I Reject Your Facts

Disclaimer…this isn’t a political blog. That being said, this was a line that caught my attention a few weeks ago. It’s not because I agreed or disagreed with the person who said it (again, not intending this to be a political view). It caught my attention because the sentiment behind the statement, “I reject your facts”, is one that we all share at times. There are times in our lives where we are faced with overwhelming evidence of something, and yet we reject it because we don’t want it to be true. The example I’ve used in classes I’ve taught in the past is the example of a sports player who clearly commits a foul and everyone in the building knows it. That player still tries to argue with the referee even though everyone in the building knows it was a foul. Just type “Blake Griffin uses iPad to argue a call” into your web browser and you’ll see a basketball player clearly hook and pull a player to the ground, then try to use an iPad to argue with the referee. What’s the point? Often times we believe what we want rather than what is clearly the truth based upon facts.
Human Nature and Belief
Human beings struggle to admit failure. Blaise Pascal once wrote, “We have an incapacity of proof, insurmountable by all dogmatism. We have an idea of truth, invincible to all scepticism. Two things instruct man about his whole nature; instinct and experience.” Pensees 396-397
His point is that evidence is something that people tend to avoid. Instead, he says experience and instinct are the two main motivating factors in a person’s life. I’ve seen that firsthand. It’s happened in classes I’ve taught where the evidence for a specific Biblical teaching is laid out plainly in the words of the Bible, but because a person has grown up believing something different, often influenced by family, that person will not agree to that Biblical teaching.
People will often believe something, not based on evidence, but based on experience, instinct, and I will add one more, emotion. Emotion is a huge factor when it comes to what a person believes. Going back to the example of a person who sees the clear evidence of a Biblical teaching and yet won’t believe it because they have grown up believing something completely different. Why won’t they believe the evidence laid out before them? I’ve noticed how often times it is because they are afraid of what their family or friends would say if they changed their belief. Even though they see evidence for something, they will not believe the evidence because they know that emotionally, it will cost them a significant price to change their beliefs.
Jesus speaks to this several times in his ministry. On one specific occasion he spoke these words. “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it (Mt 10:37–39). Jesus is telling us something that is true of any belief. Faith in anything is going to cost you something. It could cost you family, friends, a reputation, or even a career.
Despite evidence, people often defer to emotion when it comes to belief because they are afraid of what it might cost them to hold on to the truth. I’ll use this past week as an example. The Governor of New York issued a statement this past week after signing New York’s Reproductive Health Act saying, “Today we are taking a giant step forward in the hard-fought battle to ensure a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her own personal health, including the ability to access an abortion.
With the signing of this bill, we are sending a clear message that whatever happens in Washington, women in New York will always have the fundamental right to control their own body.”
What does the scientific evidence say about abortion? Any scientist would tell you that at conception there is human life. Feel free to skim or read “WHEN DO HUMAN BEINGS BEGIN? ‘SCIENTIFIC” MYTHS AND SCIENTIFIC FACTS’” by  Dianne N. Irving, M.A., Ph.D. She separates the scientific evidence from the “myths” floating around. So, isn’t abortion taking a human life, a.k.a. murder? According to science, yes. But to label abortion murder would be a difficult thing for a politician to do. It would mean potentially losing the votes of thousands, maybe even millions of voters. So belief and policy come about because of emotion. What can get votes? What can give people freedom to do whatever they want? What can give a person the possibility to live without consequences for their actions? Those are the determining factors when it comes to belief, not what does the evidence support.
Evidence for Forgiveness
Ok, so we all know that politicians will do whatever it takes and compromise even the lives of the innocent to get votes and stay in power. But all people reject facts to varying degrees. Christians aren’t immune to ignoring evidence. The words and evidence of the Bible suggest we should love all people regardless of their race, age, gender, social class, and even moral behavior. And yet, it doesn’t take long for me to scroll through the facebook newsfeed to see name calling and verbal abuse. I see people who say that God wants them to love all people, and yet they ignore that evidence based on their emotions.
We ignore what God tells us, and we ignore what he has done for us. If we ignore God, shouldn’t he just ignore us. If you read the words of the Bible you do see a God who has emotions. He gets angry time and again with people who ignore him. And yet, his response is that of love time and again. See the evidence for that in every page of the Bible. One could even make the case that is the main point of the entire book…man fails and God forgives.
The greatest evidence for his forgiveness is seen on the cross. It’s on the cross that God stopped at nothing to make sure that forgiveness would be brought to this world. The cross is the greatest evidence of man’s constant and continual failures, and God’s constant and continual love and forgiveness.
What’s all this evidence mean? When we see another person clearly doing something against all evidence we tend to look down on them, condemn them, call names or think bad things about them. I encourage you to do something other than rush to judgment. Instead, first remember that you and I do the same thing at times. It’s human tendency to judge and look down and think ourselves better than others. And despite that arrogance and ignorance, God still loved and forgave us. So when you see a person acting and behaving contrary to evidence see that they are confused. See a person who needs help, who needs the truth, and who, more than anything, needs Jesus.
It’s easy to reject facts and evidence for one’s own personal gain. Jesus’ cross reminds us to look to evidence first. Look to the cross and see the evidence of your own failures and need for a Savior. And look to the cross and see the patient love of your God. That’s something we all need when we deal with one another. When you see someone clearly rejecting the evidence, see someone who is searching for something with their emotions. They are searching for love, family, forgiveness, fame, etc… What they really need is the evidence that they have all those things and more in Jesus.