Have you ever had to be told that the sun is hot? Did someone have to sit you down and explain to you that water is wet? Has anyone knocked on your door with a handful of literature and asked to speak with you about how you need to eat food to survive? I know I haven’t. Why? These are universal truths. These are simple truths. No matter where you are on earth, these truths are understood by everyone. Simple truths require no education to understand them. They are plain for all to see. How is it that a god who is obvious to people of religion (as a hot sun is to everyone else) needs to be explained? Why does a person need to be convinced of “things unseen” in order for them to believe in a god that we are told should be obvious to everyone?
Here’s the thing about universal truth. It doesn’t need an ambassador. It doesn’t need someone to climb a mountain top and scream it out. It’s already known and accepted by all. You don’t need to drive to a building on Sunday morning to sit and listen to a man at a pulpit tell you how the world is trying to deceive you and keep you from knowing the truth; clouds are real.
Why does God need to be explained? Universal truths about observable things require no explanation. So why are so many people left unconvinced and unbelieving? God is obvious, so we are told, so why does he remain elusive? People who do not believe in God are told that they are being rebellious or are ignoring the evidence all around them. Do atheists refute the fact that the sun is hot? No. How about water? Is that wet for both the believer and the non-believer? It sure is. There is actual, observable evidence for these things. There is simply none for God. There are unexplainable things that people try to explain by saying an invisible god is the reason for them. That is a belief and we are free to believe whatever we want. That’s vastly different from facts and evidence. Having belief is one thing. Having understanding is another.
Faith is a belief in things for which you have no evidence. If you had evidence, you wouldn’t call it faith. You would call it a fact. You would call it truth. If God were in fact obvious to all (which many people claim he is) then why is faith required? Why are we having to argue over what is real and what isn’t real about supernatural things? Supernatural things are called that because they defy the laws of nature. They are not observable and verifiable as things in nature can be. The sky is blue. Rocks are hard. Your nose is attached to your face and your toes are on your feet. Birds lay eggs and fish live in water. You cannot argue with observable, factual things. Evidence is necessary in order to have universal belief. Even one tiny shred of evidence would convince a lot of skeptics. Yet, sadly, there is none. There is belief and there is faith but there is nothing that points to a god that is observable and that should be accepted as a universal truth.
The next time you hear a religious person crying out, “The end is near so you need to repent!” maybe ask them why they are being so loud. The truth is not loud. The truth doesn’t get in your face and tell you how wrong you are and how you need to change. Truth is quiet. Truth is neutral. Truth is always there, existing peacefully in the background of our lives. Why is there a need to go out and try to convince someone? Truth needs no backstory. Truth needs no interpreter. Truth is simply truth. Being loud is not equivalent to being right. The louder you are, the more desperate you sound and the less convincing you are. Where there is doubt, there is usually bravado to hide that doubt. Unsure people tend to try to convince other people in order to reassure themselves and push their doubts aside.
Religion is a belief system. It is not a system of understanding built on truth. Believe what you want to, but when evidence is lacking, it’s best to keep it to yourself. Spend some time in quiet reflection and ask yourself, “Why do I believe despite having no evidence to do so?”
“One’s convictions should be proportional to one’s evidence” – Sam Harris