Pentecost 54

Pentecost 54
My Psalm 54

Evidentiary & Cognitive Theory

Adam Beck trained as a psychoanalyst but was constantly asking: “What’s the evidence for that?” Theologians have been asking that question for centuries as have agnostics and atheists. Interesting, I feel, that this is the one unifying thing – the principle of evidence. Basically, evidence is anything presented in support of a statement. That said, however, there are all types and sizes of evidence – scientific, circumstantial, and, in Beck’s case, rational.

Legal evidence must conform to a set of standards. The information presented must comply with established guidelines in order to be admitted into the court proceedings. In life, however, evidence is that which we give credence to or deem important. Beck’s critics felt his preoccupation with “rational” meant that some things deemed irrational were actually healthy but, since they were not considered valid evidence, were disregarded.

Cognitive therapists work with a client or patient in order to determine to root of their thinking, the reason for such, and then how it can be used to improve the person’s life or, if seen as a barrier, then ways to overcome it and alter such thought processes.

Recently, Ramadan concluded. Monday, July 28th was the end of the Islamic holy time, a fasting period designed for prayerful insights and reconciliation. Israel honored this end with more bombing on their Islamic neighbors, by continuing the persecution Jews were subjected to throughout their history. Have they forgotten their own religion’s evidence of despair? Does the ownership of weaponry belie the lessons of their own cognition? Where is the evidence that violence solves anything, especially where religion is concerned?

Theocracy is a system of government based upon religious laws. The Vatican, most Islamic countries, and Israel are all theocracies of sorts. They might also be called nomocracies but then again, since a nomocracy is a system of government based on the rule of law, so are most countries. Yet, many would not be pleased to be compared as similar, though the evidence says otherwise.

Both Christianity and Judaism speak of a Messiah. The Christian Church feels he has already come while the Jewish Torah proclaims he has yet to appear. According to some branches of Islam, the Madhi is a Messiah who will appear to redeem mankind before the end of the world. It is worth noting that many have claimed to be the Madhi.

Spend a great deal of time with various Christian or spiritual communities and you will be asked to define that which is “holy”. Recently believers have been encouraged to find their own personal “holy” – a time for meditating, a place of comfort, a group for study and growth. The Holy Bible is the ultimate reference for such. The Hadith is a collection of sayings and life works from the prophet Muhammad, gathered and interpreted by Islamic scholars and Imams. The Halacha comprises the collective rules that govern the Jewish way of life and is gathered from the Torah as well as Rabbinic laws and traditions. They provide evidence of that which is holy for each culture and religion.

Evidence also involves that which is hearsay, can be authenticated, has reasonable doubt, is relatable, should be considered or admissible, and finally that which is convincing. Some evidence is written, some is called demonstrative, some administrative, and some exhibited or physical. The best evidence, though, is that which we show by our lives.

To proclaim a nation has the right by its “Love thy neighbor” faith to kill innocent citizens whose only crime is to be different, is contrary to the evidence of that faith. Cognitively speaking, it makes no sense. For Islamic anarchists to give themselves the right to take human life indiscriminately is to ignore the basic principle of Islam as expressed in the shahadah: “There is no god but God; Mohammed is a prophet of God.” All three religions believe that there is but one God and He has no partner or equal.

Where in the current bombings between Israel and Gaza is evidence of their faith? Where indeed is evidence of Putin’s acceptance of the demise of the U.S.S.R. in his dealing with Ukraine? How we live is the evidence which the world will remember. What we do today is the evidence and legacy we will leave. The evidence of our faith is how we love our neighbors.

My Psalm 54

Dear Lord, father of all, Help me, please.
I seek your help.
I am in danger; I fear for my life.
We are under attack, O God.
We are your children and we trust in your aid.
Our enemies are close; protect us, please.
I promise to be faithful, to live by your words.
You have delivered me, O God, and the wicked will perish.


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