Wind in the Sails

We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:19–21, NIV)

Non-believers tend to ignore the Scripture — and why not. If you don’t believe in God why would you value any purported “word” from him? But how do they account for the millions of us who do believe? Perhaps we are earnest… just misled… and this accounts for the phenomenon. But the problem with this tack is that it’s backwards. Evidence should drive belief — and belief should never eclipse the evidence. But this is exactly what occurs when prejudice keeps people from analyzing data objectively.

Prejudice, you say? That’s kind of a strong a word. But what else do you call it when people make a judgment… not just categorically — but using a method that requires them to ignore an opposing dataset? In my opinion, dismissing uncomfortable data a priori is analytical fraud — and dismissing core beliefs by design is prejudice. So, I’m not pitching religion today… but I am putting popularized science on notice.

The scientific method ignores non-physical entities… and that’s appropriate. But many scientists make the leap into metaphysics… and with their credentials in tow. That is not appropriate. When scientists postulate what their findings might mean beyond their materialist assumptions, they become philosophers… and their CVs do not cover that. So, unless these scientists are also credentialed as philosophers, they are amateur commentators-on-life — and they are no more qualified than you and I to propagate a worldview.

When scientists assert that only “the physical” exists, they are offering a philosophical position on what does or does not exist… and this is outside of the scientific method’s purview. Now, let me ask, do you look to Einstein for information about tap-dancing? If not, why would you look to Hawking or Dawkins for a comprehensive worldview? Let the buyer beware: many are smart and accomplished at some things, but none are smart and accomplished at all things... and besides, God did not require his authors to be accomplished; he required them to be ready. He used the people who already had their sails up.

God moved his authors as the wind moves a great ship; there was a confluence there, where men worked hard to create vessels that cooperated with God’s larger creation… but then accomplished God’s will as it became their own. So, yes — these are metaphysical assertions, but no… they are not untrue by virtue of that category.

The millions of us who do believe God’s word assent to a non-material agency that works without and within. But even if that were not objectively true, it would be illogical to say that the agent does not exist just because he does not conform to the preferred data.

Some critics say that people believe the Bible because of a mass delusion. But I would ask which is more reasonable: that millions of people (through the millennia and across unconnected cultures) have been continuously deluded? Or that they responded to the Holy Spirit? (Consider Ockham’s razor here; test for the simple, the elegant and the non-ad hoc.)

We are merely a people who have our sails up… and that same Holy Spirit who guided and protected the Bible’s authors has written God’s Law on our hearts — and this is the best explanation of the data… excuse me… of all the data.

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