What if empirical evidence and logical arguments were not the best way to prove something to be real or true? This is a thought that has been blowing my mind recently.
In the West, we live in a time where Reason is the prime source of authority or truth. We are still living in the culture produced by the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, the Scientific Age. We are in the midst of a culture that evaluates any theory, hypothesis, assumption on the basis of reasonable evidence. "Where's the proof?" our world demands.
If something can be proven - if one can demonstrate the reality of a concept, object, or person by presenting proofs that can be tested by scientific means, then this concept, object, or person must be real, or right, or true.
This worldview is all around our culture in the West. Some of our favorite television shows are CSI, Law & Order, Bones, Lie to Me, Numb3rs, Big Bang Theory etc. Each of these is based on the search for truth through scientific means (although some question the "science" of social sciences like psychology or sociology). It has influenced, quite possibly, every area of study. It has even proven very helpful in the areas of Theology and Biblical Scholarship.
But what if Reason were not the basis for truth or reality? What if something could be real simply because it is. To make a variation of Decartes, "It is, therefore it is."
Gravity existed and worked on our world before it was discovered or defined. The wind blew long before meteorologists were able to predict weather patterns.
Many have been approaching New Testament Theology in the last several decades through the lens of Reason - looking for the historical reality behind the text. No doubt, some great insights into the Christian Scriptures have emerged because of this historical approach. While movements like the Jesus Seminar and the Quest for the Historical Jesus have occasionally taken historical criticism too far, historical criticism has great contributions to Christian Theology.
But what if Jesus really was born of a virgin? What if his miracles all really did happen? What if he really was resurrected from the dead? I'm not talking about a blind faith in something that I hope that happened. I'm not trying to imply that Christians should be mindless individuals who disregard logic. But what if these events are historical realities?
If these events are historical realities and God actually exists, then perhaps the means by which we measure truth should be reevaluated. Statement's like "that's scientifically impossible" would hold absolutely no weight. If it happened, then it's possible. Instead of trying to explain these events in scientific terms, perhaps science should be changed to accommodate these historical realities.
The point of this blog is not to be a apologetic for Christianity or the historicity of Scripture. I really just want to pose the question: what if science is an incomplete or imperfect way to measure reality? What if our model for deciding rightness or realness is a flawed model? What if there were some other method to measure the reality of existence?
I am not simply stating that science has not yet explained all the mysteries and history of the universe, as any scientist would freely admit - Science doesn't know everything. I am trying to ask what if it is impossible for Science to explain the universe. What if there was truth - actual realities - that were unexplainable by science? What if some concepts, forces, objects, people, deities are real and actual that cannot be explained by science? If something is real it does not simply become unreal or nonexistent because Reason cannot explain it. "It is, therefore, it is."