Is it True…or do you just NEED to Believe in It?


I would stake my life on you
If only my slippery mind could grasp and hold you.

When I watch my stepchildren, sometimes I am struck by the fantasy that this culture still wants to believe in – that divorce does not profoundly affect children, that children in divorce situations are “fine”, and that, as long as the divorce is “good”, the children are probably better off. None of this is true. Yet, we NEED to believe in these things. Otherwise, the pain of divorce is simply too great to bear. So we craft a narrative that children of divorce have no additional burdens than those children growing up in intact homes (Not that “intact” homes are always healthy environments- but that is another fantasy we NEED to believe.)

The legacy of divorce is significant for children. I am not saying it’s necessarily bad, but what is a problem is the fantasy that we create as a culture surrounding this issue and then insist the fantasy is real- not because of any facts, but simply because we so gosh-darn NEED it to be real. Because then our lives are easier.

We have other areas in our culture in which we craft and believe in a fantasy, again, not because there is any evidence, but rather we are not yet capable of confronting the alternative. I think a powerful example of this is our justice system. Many truly believe that the truth is always determined in court, that those in prison MUST have done something horrible, etc. Has the justice system gotten a lot of things correct- of course. Are some individuals in prison for a justified reason- of course. Yet, one can not look, even with a brief glance, a prison statistics and not think something may be awry when one considers the portion of prisoners who are young, Black males. But that is part of the fantasy, too, isn’t it? It must the young, Black male who is failing.

On a more global context, I have met people who believe in the fantasy that God loves us “more” because we are Americans. What? Why this fantasy? Because it plays into our self-image and we can not consider the alternative. If God loves us more as America, if we are “special” in His eyes, then whatever America does on the world stage is “fine” because God has chosen us. Obviously, this is not my view- but it has floored me to meet those that think this way.

We all have our fantasies. We need to make sure we do not confuse fantasy with truth. Just because you NEED to believe in something because it is easier to do so, or absolves you of guilt, or makes it so you don’t have to be responsible for anything, because everything is “fine” – does not mean everything you NEED to believe in is true.