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  • Faith

    The Great Egg Balancing Hoax (On Faith and Reason)

    March 23, 2011


    Perhaps you’ve done it—balanced an egg on its wide end sometime during the vernal or autumnal equinox. A friend of mine introduced this phenomenon to me recently, explaining that on these two days of the year, the sun and the earth’s gravitational pulls are balanced enough to keep Humpty Dumpty from wobbling.
    I tried it and it worked. There we were, marveling at the wonders of the universe, never minding that we had gone through several eggs to find just “the right one”—particularly one with a tiny tripod of calcium deposits on its base.
    I posted our miracle on Facebook and someone replied with a video showing how equinox egg balancing is, in fact, a hoax. The power of suggestion (and lack of patience) disables spring devotees from balancing eggs any other day of the year.
    I felt the chagrin associated with being taken by a scam. My friend felt far worse, refusing to believe it at first. She’d balanced eggs on the first day of spring and fall every year since she was a kid. It was a beloved family tradition, a magical memory, and—so she thought—a wonderful science lesson to pass on to friends.
    When I emailed this photo to my friend, two days after “the window of opportunity” to balance an egg—she confessed to being a “doubting Thomas.” She said the whole experience caused her to examine her mindset in other areas of her life.
    I am reminded of the day I too examined a particular mindset. I awoke one morning and asked myself, Why do I believe in the God of the Bible? What if it’s a hoax—a beloved tradition that I am unwilling to let go of, one that blinds me to objective truth?
    I realized that it could not be about what I want to believe. It has to be about wanting to know the truth.
    Some days I don’t want to believe that morality matters (because relationships matter). That there is Someone Who watches over every jealous, envious, resentful, deceiving, bitter, complaining, arrogant and self-righteous thought and intent of my heart.
    Or that there could be a place called “Hell”—the voluntary, eternal separation from a loving, thus free-will giving God.
    So I had to dig for answers outside of my Western, American Christian traditions and conditioned responses. I had to patiently, diligently, “steady the egg” through studies in Biblical archeology, the authenticity of ancient manuscripts and so on.
    To my astonishment, truth stood upright before my wide-open eyes, on the level bedrock of reason.
    Do you know why you believe what you believe?
    Summer and winter, springtime and harvest. Sun, moon and stars in their courses above. Join with all nature in manifold witness, to thy great faithfulness, mercy and love. –Thomas O. Chisholm

    2 thoughts on “The Great Egg Balancing Hoax (On Faith and Reason)

    1. Anonymous says:

      So you found your truth in “reason”? I assume that accompanies rationality…does that mean you have finally found the “Biblical Truth” to be a grandiose story?

    2. Faith says:

      Dear Anonymous,

      rationality: the possession of reason (so, yes.).

      grandiose: having an exaggerated belief in one’s importance, sometimes reaching delusional proportions, and occurring as a common symptom of mental illnesses, as manic disorder.

      Not only have you described the historical Jesus this way, but you have attributed such grandiosity to millions of people all over the world, from every culture and socio-economic status, including a growing number of scientists with PhD’s.

      Thank you for the compliment. 😉

      (Seriously, thanks for your comment. Wishing you all the very best.)

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