Evidence: Experience Over Facts?

Evidence: Experience vs. Facts

This recent post by blogger Natasha Crain highlights some crucial points about the role that objective evidence should play in our understanding of reality. Natasha walks us through the way she processed the terrifying idea that she might have cancer. Through this experience, she saw some of the limits of trying to look at reality objectively all the time. Many times, especially in moments of hardship, even the most intellectual people are not interested in objective evidence. We often want to feel a more personal connection to reality than we can ever expect to get from the cold hard facts we see in apologetics.

While it is abundantly important to keep this in mind when talking to people who are going through dark seasons of life, Natasha brings to light the various ways in which objective evidence is crucial to clear thinking and conversation.

Personal experience is important to understand because many people actually say that the only evidence for Christianity they would find convincing is personal experience. If this is the case, discussing objective evidence with such a person may be futile. We can offer such evidence to them as a way to compare their feelings to reality, but we cannot end the conversation on the objective evidence if the person is hurting emotionally.

Furthermore, we can use apologetics to compare our own Christian feelings to the world as well. Whether it’s after an emotional religious experience or a traumatizing event in our lives, we may need to ask ourselves: is the way I’m looking at the world in light of my experience actually true?

We cannot neglect the importance of personal feelings in our conversations with nonbelievers or in evaluating our own convictions. The use of apologetics to test feelings against reality, regardless of one’s theological persuasion, can be an eye-opening experience.

Natasha says:

“Ultimately, confidence in the truth of Christianity—grounded in good evidence—gives people well-justified eternal hope that brings perspective to our (often tragic) negative experiences.”