Biblical Discussions, Intelligent Design

Objective Truth- part three

PART III

We want to know if the facts say that God exists and the Bible is true, for the last time.  To do so, we must be willing to consider the evidence in an honest and impartial manner.

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” Herbert Spencer, a 19th century philosopher adapted this from an earlier quote by William Paley, an 18th century British theologian, In A View of the Evidences of Christianity, 1794.

As Christians, we do not claim to be Jesus and thus perfect.  Instead, we claim to need Jesus because we can recognize our imperfections.  As we get deeper into the facts and thereby the truth about Jesus, we will not indisputably prove that Jesus and therefore God exist, but instead will attempt to provide confirmation beyond a reasonable doubt.  A reasonable doubt is based on reason and commonsense after an impartial examination of all the evidence.  Very little in life is convincing beyond a reasonable doubt.  If we lived requiring that type of proof before making a decision we would do nothing.  There still is no guarantee that you will not be in a car accident or someone shoot you at a convenience market by accident.

Outright contempt of the matter prior to a thorough investigation and wanting proof  beyond all possible doubt are really about our will and desire to ignore the truth and do what we want to anyway.  I have had many discussions with Atheists and non-believers and the for the most part they claim to know that God does not exist, but they have no evidence to support their beliefs- the saddest attempt is to say “there is no scientific proof.”  Most of what I have discussed and have seen written ends up pretty much being “I just don’t want there to be a God.”  Most of the Atheists and non-believers will NOT look at the evidence impartially- they are just looking for ways to continue to justify their beliefs.

If there is no objective or universal truth, then any claim to have objective truth will be treated as nothing but an attempt by one interpretive community to impose their own limited, subjective perspective on everyone else.  The very concept of objective truth is grounded in the Christian conviction that, an intelligent designer created the universe.  The very idea of objective truth – a truth that is “out there” – makes sense only on the basis of a Christian worldview.  In evolutionary concept of the mind undercuts our confidence in the objective truth of our moral beliefs as well as the objective truth of our mathematical or scientific reasoning.

knowledge-vs-wisdom

Wisdom or sapience is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight.  Wisdom has been regarded as one of four cardinal virtues; and as a virtue, it is a habit or disposition to perform the action with the highest degree of adequacy under any given circumstance, and to avoid wrongdoing.  This implies a possession of knowledge or the seeking of knowledge to apply to the given circumstance.

Truth is most often used to mean being in accord with fact or reality, or fidelity to an original or standard.  Truth may also often be used in modern contexts to refer to an idea of “truth to self,” or authenticity.

Confirmation bias occurs when we selectively notice or focus upon evidence which tends to support the things we already believe or want to be true while ignoring that evidence which would serve to disconfirm those beliefs or ideas.  This bias plays a stronger role when it comes to those beliefs which are based upon prejudice, faith, or tradition rather than on empirical evidence.  A good example would be how people notice when they get a phone call from a person they were just thinking about but don’t remember how often they didn’t get such a call when thinking about that person.  “Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.” Our biases are some of the non-smart reasons we have for arriving at beliefs; the confirmation bias is perhaps worse than most because it actively keeps us from arriving at the truth and allows us to wallow in comforting falsehood and nonsense.

It is precisely because of the strength, pervasiveness, and perniciousness of this kind of bias that science incorporates the principle of independent confirmation and testing of one’s ideas and experiments. It is the hallmark of science that a claim should be supported independent of personal bias, but it is a hallmark of pseudoscience that only true believers will discover the evidence, which supports their claims.  This is why a Christian’s faith is based upon verifiable facts and evidence.

In a very real and important sense, it is possible to say that, scientifically, God does not exist — just as science is able to discount the existence of a myriad of other alleged beings   All such statements are casual short-hand for a more elaborate and technical statement: “this alleged entity has no place in any scientific equations, plays no role in any scientific explanations, cannot be used to predict any events, does not describe anything or force that has yet been detected, and there are no models of the universe in which its presence is either required, productive, or useful.”   What should be most obvious about the more technically accurate statement is that it isn’t absolute.  It does not deny for all time any possible existence of the entity or force in question; instead, it is a provisional statement denying the existence of any relevance or reality to the entity or force based on what we currently know.  (Not withstanding black holes, black matter, black energy, black light, wormholes, etc which scientists insist cannot be detected, measured or proven- but have to exist to make both sides of their equations equal).

Nothing in science is proven or disproven beyond a shadow of any possible doubt.  In science, everything is provisional.  Being provisional is not a weakness or a sign that a conclusion is weak.  Being provisional is a smart, pragmatic tactic because we can never be sure what we will come across after the next experiment.  This lack of absolute certainty is a window through which many Atheists try to slip their lack of a ‘god’, but that is not valid.

The other reason people deny there is an objective truth is because they are skeptical that we know the truth.  I accept that we never know what the truth is for sure.  We can be mistaken.  But to be mistaken, there has to be an objective truth! The idea of a mistake is that there is an objective truth and we have it wrong.  Denying there are objectively true ideas also denies that there are false ideas and mistakes.  Consequently, it prevents us from finding and correcting our errors, because errors are deviations from the truth and they say there is no truth to deviate from.

Part of the issue is the idea that knowledge is justified, true belief.  It is easy to lapse into relativism with that conception of knowledge because that kind of knowledge is impossible to come by, so one might think that opinions are all we have.  Justificationists pave the way for relativists by denying that imperfect knowledge is knowledge at all.

Here is an argument that objective truth must exist: Communication relies on there being an objective truth.  When I say something, you hear it.  We are in a shared world.  What you hear is not random; it has to do with what I said.  It is not based on your whim or subjectivity.  What you hear is a close approximation of what I actually said, because you seek the truth of what I said and it is there to be found.  Communication is only possible when there is one single truth of what is being said for all the people communicating.

Knowledge is created by imaginative and critical thought.  The key ingredients are both creativity and criticism.  We need numerous ideas, including ones that are not obvious.  In addition, we need error correction to get rid of flaws.  With those two components, we can improve our knowledge and learn new things.

You have a right to believe.  Not just a legal right, but an intellectual right.  Parts of our society, certain vocal Atheists and much of our mass culture, suggest and sometimes even loudly proclaim that belief in God is outdated and somehow intellectually inferior.  That worldview is false.

Just as you have a right to believe, you have a right not to believe.  I’m not out to mock or demean Atheists and Agnostics (but I will certainly exercise my right to free speech and question and poke fun at some of their statements).  Many are careful thinkers, very moral and very responsible.  I will present the evidence, their arguments, and my arguments, and encourage you to decide for yourself.

We all have doubts and beliefs.  When it comes to God, you have a choice.  Atheism is a system of belief, which is why it and the word Atheist will be capitalized throughout the remainders of my writings.  Atheism may not be as detailed as Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, but it can have an equally profound impact on how you live your life.  We will examine beliefs about God using reason. I have spent much of my life trying to resolve reason and belief.

Atheism may not be as detailed as Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, but it does have an equally profound impact on how you choose to live your life. We will examine beliefs about God using reason.  I have been spending most of life trying to resolve the ‘so-called’ discrepancy between reason and belief.  It drove me to alcoholism, drugs, thievery, pornography, and any attempt to destroy the thoughts in my mind.  When I started to truly look at the facts, understand the conflicts and compromises, I began to learn the truth-the truth that was unavoidable.   I I have gotten there with reason and proven scientific facts.  Objective truth!  What is true for me is true for you.

You cannot doubt the existence of God unless you have some faith in the belief that God does not exist. You may say you don’t care about God, or have no need for God. If so, you are betting your life that no God exists that could hold you accountable or provide meaning and hope in your life.  Before you base your life on the belief that no God exists that could make your life meaningful, I urge you to consider the evidence that will follow in future articles.

KnowledgeInformationWisdom

Should we believe in God, or should we believe there is no God?  We are going to look at the evidence, at the facts, at what I will call the “science of belief.”  Many theologians shy away from this type of examination, perhaps in part because of a fear that their faith will be damaged by a negative answer and perhaps in part because they think the world of science and the world of faith do not intersect.  Many educated persons shun this quest, perhaps in part because they have wrapped themselves in a worldview where the existence of God is literally unthinkable.  Many others reject it because, for them, the existence of God would be an inconvenient truth-they do not wish to be held accountable.  I will use reason and modern science, (objective truth, not blind faith), to make the case for God.  You decide.

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One thought on “Objective Truth- part three

  1. WOW. Okay, if the facts are true, provable and consistent then they themselves will abolish any preconceived concepts and overcome any prejudices. If they don’t, they aren’t provably real. “This is why a Christian’s faith is based upon verifiable facts and evidence.” Really? When I tell you that humans are luminous beings, our essence is composed of light and we exist in this plane of existence in order to learn how goodness, love and acceptance of our selves will lead us to Oneness, and that simply by stopping your internal dialogue anyone can see for themselves and “verify” this fact. And yet instead of accepting this proof, you claim it is not unlike hallucinations.
    I’m still waiting for any verifiable facts or evidence, stating that the bible was written by actual witnesses to the events is anecdotal, not verifiable.
    I’ll read the next six episodes because I said I would, but……

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