Legal Apologetics: Principles Of The Law Of Evidence As Applied In The Quest For Religious Truth. -- By: Henry Hock Guan Teh

Journal: Global Journal of Classical Theology
Volume: GJCT 05:1 (Jul 2005)
Article: Legal Apologetics: Principles Of The Law Of Evidence As Applied In The Quest For Religious Truth.
Author: Henry Hock Guan Teh


Legal Apologetics: Principles Of The Law Of Evidence
As Applied In The Quest For Religious Truth.

Henry Hock Guan Teh

Introduction

Is there any exhaustive proof for the existence of God or the claims of a particular faith? If in the sense that such evidence must be 100% beyond a shadow of a doubt with scientific and mathematical certainty, then the answer would be undisputedly and absolutely in the negative. All my non-Christian friends responded with a silent and rendering a blank stare when I asked them, “What do you mean by 100% proof?” or “What are the absolute criteria or circumstances that can fully convince you that Jesus is the way to God?” Often after giving them some time to search their mind, I would interrupt their gawky silence by asking whether they would be 100% sure and convinced as the best evidence if I bring God or Jesus down from heaven now and introduce to them. Almost all of them agreed that there would still be room for doubt.

They are right (although not absolutely) because all of the historical events or our daily activities we rely on could not be proven beyond any shred of a doubt with precise certainty. No one single case in the court of trial can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. That is why the standard of proofs in the courts is either proof beyond a reasonable doubt for criminal cases or balance of probability for civil matters. Even if the accused pleaded guilty, one may not be absolutely sure that he actually committed the crime. The confession may be caused by various factors and circumstances such as some form of duress, necessity for confession to escape pressure, doubt their own memory and temporarily believe in their guilt because of disorientation, admission of an offence committed without understanding the substance of admission, interrogative suggestibility which affect that subsequent behavioural response, or merely they are just a compulsive confessor.

The philosopher David Hume gave the answer to that a couple of centuries ago, when he said that even if someone came back from the dead and lived on earth again and was seen by millions, he still would not believe—because according to Hume, God simply doesn’t work miracles and no amount of evidence would ever convince him. Even if we had films of the Resurrection or tape recordings of the Risen Lord speaking to His disciples, people would always say they were faked, or interpret them in another way.1 With such man’s natural attitude and the limitation of any earthly methodology for obtaining absolute proof, the suggestion of procuring 100% evidence is ruled out.

In these circumstances, the pivotal question is how could one decide to commit without absolute proof? Even without sufficient proof, belief was the wisest bet, as ...

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