropped from the table will break when it hits the floor. I have seen these things happen time and time again, and I no longer question them. They are easy to believe.

I also believe my neighbor, Tom, when he says that tomorrow is going to be 50 degrees and windy. I readily accept this and dress in a sweater and pants. It’s spring, and yesterday was windy and about 50 degrees so it makes sense that tomorrow might follow.

I will believe my wife when she tells me she was at Macy’s with her best friend shopping. I won’t demand to see her receipts and check the times to make sure she was really there. I will do this for my health as well as the health of our marriage!

I also chose to believe CBS’s 60 Minutes when they reported on the Pentagon’s new ray gun. It is a gun that can emit an invisible force of energy that could stop me or a group of people in mid-step. However, the Pentagon doesn’t want to use this futuristic gun because it is hard for them to trust a gun that doesn’t kill. Makes sense I suppose. It is a truly fascinating subject, closer to science fiction than reality, but I believed them because they are a reputable news agency that thoroughly researches each story they choose to air. Shame on me. It turns out the ray gun can kill and kill quite effectively just based on the dial settings of the gun, a fact the Pentagon didn’t want to reveal.

Look at a Survivor’s Erik, who told his fellow tribe members that Dabu would be a good name for their tribe. He told them it meant “good” in Micronesian. They loved it! Only problem is that in the numerous Micronesian languages dabu means nothing at all. He just thought it sounded cool, and they swallowed the whole thing.

Certainly, some accepted truths we have to accept on belief alone. We would go insane if we had to question everything for ourselves, especially the things that are obvious. But some beliefs are better questioned.

Thank goodness Martin Luther questioned the idea that he had to go to a priest to read the bible, rather than reading it for himself. Thank goodness, Thomas Edison got sick of the dim light of his candles and wondered how he might harness the vibrancy of lightning. Thank goodness Henry Ford wondered if he would always have to go 15 mph on his horse and buggy or if there was a better way. These are extreme examples, but don’t we want to be extreme people?

© Seth Crossman