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A Christian organization in New Jersey sponsored a mock trial on Feb. 8 to test the divinely important question of God’s existence, a test that directly contradicts the concept of Christian faith.
Trying to prove in court that God exists challenges the basic definition of faith, which C.S. Lewis described in his book “Mere Christianity” as “the art of holding onto things your reason has once accepted in spite of your changing moods,” meaning that once a person has accepted something in faith, that belief should not change with circumstances
The trial, organized by St. Paul Inside the Walls: Catholic Center for Evangelization at Bayley-Ellard, involved the fictional case of two siblings fighting over their Catholic mother’s $100 million estate. She questioned the existence of God toward the end of her life and left the issue to be decided by her children, a Christian and an atheist.
If the two siblings found that God existed, the estate would go to religious organizations. If God was found not to exist, the siblings would split the inheritance. They would receive nothing if they disregarded their mother’s intentions.
St. Paul Inside the Walls organized the event to encourage people to ask religious questions. The trial included some of New Jersey’s top attorneys who filled the roles for both the plaintiff and defendant.
While the idea of engendering religious discussion should be applauded, the question brought up in this fictitious case cannot be absolutely confirmed or denied. A higher power’s existence cannot be proven or refuted by solid evidence of the natural world. Even attempting to do so clashes with the concept of faith.
Facts and figures can only carry a person so far in his or her beliefs. Faith has to take over at some point, and for many that point arrived prior to the court’s decision.
The judge in this case decided to defer a judgement, which allowed those searching for answers to look back on the arguments presented.
This decision was wise since it is not feasible to expect or allow a court of law to choose a dogma or belief system in which a person should believe.
A trial that deals with evidence is a good springboard for discussions about why people believe what they believe, but it is not the place for faith to be proven right or wrong.