Prove it to me
by Andy Kind
‘Prove to me that God exists’, a bloke I was chatting to at a bar said to me. I was drinking a lime alcopop that I’d been given on the house. It was disgusting, and my cheeks were cowering inwards by the second.
Whilst my drink was uncommon and grotesque, his request was not. One of the major reasons people give for not believing in God is simply that ‘there’s no proof’. Now, it will often be phrased as ‘there’s no evidence,’ but what they really mean is proof – something concrete that would absolutely seal the deal, like God writing his name across the sky in stars.
There’s a lot that’s troublesome about that assertion, though.
It may make you feel enlightened and robust to say ‘I’d believe if there was irrefutable proof’, but the reality is that you wouldn’t submit any other aspect of your life to that charge. Outside of pure mathematics, people don’t talk about ‘proof’ in that strict sense. We look at the evidence and make a judgment on where that evidence leads. Nobody owns evidence. We all have the same data to work with.
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You will hear people say it. ‘I only believe in what can be proven.’ Fool of a Took! Nobody does – that’s just a soundbyte. For starters, you can’t even prove that the previous sentence is true!
I can’t prove my wife loves me, or that I love her. I can put forward a good case, and I’d be happy to show you the scrapbook that I’ve collated for just such a purpose, but I can’t prove it using science or logic. But if I’d only acted on what could be proven irrevocably beyond doubt, I would never have plucked up the courage to ask her out, and we wouldn’t now be happily married…
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