As a fiction writer I’m familiar with legends and myths. My occupation requires that I spend considerable time in the make-believe. Fiction is a way to teach and learn truths without beating people over the head with them. It softens the experience, and in spite of it not being real, it is incredibly relatable. Sometimes the difference between fantasy and fiction become blurred. There is something that’s been on my mind lately. Sometimes there are difficult to explain or for some people downright unbelievable.
For the most cynical, nothing exists except for the stuff that can be proven repeatedly in a laboratory. These folks then in turn may criticize anyone who has a more open-mind. To be fair, I understand this point of view. People are not known to be reliable witnesses and often misremember things. Sometimes the truth is difficult to discern. However, we have all seen people making angry, jeering comments on the internet who dare to believe or believe in something they do not. These people justify their positions by saying “There is no proof!” Especially toward topics of religion, spirituality, the paranormal, or supernatural.
Anecdotal evidence may not be empirical, and is even unreliable to base entire beliefs off, but what if there are countless cases of anecdotes that have remarkable similarities? Should those be dismissed as well? A cynical person may say so, may point to the fact that coincidences don’t equate proof. Perhaps, but what sort of proof would there be for let’s say the afterlife? If someone is going to demand proof, he or she should know what sort of proof is required to be sufficient. Sure, NDE’s are seen my skeptics as nothing more than a chemical reaction in a dying brain. What about the cases where people saw the hospital room, described what the doctors said while unconscious? If that doesn’t count as proof or even a strong suggestion, then what would? How would an afterlife be proven? Would anything suffice to those who are absolutely certain it doesn’t exist?
People tend to base their beliefs off their upbringing, worldview, and psychology, not necessarily evidence. Certainly, there are exceptions though. If someone has decided unequivocally that something does or does not exist, it is rather difficult to convince that person otherwise. Ultimately, evidence may not be enough. Also, what is convincing to one person may not be to another.
Demanding proof for something, especially God or the afterlife is a bit ironic to me, since technically you cannot prove that anyone outside of yourself exists. Yes, that sounds like hokey mumbo jumbo, but we cannot know for absolute certainty that the people we know or the world around us as we perceive it is reality. No, this isn’t delving into the Matrix theory. The point is rather, there are things we take for grated every day, that cannot be proven. Do you love your spouse? Can that be proven? Yes, endorphins can be measured, and some would say that is proof of love. What if you have those endorphins but act like a jerk or are abusive to your spouse? Do you really love that person then? Love is more than chemicals, it is action.
Proof may not be subjective but how it is received definitely is. This isn’t about convincing the reader what is and isn’t real, but to hopefully shed light on the fact that it may not be the proof but the person’s worldview that keeps him or her from seeing things from a different perspective. It is simple to either believe everything or nothing at all, neither require thought and are realms of comfort. Just something for us all to think about.