Monday, August 10, 2009

Beyond A Reasonable Doubt

How much evidence is necessary to convict? Our courts have a stated standard – the jury must be convinced “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Yet some people have convoluted ideas about making judgments about truth that require their being convinced “beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

I was listening to Dr. Laura one day when she took a call from a sixteen-year-old girl who complained that her parents made her go to church with them. She claimed that she is an atheist and it is not fair that her parents subject her, against her will, to a belief system that is contrary to her own.

That caught my attention because of the girl’s obvious stupidity. She is sixteen years old. At that age, most people do not have well-developed or reasoned belief systems. In fact, I am 61, and at my age most people don’t have well-developed or reasoned belief systems.

I thought Dr. Laura responded well. She questioned the girl’s unbelief and emphasized that, in order to be credible, she must defend her position by sound reasoning. Dr. Laura wisely pointed out that millions of bright, educated, and thinking people for thousands of years have concluded and defended a belief in a real God. It, therefore, seemed ignorant and foolish that the young girl could dogmatically assert beyond a reasonable doubt that there is no god.

I think, at best, the girl can only be an agnostic. There is no shame in admitting that we lack enough knowledge to conclude for certain that God exists. That is what you call “ignorance” and ignorance is fixable; stupidity is forever.

When one avowed atheist sued the federal government in the ninth circuit court of appeals to have the phrase “under God” removed from the flag salute, he argued that subjecting his daughter to the mere mention of God violates the constitutional prohibition for government to establish a religion. That is another good example of sheer idiocy. It really doesn’t matter how, or when, or where people utter the name of God; the most important question that demands an answer is, “Does God exist?” And quite frankly, it really doesn’t matter much whether or not we acknowledge Him in our flag salute. We can take Him off our money, we can expel Him from our schools and we can bar Him from our courts, but His existence cannot be established or nullified by popular consensus or by sincere beliefs.

One radio talk show host recently made the statement, “The existence of God cannot be proven.”

I disagree with that because honest, thinking people, when confronted with reasonable evidence must conclude that there really is a god. So is there any reliable evidence for the existence of God? Consider this:

It was only about 80 years ago that evolutionist began to tell us that the concept of one god is the apex of a gradual development that evolved from the belief in many gods. But historical research challenges those assumptions. It is increasingly clear that the oldest known traditions of all peoples worldwide were of one single supreme God.

The transformed lives of millions of true believers and their experiences provide evidence, although subjective, that cannot be ignored. Their personal testimonies are worthy of consideration just as testimonial evidence is considered in a secular court of law.

Legitimate scientific law must eventually conclude that there is a god. The law of cause and effect insists that “no effect can be produced without a cause.” Even evolutionists, as they consider everything they see in the physical universe, agree on that but eventually all their theories must lead them to an uncaused cause, which they can only describe as a “big bang.” But even the “big bang” required some material substance so they are left with the unexplained or the uncaused cause.

Secular scientists try to skirt this by stretching their timeline. The whole theoretical evolutionary process requires lots of time; if millions of years is insufficient to bring about an effect, then we just need to add millions more years. Eventially something improbable might happen. Its like the prospect that, given enough time and enough monkeys with enough typewriters, the monkeys could write the Gettysburg Address. I heard where that was actually put to the test. A lot of monkeys were put into a room with lots of typewriters for a long time and at the end of the test there was not one single word written. There was lots of unintelligible gibberish on the paper and lots of monkey poop on the keyboards but NOT ONE SINGLE WORD. The existence of the Gettysburg Address is evidence of an author.

There is order and design in the universe. The Earth itself is evidence of design. Its size is perfect. If any smaller, an atmosphere would be impossible. If larger, it would contain free hydrogen. Its distance from the sun is correct to maintain temperatures to sustain life. Our moon is unique in comparison to moons of other planets. It is relatively much larger and has an affect on the continents and oceans. The tilt of the Earth’s axis insures the seasons.

O.K. so I am willing to admit that the fact that the vast majority of humanity, at all times and in all places, has believed in some kind of god is not conclusive proof. The majority can be wrong.

And I agree that the testimony of believers is too subjective and could be unreliable. And even if we admit an uncaused cause and even though there are many indications of God in nature, nature, itself, cannot conclusively demonstrate that He exists or what He is like. Even the Bible, in the book of Job, records the rhetorical question, ”Can you find God by searching for Him?” The obvious answer is “NO,” not unless He reveals Himself.

A few years ago, I attended a seminar at our local high school where a scientist was making his case for the existence of God. A lady in the audience stood and asked him this question; “Sir, if there really is a god, why doesn’t he simply show himself to the world and settle the matter once and for all?” If God would do that for us, she reasoned, we would all believe.

Would we? The reality is, He has taken the initiative throughout history to communicate to man. But His fullest revelation has been His invasion into human history in the person of Jesus Christ. The most conclusive evidence that there is a God is that He has visited us and revealed Himself to us. All other indicators are mere clues or hints. They provide supporting evidence and testimony. But the indisputable confirmations of those indicators are the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

So then there is evidence from tradition, human experience, nature, and science but most importantly, there is direct revelation. Therefore our faith can be sure and is, in fact, more reasonable than the foolish faith of atheists.

That’s right, a belief that there is no god is a remarkable act of a foolish, indefensible faith that can only be explained by understanding that to conclude otherwise, would demand a change in attitude or behavior.

There is a God and He can be known in personal experience. He has given us sufficient evidence for His existence. He has shown Himself to the world, but just like that lady in the seminar, many people refuse to believe.

But God’ existence isn’t dependent on our volitional belief. The day will come when everyone will acknowledge Him,

For the Scriptures declare, “ ‘ As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow to me and every tongue will confess allegiance to God.’” (Rom. 14:11)


Ron Livesay said...

I once heard someone make a similar statement to that of the lady at the seminar. He said, "I would believe in God if He would just do something to prove He loves me." What he missed was that God has already done that in a big way. He sent His Son to die for us and provide salvation and ultimate victory over even death in His Resurrection.

We are so often accused of "blind faith," but this is foolishness. Our faith has an object - the Lord Jesus Christ. The only "blind faith" is the faith of the unbeliever as he hopes against hope that God does not exist.

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Samantha said...

Just so you don't think all 16 year olds are stupid and unreasonable, I'm a 16 year old Christian living in a house of catholics and atheists. All glory to the Lord Jesus Christ!