Thursday, September 15, 2005

Position of Comfort

House: ...Personally, I choose to believe that the white light people sometimes see visions, this patient saw. They’re all just chemical reactions that take place when the brain shuts down.

Foreman: [Incredulously] You choose to believe that?

House: There’s no conclusive science. My choice has no practical relevance to my life, I choose the outcome I find more comforting.

Cameron: [Fascinated] You find it more comforting to believe that this is it?

House: I find it more comforting to believe that this simply isn’t a test.

If you haven't seen the new show "House" on Fox, you're missing a rare moment of quality programming in modern television. Not only is it a stirring medical mystery show, but the characters have real depth and Dr. Gregory House is the great grumpy genius that you can't help but like. It's daring in its discussions of God and religion and it has a real skeptic, House, and an expressive atheist, Dr. Cameron, as some of its main characters.

I quote the above because I think it's an interesting reverse of expectations. You don't often hear atheists say that they a) _choose_ their beliefs or that they b) did so because it was comforting.

Can one choose their beliefs? Or do beliefs necessarily follow how one is already convinced? There's no way I could just choose to believe that the sky is yellow. Can you? And is atheism more comforting? Maybe House has a peculiar life story. I don't see much particularly comforting about it, but I admit that all of observable reality being just a test does seem rather lame.

5 comments:

avian30 said...

Orthoprax,

And is atheism more comforting? Maybe House has a peculiar life story. I don't see much particularly comforting about it, but I admit that all of observable reality being just a test does seem rather lame.

The claim that God is all-good is probably untenable given the nature of the world. Given that, atheism may be more comforting than belief in an amoral God or an immoral God.

Enigma4U said...

Maestro,

Day, time and channel, please.

Mis-nagid said...

I've never missed an episode :-). I sat up straight by the scene you quote here. I also find it interesting that the most compassionate chacter on the show is the atheist.

Orthoprax said...

Avian,

"...Given that, atheism may be more comforting than belief in an amoral God or an immoral God."

Maybe, though I don't see much of a difference between an amoral God and atheism in terms of how you placed them.

Enigma,

Fox, channel 5, I think at 8pm on Tuesdays.

Mis-nagid,

Indeed, it's the depth of the characters that really makes the show interesting even with all the cool medical mystery stuff.

alex said...

"Can one choose their beliefs? Or do beliefs necessarily follow how one is already convinced?"

I wish you could invite Andrew Flew to post his comments on these questions.