Occam's Razor


I talk to all different kinds of people. Whenever I can, I ask them “Why are we here?” or “What is the meaning of life?” or “Do you have a Theory of Everything?” I’ve heard lots of very complex and hard-to-follow answers. Below, I'm not trying to explain the universe in one short article, but all the answers are in one really short book: the Bible. If it seems confusing and contradictory, Occam's Razor will help you understand it all. 

Unless you are in a coma, you naturally pay attention to reality. Most of us have theories about reality works and we try to convince others to believe it (and yes, that is what I am doing too). Often there are competing ideas, which starts a healthy discussion about which idea makes more sense. Basically, that is science. Occam’s Razor (also called The Law of Parsimony) is the accepted way of resolving the debate, so we can know “When there are two competing theories that make exactly the same prediction, the simpler one is better.” Like a razor, it cuts through the fog of superstition, gaslighting, self-serving falsehoods, prideful posturing, and those blind-men-and-elephant1 differences of perception. We don’t have to blunder, stumble and learn the hard way anymore.

If anyone claims that the Bible applies to real life, it’s important to respect how science operates. I am a scientist, but far more importantly, I am a Christian. I know a lot about science and a lot about Christianity, but I have met very few people that understand both of these subjects well. 

Like the KISS Principle (“Keep It Simple Stupid”), Occam’s Razor guides scientists toward simplicity. Jesus seems to have taught the same concept:

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him among them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you change and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. So whoever will humble himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name, receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to the person through whom the stumbling block comes!” (Matthew 18:1-7)   

Jesus respects a child-like faith, and the Bible answers all the questions that are put to it.2 But some assume that the person with greater authority wins all arguments. So if you’re not a Doctor of Theology (someone that studies the science of God) then you have to accept what they say.   

Theologians generally approve of science and generally view religion from a reality-based perspective, but generally don’t understand science. For example, God is Omnipotent (all powerful), Omniscient (all knowing) and Omnipresent (He can be anywhere throughout time), so by definition, He would certainly have the ability to hide Himself from scientific observation (Isaiah 45:15). Compared to that kind of authority, science becomes very limited. Science must be observable. So it’s easy to claim that the miracles described in the Bible must not be true since we cannot scientifically prove it (No Miracles = No God). 

They assume they can prove God doesn’t exist using reason alone. In this way, people throttle and choke the Bible until it bends to their will. Logically then, this is a Circular Reasoning Fallacy. But “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” Jesus is either liar, lunatic or Lord. Saint Jerome said:

The Scriptures are shallow enough for a babe to come and drink without fear of drowning, and deep enough for a theologian to swim in without ever touching the bottom. 

Too many of those theologians go to school with a child-like faith and end up becoming cynical atheists, or simply turn suicidal. Those that sacrifice most of their faith for some other theologian’s logic might plan to defer to Jesus when they meet Him, but at that point, children will be given more honor. Then what is the point of all those doctorates (1 Corinthians 3:11-20)? What about all the people with child-like faith that are misled because those theologians had the arrogance to doubt God? Like Jesus said, maybe it’s better to be drowned. Better than that, cut off your foot, or your hand, or gouge out your eye if it causes you to lose your faith (Matthew 18:8-9). Better still not to lose your faith (John 3:16).  

These doubts certainly trickle down to those “children” that sit in church. There are simple principles in the Bible that pastors routinely dismiss. Liberals often don’t like sin or its consequences (e.g. Romans 1:18-32). Conservatives often give a “mulligan” to greed and racism (e.g. Luke 12:15-21, Galatians 3:28). If you try to nail them down, they often use complex explanations that eventually contradict what the Bible teaches. Instead, God wants us to see how the Bible makes sense: 

The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these people were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. Therefore, many of them believed, along with a significant number of prominent Greek women and men. (Acts 17:10-12)

On WordLight, the Bible makes sense from cover to cover. Those that doubt this lack of contradiction should at least understand the simple, scientific answer before they reject it. They commonly tell us to ignore parts of the Bible, because nobody understands how it all fits together anyway. Supposedly, there are obvious contradictions that justify flexibility. So when their strange ideas keep ending up in mysteries, and they angrily say ‘Who are you to question God?’ (misusing Romans 9:20), you can tell them you’re not questioning God, you’re questioning them. Solomon said: 

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)

So when all the contradictions start disappearing, and respect for the Bible becomes the simplest answer, we are left with a Word that is far more wise than all humanity put together. 

2 Sometimes, we cannot learn the answers in the length of one life. There are even mysteries that God has hidden ramfrom us, for our own benefit, but I know of no serious question that is not answered by the Bible. 

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