Do You Believe in Things You Cannot See? It is an interesting question and not one that too many think about in those terms. “Do you believe in ghosts?” or “Do you think there is life on other planets?” or any number of possible questions are asked which fall into the category of things you cannot see. There is the area of superstition. Does breaking a mirror result in 7 years bad luck? If you step on a crack, will that break your mother’s back? Does throwing salt over your shoulder bring good luck and are we in trouble if a black cat crosses our path? The band, “The Mummies” capitalized on this with their song, “Do You Believe in Things You Cannot See?” I am not recommending them as a band. At least some of their songs are vulgar but they did frame this question is an interesting way and it is a question which all of us should address at some point in our lives. Atheists and agnostics like to view Christianity as being just another superstition. But are they correct? Wikipedia defines Superstition:
Superstition is a pejorative term for belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any natural process linking the two events, such as astrology, religion, omens, witchcraft, etc., that contradicts natural science.
Opposition to superstition was a central concern of the intellectuals during the 18th century Age of Enlightenment. The philosophes at that time ridiculed any belief in miracles, revelation, magic, or the supernatural, as “superstition,” and typically included as well much of Christian doctrine.
The word superstition is often used pejoratively to refer to religious practices (e.g., Voodoo) other than the one prevailing in a given society (e.g., Christianity in western culture), although the prevailing religion may contain just as many superstitious beliefs. It is also commonly applied to beliefs and practices surrounding luck, prophecy and spiritual beings, particularly the belief that future events can be foretold by specific unrelated prior events.
Hmmm, does “belief in supernatural causality” automatically render a claim for supernatural causality superstitious? Does something which is not currently explainable by natural science necessarily “contradict natural science”? I would argue the answer is an unequivocal “no” on both counts. I think I will address the second question first. Natural science:
…are those branches of science that seek to elucidate the rules that govern the natural world through scientific methods
However, it starts with the unseen and untestable. Christianity asserts that all which came into being was created from nothing by God Who exists uncreated outside of space and time (both of which are a part of creation) but called all created things into existence. Natural Science, on the other hand, views this claim as religious superstition and asserts in its place that in the beginning was nothing which for no apparent reason exploded into everything. Both views are creation stories which are unseen (no human was present at the moment of creation and there is no video or digital recording of the event). Both claims are one-time occurrences in the past and are not reproducible and therefore are by definition untestable. Natural Science cannot test something which happened in the past but only what is happening in the present. Many things which happened in the past are happening in the present or can be reproduced and tested. Singular past events must be examined in other ways. Simply ruling out an intelligent creator because science cannot test the creation event in the present is not a legitimate reason to reject the claim. This is not only true for the creation account but Christians, if they are going to be consistent, must grant the same is true for the creation story the high priests of science who interpret the holy word of Natural Science to buttress the faith of their followers. There are ways to test both claims though which involve logic, reason, ancient evidence which still exists in the present and even science. This also helps us to answer if a claim of supernatural causality automatically renders the claim superstitious.
Parmenides first argued that Nothing comes from nothing and science has proven this repeatedly. We cannot point to a single example of something springing forth from nothing, by nothing and for no apparent reason. Science cannot even test and demonstrate how the universe came into existence from nothing, by nothing for no apparent reason but must simply believe it is true. They cannot test how life sprang forth, unguided and uncaused once the earth came into existence. Some have tried to argue that scientists like Dr. Craig Venter have created life in the laboratory. Actually, I rather enjoy this claim and point out that this really proves the creation story not the evolutionary story. That is often met with a quizzical look, so let me explain. The creation story begins with an intelligent creator whereas the evolution story begins with unguided time plus chance plus nothing. Which does the creation of life in a laboratory support? Well, Dr. Venter is, I assume intelligent. At least the work and money he invested in his education and the resulting degrees would suggest that he and others at least belief he has intelligence. Therefor, any life that that may have been “created” in the laboratory was designed and guided by an intelligent scientist. This was done in a sophisticated lab which had a controlled environment for an optimal possible outcome. In addition, the “life” did not just spring forth from nothing it was “created” from pre-existing material, then transferred “into an empty cell” after which it multiplied. Everything about this scientifically demonstrates in the present the need for an intelligent designer in the past. In other words, even though we cannot see the Creator, we can know of His existence. The writer of Hebrews understood this and wrote:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (Hebrews 11:1-3)
We can believe in things we cannot see if there is evidence which provides a basis for that belief. Do you believe in things you cannot see? I do.