I apologize in advance because this blog might seem like a bit of a rant however there is a phrase that I have heard quite often and it is beginning to bug me due to its inaccuracy. That phrase is, "there is no evidence for (insert thing you're against here) I hear atheists say this many times, "there's no evidence for God's existence", and recently I got into a conversation with a non-trinitarian who claimed that there was no evidence for the Trinity until the year AD 330. This statement bothers me for two main reasons. The first is that it is a very powerful, very emotionally charged statement. If there is in fact no evidence for something, then those who adhere to that idea are incredibly foolish for holding to an idea for which no evidence exists. This is the point that many atheists make about deists. The whole point of their claim is to present the other side as absolutely irrational and thus should not be taken seriously and has no merit. I don't want to seem unfair, so I will point out that Christians can do this as well when it comes to the issue of evolution. The second reason that this statement bothers me so much is because it a massive claim and I believe most of the people who make a claim like this do not truly understand what they are saying which is representative of the degradation of rational discourse happening in our modern age. I know that was a lot so let me explain what I just said. The word evidence means, "that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief." So when one says that there is no evidence for something, what they are in fact saying is that there is no ground for belief in whatever idea is presented. Let me suggest that this is much harder to prove then perhaps many people who use this phrase care to admit. Let's take my conversation with a non-trinitarian. He asserted that no evidence for the Trinity existed before AD 330, but in reality what he meant to say was that there was no official church document that can be found which states something to effect of, "This is what the Trinity is and this is what the church affirms." That document would not be made until the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. There are however examples of the concept of the Trinity being taught in the early church, and thus ground for belief that the church has believed in the concept of the Trinity all throughout church history. Putting aside the many texts of scripture that point to the Trinity, we have the letters of Clement of Rome which speak about the divine nature of Christ and the Father, but understand that although both are considered to be God, they are distinct persons. We also have Ignatius who also spoke about the deity of Christ and yet made a distinction between Christ, and the Holy Spirit, and the Father. There are several examples that can be used, and so at this point I have to ask the question, are these examples not evidence? Do they count as a reason I believe the church understood and taught the concept of the Trinity even though there was no official document at those points in time? I believe they are evidence, but they are not undeniable proof like the Council of Nicaea was, and that is really what many people mean when they say, "There is no evidence" What the atheist is looking for is undeniable proof of God's existence and only then will they believe in God, of course at that point, it is no longer a question of belief, but a question of acceptance of reality or not. This is what a person making this claim is truly wanting to say, but because of what I mentioned above, rather than using the word proof, they use the word evidence. There are some things that we can understand to be undeniably true. Some of these things are the concept of gravity, and the fact that the Earth is round. One can drop a pen 100 times and 100 times it will fall, and one can see with their own eyes that the earth is round. Needless to say these things are not really disputed, however I assert that there many more things which are not undeniably provable, and so people must look at the available facts and make an interpretation of them. Facts are not self interpreting, and so even if one has all the facts, there is no guarantee that one is going to interpret them correctly. The trick is making sure that one is being fare with all available evidence and examining their conclusions in light of new arguments, or new facts being discovered. This is a much harder process and it does not convince as many of our modern people who have a short attention span and are emotionally driven as saying, "there's no evidence of (whatever I don't want believe)" As Christians we are seek to truth because as Jesus states in the book of John, He is truth. If we are going to follow Christ then we must be followers of truth, but this does not just mean not lying which many Christians including me struggle with, but it also means being honest and fair with all information, and assessing them in a consistent manner. That is what pleases God, not going for the low hanging fruit of effective but not intellectually honest. What do you think? Am I being fair in my assessment of this phrase? How have you responded when someone told you there was no evidence for something. Comment below and let me know, and as always thanks for stopping by.
Here you can read various thoughts and discussions that come from the mind of our Pastor