Sunday, February 10, 2008


Every so often I meet someone who has decided to trust something that I happen to know that is completely wrong. I recently listened to someone who talked about the pain he suffered rescuing people from a diet that was high in fat, low in carbohydrates -- one that worked but that he was sure was killing the people on it and who he felt had to be forced to abandon it.

If you've read the studies you know that while low fat is a definite dogma, all of the research points to the, err "contradiction" that exists because in the one definite measure, morbidity (that is, how many people die), it is less healthy than the traditional high protein, high fat diet that was abandoned in the 70s.

For example, you probably remember being told that eggs were bad for you, or the puzzle that many people felt when studies that showed that on a diet that was 100% eggs the level of Cholesterol actually drops (one of my wife's professors did some of the research).

That is sharply focused for me because much of what I read in religious criticism when I got started reading it was older material that was outdated when I read it. It included things such as writers insisting that the Bible was false because Jericho never existed (by the time I read those writers Jericho had been found). I was reading the past in real time against current knowledge that made it look silly.

I've seen that again and again in religious studies -- absolute statements just as firm as the "you must eat low fat" -- that turn out to be completely wrong. It reduces my trust in many people who have been trained to the ministry or trained in religious studies, at least to the extent that they are filled with certainty. I just expect them to turn out to be wrong.

At the same time, I find myself learning to trust God. It is a slow path, with limits drawn from the pains and losses of my heart, because I find that God doesn't keep me from loss or sorrow. At the same time, God does give me comfort. I've learned to trust his word where he says "I will not leave you comfortless."

So I learn to trust in God as he teaches me, not in the God I thought I knew.

Which heals my heart more than any "truths" from religious scholars.

By the way, to read more on the example, pick up a copy of this book from your library:

Good Calories, Bad Calories