Extraordinary Claims

… do not actually require extraordinary evidence. This is easily demonstrated. Suppose that the phone rings one afternoon, and upon answering, you are informed by a deep and raspy voice that your wife (or husband) is being held at gunpoint on your front lawn. If you do not repay the money that you failed to repay the local loan shark, she (or he) will be summarily shot.

Suppose, also, that you have been having nightmares about your wife`s (or husband’s) safety for quite some time now, and are in constant expectation that something bad is going to happen to her (or him).

It does not matter that your wife (or husband) is supposed to be off in Mexico, that you have never borrowed money from a loan shark, and that your front lawn is an unlikely place to execute someone in broad daylight over such a petty dispute. It is nonetheless a real possibility, and you will be at your window rather quickly. It is an extraordinary claim, but it is weighted by extraordinary expectations, and extraordinary consequences.

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8 Responses to “Extraordinary Claims”

  1. Yes, the threat of damnation(of some kind) does warrant a look out the window. Thanks, Pascal. ;P

    ~K

  2. The threatening nature of this metaphor was intended more as an illustration of the situation we are in right now, rather than one we should worry about.

  3. I agree, in a cheeky sort of way. You could say I looked out the window for twenty five years.

  4. Here my metaphor falls apart. I should have described the promise of an extraordinary solution out the window (such as a helicopter rescue) to an extraordinary problem (such as the house being on fire).

    In that case, one might say I looked out the window for twenty five years as well. I was not really sure of either of these things. But at the same time as I stopped expecting the helicopter, I smelled the smoke.

  5. I agree that this is a more apt metaphor with regards to Christian notions of soteriology, but are you not still under threat in this case; under duress?

    If life is the house on fire, and salvation is a helicopter, I suppose one should sympathize with the person who never stops to sniff for the holy smoke in the first place. I remember the senseless angst well.

  6. I suppose I’ve never really worried about going to hell, if that’s what you’re referring to. The “house on fire” is the existence that we are in right now. It is not a threat (where a threat refers to something that isn’t happening, but may happen in the future); it is an actuality. To my mind, a lot of people’s beliefs arise from the certainties of life–not the uncertainties of hell.

    Nonetheless, a lot of people seem to be comfortable with this situation we’re in. I generally don’t try to take that away from them.

  7. “To my mind, a lot of people’s beliefs arise from the certainties of life–not the uncertainties of hell.”

    I agree. As a brother-in-law of mine is fond of saying, “What is perceived as true is true in actuality.” Some Christians, perhaps even a majority, would see hell as a certainty for some.

    I must admit I am a bit confused though: are you saying that the house on fire is existence for everyone or you?

    “Nonetheless, a lot of people seem to be comfortable with this situation we’re in.”

    Lost me. Which situation is that?

  8. >>I must admit I am a bit confused though: are you saying that the house >> on fire is existence for everyone or you?

    Depends on how you look at it.

    >> Lost me. Which situation is that?

    Precisely my point 🙂

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