One of the classes you slept through in High School was the one where you should have learned the Declaration of Independence. It’s a long document which explains why we should have burned Washington DC to the ground long before Trump even announced his campaign to for the presidency. But I digress. It begins thusly:
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
I’m sure you’ve heard this part several times, just before your eye lids got heavy and the room went dark. But have you ever wondered what the phrase “Self-evident” means?
Just like it sounds, self-evident means it is SO OBVIOUS that merely hearing it is proof enough. The evidence for the truth is the truth itself.
One great example of self-evident is the law of non-contradiction. All it says is that anything is itself, and nothing is something other than itself. Or, as Dr Seuss once said, “You are YOU!”
And just to be preemptive- if you plan to send me an email which says, “Oh yeah? PROVE IT!” Don’t bother. If you need someone to prove to you that you are you, you are too stupid to talk to. Just make yourself a sock puppet and spend time yelling at it for a while.
That’s the point of the concept of “Self-evident.” Even if you CAN find evidence to prove it, you don’t NEED to because the alternatives are SO RIDICULOUS that they may as well be impossible merely by definition. Some things which most people would accept as self-evident are thing like:
The existence of the physical world.
The existence of people/minds other than ourselves.
The existence of ourselves.
The fact that we think when we think we are thinking.
The fact that bacon is delicious.
The cuteness of bunnies.
Alvin Plantinga has argued, and many have said very well, that belief in God is what he calls properly basic- meaning it is a self evident belief that we are born with, just as belief in the external world is properly basic. Apologist Sye Ten Bruggencate argues from the Bible that all people KNOW God exists, and they know the God of the Bible exists. Sye just goes to Romans chapter 1 and reads,
“…men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
Which, when you look at it, does sound like Paul is trying to say what can be known about God is plain to them, and that they are without excuse. But that’s just my interpretation. However, former atheists who have become Christians always tell the same story- they find that coming to Christ is a seeing what was always there, and accepting what they really always knew. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a former atheist say, “I had NO IDEA God was there! I really thought atheism was true!” Maybe those people are out there, but I’ve not yet met one. They tend to be like people who are looking for their glasses, and come to discover they’ve been wearing them the whole time.
Don’t hate. We’ve all been there.
The rarity of Atheism is further proof of this concept. ALL Cultures have been theists. The whole human race for our entire history have been born knowing there was a “Higher power” or “Great Spirit” or “Jesus of Nazareth.” Some descriptions have been better than others, but they’ve all agreed that we are not merely matter, alone in the universe.
So I encourage you to ask questions, find answers, and examine the evidence, because I know you will eventually come to see what you already know and have suspected all along- God is there. That’s the truth- but even better than the truth is the good news that comes with it:
“For God so loved the world,[i] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Faith in God is reasonable. Science does show his fingerprints all over the universe. Seek, and you will find. And as always, remember that #JesusLovesYou