And yet these high priests of weather have the population hoodwinked. Journalists and radio hosts hang on their every word, and people plan their lives around the forecasters’ prognostications.
”Fine and 27 degrees with a light northerly,” he or she intones, and families plan a picnic or a trip to the beach, only to find it overcast and freezing. (But probably not raining.)
The only time, it seems, they predict rain correctly is for the great public ceremonies, when people dress in their finest only to find themselves soddenly searching for an ark (exhibit A: this year’s Melbourne Cup).
Another example of the meteorologists’ perfidy is the much-anticipated cool change, scheduled to arrive between 4 and 6pm, they say. And so it does – four days later. But the forecasters smile serenely because they know – if they but hold their nerve and wait – it must come true eventually.
And yet the simple faith of much of the population is serenely untouched by the gulf between forecast and fact.
And this brings me to a tremendously important fact about faith.
Faith is a fine, even an essential, quality for a human, but it is not an unconditional good. The object of the faith determines this.
I have learnt the same lesson as King David, the author of Psalm 146, who wrote: ”Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save … Blessed are those whose hope is in the Lord their God.”
Barney Zwartz is a senior fellow with the Centre for Public Christianity.