Chances are you would not; you would feel uncomfortable about contacting someone whom you had never met, whose credentials you had never seen, to fiddle around with your laptop when you don't quite know what you are doing? How do you know he won't put on some malware that will give him access to your sensitive information? Would you have had a different opinion if the sign had possessed a professional letterhead, or had was representative of a recognised computer repairs chain?
How would you react if the sign had been handwritten and said, "Carefull, door brocken!"
Faith and trust do not seem to be in great supply these days. There seem to be many people who do not trust the Governments scheme of cutting spending. Certain conspiracies such as the unusual circumstances of the death of Dr David Kelly have some very serious adherents. There seems to be no faith in the Roman Catholic Church leadership in Ireland following the Abuse scandal. Trusting what scientists say is also not gaining any ground. There are people who doubt that science can tell them how to live.
Actually, there are very good reasons for these cases of mistrust, people have good grounds for believing all of these institutions to be untrustworthy. With regard to the cuts in public spending, does anyone trust a minister who says, "We're all in this together and you must sacrifice a third of your pension to contribute to our plan of putting this right"? One might be more sympathetic to this view if the loss of a third of a pension were truly unilateral and that the minister himself was going sustain a comparable cut in pension.
With regard to Dr Kelly, given that the then Government was using much underhand propaganda and spin to convince Parliament and the country of the necessity of the invasion of Iraq and that Dr Kelly stood against this, one might be forgiven for doubting that his death was indeed the suicide as proclaimed in the media.
When bishops and archbishops do indeed try to hide the details of abuse by clergy and move the offending clergy on to places where they abuse again, then it is not surprising that this damages not only the trust in the parish priest, but also in the bishops that support them. It all looks like an inside job.
Who can trust Science to tell you how to live when one week eggs are bad for you and the next they're not only good for you but essential. The recent "discovery" that drinking lots of water can in fact be bad for you does seem to indicate that Science doesn't know what it's talking about sometimes. What is not often apparent is that Science is deeply divided about the nature of the origins of the Universe. While that might make for some exciting research, it doesn't exactly fill one with faith when discoveries made one week are shown to be false or out-of-date the next.
All in all, the levels of trust in society are falling. I've hear several people say, "I don't trust anybody now. Just myself." One can see that people are no longer in respect of their superiors to make good judgments on the basis that they believe previous judgments to be flawed. Marriage is no longer the uncompromising commitment that it used to be. Pre-nuptial agreements are now common fare in case of divorce.
For me, this represents the breakdown of community. People are becoming increasingly wary of commitment in case it all falls through and causes much in the way of pain. In order to be convinced that a commitment is worthwhile, credentials have to be presented and, in some cases, the credentials of those who give the credentials are being checked too. When does one become satisfied in trusting another?
It seems to me that the lack of trust in people is because of a growing materialism and relativism. For the Moral Relativist, there can be no real trust, no faith in people, because their moral standards are necessarily different. We cannot trust David Beckham to score a goal if the goalie picks up the goal post and moves it out of the way. Yet this would be perfectly consistent with the relativist's rules. Materialism demands evidence of reliability - credentials, certificates, references, bibliographies. This evidence is, however, necessarily inductive, i.e. based on a posteriori likelihood rather than a priori proof. We all do that, but are we coming to a point where this is not even enough?
I find materialism completely untrustworthy because it begs its own question. Where is the evidence that materialism is true? What is the scientific evidence to suggest that scientific evidence is enough to describe reality accurately? Herein lies the death of verificationalism.
In an episode of last year's Doctor Who, there was a rather fascinating conversation between the Doctor and Amy Pond:
I find this rather telling. Despite the fact that the Doctor doesn't always tell Amy the truth, he still asks her to trust him and it turns she does. Of course, this trust is due mainly because she has become increasingly familiar of the Doctor. Of course, this may well be part of the Time Lord charm which we humans lack, But it does raise the question, what does it take for a person to become trustworthy in our eyes? Do we have a personal criterion for deeming a person trustworthy? If we do, can we speak it?
The Doctor: Amy. You need to start trusting me. It's never been more important.
Amy: But you don't always tell me the truth.
The Doctor: If I always told you the truth I wouldn't need you to trust me.
If we're going to learn to trust again, then we are going to have to recognise our communities again. This needs to start locally. Of course, there are people that we know we cannot trust, but there needs to come a point where we set forward some way of trusting them again. I believe that this comes through cultivating our faith in God.
I trust God when He says that He exists and from that I trust Him when He says that He is truly good, almighty and all-knowing, though I cannot pretend to fathom what He means. One might call me a fool. Perhaps I am, but I have here the foundation on which I can live and learn to trust people and to give them a way of earning my greater trust. I recognise that human beings fail and fail badly, me included, but I have faith that God will not let me down. This comes from my belief that God is good. That sounds as if I believe that God exists in order that I can live. I assure you that my reasons for believing in God are more substantial that that, but you'll have to trust me on that!
Faith in God means that we have a binding influence, an inherent commonality with our neighbour whoever they are. This means that because I am commanded to love my neighbour, then I have to have an initial respect for them, a basis on which my trust can build. If someone else professes belief in the same God, then that trust can feedback into the system. Thus the Church, when done properly, can present a community of trusting, yet fallible, individuals. By trusting God, we are presented with the necessity of trusting our superiors to guide the way. Yes, of course, breaches of trust - even gross breaches of trust - will probably still happen, but if we are following the Commandments of God and not changing their sense through relativistic capitulations to a materialistic society, then we can begin to help that materialistic society to grow and heal, and maybe even see the God in Whom we have faith. That might be a better advert than a tatty home-made one in the shop window.