We humans are curious creatures. We don’t like to accept that things just are the way they are. We try to figure out the origin of all things and also their purpose. We can’t just let things be. We see something and instantly begin to recognize patterns. We draw from our past experiences to make inferences about new discoveries. We can then come to conclusions that we are fairly confident in. We have lots of experience in scientific discovery so we are able to rule out things that go against our knowledge or we withhold judgment until the proper investigations are completed.
This method is not only reasonable, it is the only honest way to decipher the world around us. If we are unsure of something, the best way to become sure (or reasonably certain anyway) is to test, test and test again. We need to rule out the absurd, the ridiculous, the implausible and the unprovable. To do that, we need to be diligent and not be taking someone else’s word for it without the evidence to back it up. It doesn’t matter if you trust that person or not. If there is no evidence available to examine and only the words on their breath, it is quite reasonable to be skeptical. It’s when you are not skeptical, when you are convinced based on nothing more than words, that problems arise.
I did not accept evolution for most of my life because I was taught that it was false science, invented only to deceive. I believed this based on the words of those I trusted who got their information from people they trusted and so on and so forth…all the way back to a book written thousands of years ago. Evolution, like many sciences we know of, has had extensive testing. It has demonstrable evidence. It is still tested to this day. It was not created to deceive, based only on the words written about it. In fact, proponents of evolution encourage people to dig deeper and see for themselves. They are not afraid of what people will find. The same goes with proponents of the Big Bang, the age of the universe and the true story of the dinosaurs. How about religion? Can religion say that? Is religion so confident that it is right, that it encourages independent research and investigation? No.
A life of religion (in my case, Christianity) requires turning a blind eye to the truth. It requires listening to those who have committed themselves to the story. It requires that you only use one unverifiable source that goes against your better judgement. The only way to conform to this religion is to agree that secular science is irrelevant. You need to agree that even though it is unprovable and implausible, God exists and created all we can see. Religion requires that you take your five senses (the only ones you have) and agree that they cannot detect God. You need to accept that the only methods we have to detect anything are not good enough. It requires you to believe that there is a supernatural sense that can not only detect God, but form a close personal relationship with him. You have to accept this with absolutely no evidence and without any possible way to prove it.
The way we get answers about our life, our world, our universe…is to study, then test and repeat. We employ reason to learn and grow. Reason and logic are how we come to accept truths and we use those truths to test future discoveries. When we suspend reason, we open ourselves up to superstition, ghost stories, magic and anything involving a supernatural realm. The only reason to suspend reason is our desire to live in a world separate from reality. The real world requires us to use our senses, use our logic and use our knowledge from previous discoveries to move forward and unlock the mysteries of our future. There is no good reason to abandon what we are born with and instead choose to believe that we are born with something more; something undetectable and unprovable.
If you choose to believe in something supernatural or “otherworldly” then that is your decision. Just know that you do so by going against all we know and are capable of knowing. We are all human, and as such, are all born with the same senses to observe the world around us. Believing that God bestows on some of us an extra sense while simultaneously keeping it from all others is not only absurd, but cruel as well. Some of us wanted that extra sense. Some of us wanted to believe against all odds and against all reason, but our human minds simply couldn’t allow it any longer.
It is not evil or sin that keeps us from believing. It is reason and logic. It is not our unwillingness to believe, but rather the lack of evidence. It is not that we want to be unreasonable and ignore the “truth”, but rather our reasoning that will not allow us to believe the unbelievable without good reason to do so.