We have discussed how the mind enables us to determine how closely a culture conforms to reality. Today I would like to identify the two primary ways the mind achieves this.
The first approach employed by the mind entails the rational processing of empirical data, facts that we observe and learn. This process enables us to identify realities across the spectrum of our material existence from medical science to figuring out the best route to take to work.
This process includes inductive reason: gathering and organizing facts regarding our existence. For example, we know that the sun rises in the East because we observe it doing so every day. It also include deductive reason, the application of logic to data. Using a combination of these rational processes we can reach conclusions that best reflect material realities.
The second path that the mind takes to determining the nature of reality starts with confirming the validity of the Bible through rationally processing empirical data. In other words, an open-minded examination of all the evidence will demonstrate the validity of Scripture. Of course, many would disagree. Nonetheless, I am convinced that an honest examination of the evidence will point in that direction.
One of many indications that the evidence leads to the Bible is found in the suppression of Christianity by nations embracing other religions while Christian allow freedom of expression to other religions. Hindus in India, Muslims in Saudi Arabia (and virtually every other Muslim nation), and Buddhists in Myanmar, (not to mention communists in the old Soviet Union and in Laos today and humanists in the United States), all sense the need to suppress the spread of Christianity. The reason seems to be that given sufficient information and freedom of choice, Christianity tends to be the preferred choice of humans almost everywhere.
The confirmation of Scripture via amassing and processing data constitutes a large sized project that goes beyond the scope of this blog. However many resources are available to serve this purpose. For example, the brief PowerPoint presentation on this website describes some of the basic reasons for embracing the Bible’s validity.
On the other hand, substantiating the validity of Scripture is not all that complicated. Consideration of the complexity of nature either scientifically or merely by simple observation compels us to conclude that there must be an intelligent, personal Creator. How much do you need to know about a hummingbird to conclude that one can’t result from time plus chance? It would make sense that such a personal Creator would communicate with His creation. It is not difficult to identify that communication as the Bible.
Therefore, the discovery of the validity of Scripture is within the reach of the common person. One need not be a scientist or philosopher. In fact, science and philosophy often prevent people from discovering the validity of Scripture, not because scientists and philosophers are more intelligent, but because frequently science and philosophy begin with the presupposition that Scripture is not true and bend their findings to support that position.
Some contend that the mind does not validate Scripture, but rather that we accept the validity of Scripture by faith. However, previously we have noted that the opposite of faith is not reason but sight. Therefore, supporting the validity of Scripture through a rational process does not exclude faith. It is totally reasonable to accept the validity of Scripture. However, believing in and committing oneself to the truths of Scripture requires faith because Scripture deals in the world of the unseen. It makes all the sense in the world to believe in God, but since He is unseen, committing our lives to Him requires faith.
Therefore, recognition that Scripture is valid constitutes the greatest discovery of the mind because it opens to us a new set of data related to that spiritual realm that vastly expands our knowledge of the world. This discovery reminds us of the experience of the children in Tales of Narnia when they walked through the wardrobe, entering a whole new world.
The next post will begin to unpack the significance of this discovery.