Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Belief and Perception?

Several years ago my daughter and I were at a park around the corner from our house. It was a beautiful day. Geese were swimming in the lake, the sun was shining, there the hint of spring in the lightly blowing wind, Makayla was swinging and I was pushing.

In those few moments of relaxation and peace my mind began to wonder. I allowed my senses to take in all that I could see, fell, touch, smell, and hear. A squeaky swing, a baking dog, the warmth of the sun on my face, the cool of the wind on my neck, my little girl’s giggle; In this moment I became overwhelmed by God’s love and presence.

“God, why don’t people believe in you?” I prayed. “Why can’t they see You? You are so evident in Your creation! How can people doubt You when creation screams so loudly for Your existence?”

I just didn’t get it. All the information is the same. Isn’t it? We have the same observable repeatable scientific data to consider. Don't we? We are all capable of having similar life experiences. Aren't we? We are all confronted with the same paradoxes of life which do not seem to have clear and easy answers. Why is it that some people look at the world around them and see compelling evidence for God while others look at the same world around them and see compelling evidence for denying the existence of God or a god?

How can two people, or two groups of people, experience the same “evidence” and come to opposing conclusions?

Is it possible that the answer to this question lies within our a priori assumption(s) rather than with the “evidence” we observe? Is it possible that our starting point of faith determines the subsequent point of perception?

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