In my last post, I used a phrase I find myself using a lot these days, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” But what is evidence? There’s empirical evidence and there’s spiritual evidence. This is not to say that what I feel is scientific evidence, it is definitely not. Feelings are not facts. However, when there is a lack of empirical evidence and you’re putting your faith either in the existence of something greater or putting your faith in the presumption there isn’t something greater, what are you looking at to push you one direction or another?
Some people find it easier to believe in nothing because there is no evidence to show that there is something greater. I get that, because “seeing is believing” is definitely easier. We can’t see gravity itself, but we can see the effects of gravity, therefore we know it is real. That is how I feel about the existence of God. All the hard sciences are just studies of the universe God made and quite frankly, evolution is a much more powerful creation story than what you find in Genesis. I know all the arguments, I love evolutionary biology, I find studying the way God made the world to be endlessly fascinating. If Genesis was a biology text book, it’d be boring, but it’s a spiritual text book. How God actually created the universe is such a wonderful example of what God is capable of that’s well beyond our human means of understanding.
What I ask is, when you’re looking out onto a Pacific sunset, or watching the sun rise over the mountains, or see a baby calf nursing on her mother, when you look at your child, when you see all the beauty and love this world has to offer, don’t you feel something? I know it’s easy to say that’s just an emotion, but why do you think you feel this way? What is the evolutionary purpose for appreciating beauty and feeling connected to it? Is it scary to think there may be something bigger behind your soul?
Forget Christianity for a minute. Forget all organized religion. Just walk into the woods, walk up a mountain, and look out on a magnificent vista. Tell me we’re alone as intelligent, spiritual creatures. I dare you. I don’t think anyone being honest can do that. You can believe in something greater or not, but every human is an agnostic because we don’t know, we believe in something or we believe in nothing, but not one of us, at least for the last 2,000 years knows scientifically. This is the very purpose of faith.
Almost everyone has faith (I’m allowing for a few poor souls who may not). Faith that the sun will come up tomorrow. Faith that their spouse is being the person they claim to be. Faith that our children will grow up to be good people. Sometimes that faith is not rewarded, but we still have it until we choose not to have it anymore. Maybe one day science will be able to prove that God doesn’t exist. If that’s the case, I’m sure there will be a lot of folks who lose faith, but until that day, we’ll keep it. And I highly doubt that it will ever be able to be proven or disproven, but I have been wrong before and there’s a good chance I could be wrong again someday.
For several years, I tried to let my doubts take over. I tried to let my logical, data driven mind rule my consciousness. I really tried hard. However, when I went into the mountains, when I got away from my fellow man in the urban centers and looked up at the stars in a clear sky, I knew in my heart I was wrong. I tried to block it out, but it was way more powerful than me. I realized that the choice I was making was no choice at all, but simply trying to ignore what I knew to be true. I think people do this every day, not just in regard to the existence of God, but people ignore all kinds of things they know to be true because they don’t want them to be true.
Ultimately, faith is a choice and it’s one you have to make on your own. No parent, no pastor, no astrophysicist, no blogger can make this decision for you. I just implore you to go spend a couple days in the wilderness, turn off your phone, quiet your mind and see what you can connect to. We spend our lives so connected to so much that sometimes the most important connection we can make gets crowded out by thousands of insignificant little things. No matter what you choose, take a minute and reprioritize your connections, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.