This morning I read the incredibly tragic story of Makayla Sitton, a 6-year-old girl who was murdered by a relative in her Jupiter, Florida home this past Thanksgiving. The suspected culprit is Paul Michael Merhige, her 35-year-old uncle, who supposedly walked through the Sitton household with a gun, killing Makayla, his 76-year-old aunt and his 33-year-old twin sisters, one of them pregnant.
The article, tastefully written by Liz Balmaseda, catches up with Makayla’s parents, Muriel and Jim, who are obviously struggling to cope without their daughter. It’s a heartbreaking tragedy, and the killer clearly deserves to be locked up for life.
But the piece also got me thinking …
Throughout the story, Muriel and Jim speak of their faith in God, and how clearly He (God) has a plan for everyone. They believe their introduction to Jesus a decade ago took place that so, in 2009, they’d be prepared to cope with losing their only child. They clearly know in their hearts that Makayla is in a better place; that God simply needed another angel; that they’ll reunite in heaven one day. This sort of faith has allowed them to cope; to deal; to survive; to move forward. It is of great value.
And yet, what if it’s not true? Let’s say there’s no God. Or let’s say Jesus isn’t the messiah. Let’s say there’s no such thing as an afterlife; let’s say we’re all just pieces of dust, floating around accidentally. Let’s say Judaism and Christianity and Hinduism and all the other religions are pure, 100-percent garbage.
If so, are the Sittons better off, or worse off, believing? If it helps us survive, is it OK to believe in something that’s not true (hypothetically speaking), but that’s comforting? Let’s say religion provides us with a moral codeâ€”but that the foundation of that moral code is baloney. Should we still follow it? Or is truth what’s ultimately important?
I’m not sure. But I often wonder.