So what’s most important to you in life? When you think about it, what’s the most important thing. For me, it’s the truth. Is the truth important to you?
In my opinion, there’s no religion higher than truth. Truth, what is truth? That is a famous quote from Pontius Pilate, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Philosophy’s been struggling this for years. And the best definition I’ve ever heard is, that truth is the correspondence between thought and reality. When what you think matches what is, you have truth.
The problem is, everybody claims to have the truth. Christianity claims to have the truth, Islam claims to have the truth, the Republicans claim to have the truth, and the Democrats claim to have the truth. Everybody’s claiming the truth. How do you know whose right?
There are far too many claims for all of them to be right, and they are contradictory. I mean, atheism says that God does not exist and Theism says that God does exist. Both statements can’t be true. How do you decide which statement is true? This is where evidence comes.
I want the advocate an evidence based life. Evidence is a set of facts that support a claim, also known as a truth claim. A claim is simply a statement that is either true or false. Throughout your life, you’ll hear many different claims, some of them will be true, but many of them will be false. How do you determine whether a claim is true or false?
You can just trust a particular person and say, “Well, whatever so and so says, must be true.” That’s an appeal to authority. And if the authority is reliable and correctly reporting the evidence, then you can trust that authority. There’s nothing wrong with that. But the problem is, on many issues, there is no real authority.
For example, who is an authority on the existence of god, or the lack of existence of god. There is no authority on that. Because the question is too big. It’s asking ultimate questions and in ultimate questions, the philosopher is the most qualified person to answer those. And the philosophers disagree.
However, if you go back and you say, “I’m living an evidence based life, now what is the evidence?” The evidence, once you research it, and think it through impartially, without confirmation bias, you will come to the same conclusion I did. The God of the Bible does not exist. The God of the Koran does not exist.
Also, remember that the importance of the question that you’re asking determines the amount of evidence. So if the question is very important, you need a good amount of evidence. If the question is more trivial, like should I go to a particular restaurant, you don’t need much evidence. You can very quickly weigh the pros and cons in your head. It’s not a big deal. But the existence of God is a big deal, and so it requires a good amount of evidence.
And the subject of the question determines the source of the evidence. If it’s a scientific question, then we could turn to science. We don’t turn to scripture. Scripture has to be verified before we can turn to scripture. You have to find out if the Bible, or the Koran, or the Rigveda, or whatever it is that you’re appealing to as a holy book, is true. Because there are hundreds of holy books. Who’s to say that yours is right? So you first have to turn to the evidence to support it, or to disconfirm it. As I have done with the Bible.
So truth is found through following the evidence. If you value truth, you must value of the evidence. And, if you value truth, you’ll deal with the evidence objectively. Without trying to confirm your Christianity, or for that matter, your atheism. Just look at the evidence impartially, and live an evidence based Life.