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This blog is all about all the things that make me up. I am a Mother, I am a Pagan Witch, I am a Wife, I am a homemaker, I am a student, I am Spiritual, I am a Teacher, I am Liberal Hippie, I am a Voter, and I am extremely opinionated! Plan to see it all! If you don't like what you see, feel free to leave! However, chances are, if you stick around, you'll find more to love than hate!

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Should Evidence Overrule Faith?

A few days back I was wasting time on Facebook when I found a comment about Religion stating that "Evidence is greater than Faith." The entirety of this comment's talked about how invalid faith is in today's world because we have science and evidence and no longer need it.  But this comment really struck me, I understand the posters viewpoint, but I find it greatly lacking.

My counter point is this -- Faith is not the issue. Faith is empowering.  It is faith that drives us to get up each morning. It's faith that allows us to love others.  It's what allows us to know that whatever we put out mind to, we can do.   The greatest example I can give my husband and I.  In 2006, my husband was struggling with drug addiction.  He went in to a rehab facility, but I knew the statistics of addiction relapse.  I knew that there is no such thing as "cured" when it comes to addiction.  Once an addict, always an addict.  But I knew my husband too. I knew he was strong.  And I knew if he truly wanted to make the change, he would.  But I had to have not only the faith that he would get clean, but that he really wanted to change and that he would stay clean long term.  Most women would resign themselves to being married to an addict, knowing and believing that he would go right back to the "old life" when he got home, or they would understand that he wouldn't change and they'd get out.  Either way, most women wouldn't stand by their man honestly believing their husband would fail and that addiction would win.  And the statistics say they would be right.  But I knew better. I had a great faith in my husband.  And although I always had the knowledge that things could go back to the way they were before, I never allowed that to shake my faith in him.  Today, he has been clean for just under 7 years. He has never had a relapse, never "fallen off the wagon." Against all odds, my husband has been clean 7 years now, as I always had faith that he would!

Thought to have been long extinct,
 the Coelacanth was discovered alive in 1938.
Evidence on the other hand, is questionable. I'm not saying we shouldn't accept evidence, but clearly we need to have faith that the source of such evidence is credible, and even then, there is a chance that they got it wrong.  There are any number of examples that I could turn to here...  But the one that comes to mind fastest is the Coelacanth.  The Coelacanth is an ancient fish, a relative of the lung fish, which was believed to have gone extinct in the end of the Creataceous.  Museums all over the world displayed fossil remains along with this information.  Scientific evidence all pointed to the extinction of this animal.  BUT, as it turns out, the fish was alive and well off the coast and in rivers of South Africa.  Until it was discovered in 1939 though, scientists, educators, museums, text books and so on, all taught that this creature was long gone.  Their belief was fully based on fossil evidence that they had, coupled with the fact that there was no valid proof to the contrary.

Of course there are a great many examples of times when the evidence was right, so it shouldn't be ignored. That's not where I'm going.  I'm simply saying that evidence should not be accepted blindly.  And with that - we go back to the idea of faith.  The problem with faith is NOT faith itself.  The problem with faith is BLIND FAITH.  Whether that blind faith is in a religion or science, it's dangerous.  Blind faith in religion has lead to persecution, religious wars, and murder.  Blind faith in science has lead to chemically laced foods, medically induced illnesses and disabilities, chemical warfare, cloning, and genetic engineering.

Faith itself, is not the issue. Especially when that faith is based on experience - even when that experience leaves no quantifiable proof.  Not everything out there can be weighed, measured and photographed.  But to discount those things which we have no measurable proof of simply because we do not have that proof is foolish in itself.  For example, science teaches us that there is no soul, no spirit, no after-life.  However, if you've seen a spirit or a ghost for yourself, felt it's touch, and heard it's voice, well, to disbelieve based purely on the fact that you have no physical proof which you can study doesn't make sense.  There are times when "proof" or "evidence" which can be shared with others is not altogether possible, but one should never discount their own experiences.  Those experiences, even though they can not be "proven" to others, are - or should be - your evidence, your reason for faith.

So you see, whether we are discussing spiritual or personal issues, basing your beliefs purely on "Evidence" still takes faith. Without faith, even evidence is useless.  And basing your beliefs on someone else's "evidence" disregarding even your own experiences is more than foolish, it's dangerous!

Above all, keep an open mind and remember to question both your faith and your evidence.  Remember that perfection does not exist and even the most solidly seeming "proof" can be flawed. Evidence, without faith, is useless and Faith, without evidence (even that which is based on personal experience) is often greatly misplaced!

PhotoCredit:  Gerard Lacz/Animals Animals -- Earth Scenes

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