Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Simple Test of Religious Evidence

It occurred to me today that there is a fairly simple way to deal with people who say they have “evidence” which supports their faith. We may scoff at the idea that they have evidence, but they believe they do.

The evidence they might proffer on behalf of their god are on these lines:

1. Book This – We have the Holy Scriptures which is the inerrant word of God. In the case of some more moderately religious people – We have the Holy Scriptures which are inspired texts showing us the way God wants us to live our lives – some of it symbolic.

2. Fueled by Prayer – We have prayed to God and our prayers were answered. We know that God doesn’t answer every prayer, because sometimes people pray for the wrong things, pray without being in the proper humble spirit, or simply because God knows things that we don’t. But many times he does answer.

3. It’s a Miracle! – We have seen many miracles over the ages. Admittedly, God hasn’t done any of the really big and impressive stuff lately, but there are little miracles every day. Faithful families on the verge of ruin have had their lives completely turned around overnight; they have been in horrendous accidents and survived; they have been told they would never have children and yet the wife became pregnant; they have been diagnosed with an illness that was certain to take their lives in a short time and went on to live for decades, etc.

4. It’s Alive! – God speaks to me, personally. I have a relationship with Him and have heard His Word on many occasions. I know for a fact that god is real and I'm giving you my personal testimony.

If you can think of additional lines of evidence that the religious might reach for, feel free to include them in your mind at this point and then we’ll take them all to my simple test.

After you have allowed them to lay out their evidence, ask them this question: which of these pieces of “evidence” would be allowed in a U.S. court of law if god were on trial to determine his actuality? Would any of the above (or any of the additional facts you may have thought of) be admissible as evidence on god’s behalf? If they are knowledgeable about the law, they will have to concede that none of it would be admitted. No case could be made in court for the existence of god. Now you would think that if there is such a high certainty of his existence that at least some piece of evidence would be good enough to pass the muster of our legal system. Case closed – there is no evidence for god.

On the other hand, Don Exodus brings evolution to court and has his evidence admitted by Judge John Evo.


grumpylion said...

Now I understand what's wrong with creationists and their ilk.

Some of their base pairs have come unhinged.

Ordinary Girl said...

Thanks, Evo. I really enjoyed these.

Mark said...

spiritual feelings= evidence.

a well-lived life= evidence.

aye yai yai... i just had the missionaries over at my house and the two items above were repeated over and over as evidences to the veracity of the church.

i hope they come back for round two.

John Evo said...

Well, Mark, I definitely hope you give them the "legal" challenge! Is a "life well lived" admissible in court? Who decides what it means? We can judge the affirmative acts in a persons life. We can point to a lack of evidence of negative acts. But that doesn't mean those negative acts haven't occurred or even still occurring. And what do we say of the "life well lived" that was done so without god(s)? Not very good evidence of anything...