As a family we love The Big Bang Theory. The characters and story lines have a subtle way of balancing what is no doubt a strong worldview based on primacy of science. But, I must admit that my favorite character is not one of the main stars. It is Stuart, awkward lonely quirky Stuart who has a unique way of grounding Sheldon.
In his introductory episode (Season 2, E20, The Hofstadter Isotope), Stuart and Sheldon have an interesting exchange where, at first blush, Stewart appears to get the upper hand on Sheldon.
Stuart: What’s up?
Sheldon: Well, I’ve spent the last three hours in an online debate in the DC Comics Batman chatroom, and I need your help.
Stuart: Oh yeah. Those guys can be very stubborn. What’s the topic?
Sheldon: I am asserting, in the event that Batman’s death proves permanent, that original Robin, Dick Grayson, is the logical successor to the Bat Cowl.
Stuart: Ooh, Sheldon, I’m afraid you couldn’t be more wrong.
Sheldon: More wrong? Wrong is an absolute state and not subject to gradation.
Stuart: Of course it is. It’s a little wrong to say a tomato is a vegetable, it’s very wrong to say it’s a suspension bridge. But returning to the original issue, Dick Grayson became Nightwing, a superhero in his own right. Batman 2 has to be the second Robin, Jason Todd.
While the exchange continues all night until Stuart succumbs to fatigue, they never get back to the underlying point. And Sheldon, uncharacteristically misses the opportunity to point out that he was correct…..as usual.
While the distance from the truth may vary, truth by its very definition is binary. It may we elusive at times but as an objective moralist I believe it exists. In our pluralistic society, we are eager to focus on how close to the truth we may be using that as a yardstick to determine the relative justice of our choices. But, we want to ignore the consequences of those decisions. Worse, we may bury ourselves in the a cloak of agnostism proud of our ignorance without considering the implications of our decisions. At some point, we have enough information to make a decision. We do so in relationships every day either at work with clients or coworkers we must trust, sometimes with our lives, or with spouses we have chosen with whom we have chosen to spend our lives. Why should our decision about God by any different?