Science Versus Religion and the Inconvenient Search for Truth

Solor flareThe biggest problem with the science side of the science-versus-religion argument is that nearly all people pick and choose their favorite scientific discoveries to believe in.  That is, we throw out all the research results that are inconvenient to ourselves, personally, and find conviction in the ones (or none) that justify our own biases and behaviors. Conviction is not truth.

The biggest problem with the religion side of the science-versus-religion argument is that nearly all people pick and choose their favorite religious doctrine to believe in.  That is, we throw out all the commandments that are inconvenient to ourselves, personally, and find conviction in the ones (or none) that justify our own biases and behaviors. Conviction is not truth.

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Why the Supreme-Court Argument from Trumpers Doesn’t Work

2010 Supreme Court photo

The only half-valid argument I have heard in support of Trump is in regard to appointing Supreme Court justices.  That is, if you fear who Clinton might try to appoint, vote Trump.  And, yet, I still find this half-valid argument totally naive and, especially, totally insane when it comes from Trump supporters.  Anyone who actually-really-truly cared the teensy-weensiest bit about this part of our government would know from recent events alone that the President isn’t the ultimate authority on appointing justices.  If that were true, President Obama would have replaced Justice Scalia already.  Hello!

No, if you really care about Supreme Court justices, pay attention to your Senate races as well.  Senators share the ultimate authority with the President.  The republicans in power in the Senate at this very moment are proving that (and stupidly so, in my opinion).  If they can block justice appointments for a year, they can block them for four years.  (Personally, I won’t be voting for any politicians who ever supported Trump because they obviously take our government no more seriously than rooting for their favorite football team.  Paul Ryan really let me down here when I once had good hope that he wouldn’t.  In my own state, Richard Priem will never get my vote.)

As Christian as I am in my personal life, I am also a patriot when it comes to government.  As such, I believe that a judge should be neither left nor right.  Their only dogma while on the bench should be the law as it was intended by the writers of the law.  Justice Scalia was an excellent model of that and it was a sad day for our country when he died.  Thus, this is how the Supreme Court appointment logic breaks down for me:

  • Clinton + republican Senate = moderate justices
  • Clinton + democratic Senate = left justices
  • Trump + republican Senate = unpredictable: likely loony left or loony right
  • Trump + democratic Senate = loony left justices

Therefore, in the justices argument, Clinton plus a republican Senate has the best odds of appointing a justice I can believe in and Clinton has the best odds overall of appointing a justice I can respect, left or right.  And, yet, I haven’t even gotten to the real insanity of the Trump argument.

Our government has become superhuman… and part of that is that the justices are acting like law makers and congress is acting like judges.  This is the heart of the bigger issues for me and justice appointments are just one part of the many problems.  Clinton will likely continue to make this worse, so I can’t vote for her regardless of the likely justice advantage over Trump.  Trump, however, wants to be executor, law maker, and judge — in other words, a dictator — and I certainly can’t have that.  His ideal judge would be a puppet.  By his own words, little about our Constitution is safe with Trump.  That is the real insanity of this.

But, who am I kidding? Those who are dug into supporting Trump can’t be woken up to the reality of what exactly Trump is promoting just like all other fanatics throughout history couldn’t be woken up in their day.  I have just as little hope in talking sense with them as anyone else ever did with Hitler and Mussolini supporters in the past.  No, fanatics like this will happily march off a cliff before even remotely considering how insane or evil their loyalty is.  Thus, it is entirely not surprising that all I hear from Trump supporters is hate speech in their proselytizing.  Their own words betray them.  Their own words clearly indicate that they don’t believe in the basic freedoms our Constitution was written to protect.  They want some country other than the United States of America.  Curiously, I believe in their right to want a different country, I just personally wish they would go and do it somewhere else because it shows no respect for those who died for this one.  At a minimum, they should do it more respectfully.

To be fair, I think many on Clinton’s side, and Clinton herself, don’t want the country the Constitution describes either, but I also have a more general hope for them and other Americans than I do for the raging Trumpers.  Yesterday’s America believed in teaching a man to fish.  Today’s America just wants to give a man a fish and declare their job done so we can get back to our selfish lives.  The rampant entitled sense of the poor today did not create itself.  No, the misguided selfishness of today’s do-gooders created that entitlement monster.

So, what to do? Why am I writing this? I don’t know.  Self-therapy maybe.  The idea that 25% of America is dug into Trump is hugely depressing.  I had though better of Americans.  Maybe I will reach a few fence sitters.  Probably not.  I don’t have much of an audience.  All I can really do is press on and never give up on seeking the truth and doing the right thing, as best as I can know and do it.  I will not be voting for Trump or Clinton or Johnson or Stein.  I will vote for what is right and, if I cannot find it, I will vote for none of the above.  Those of you who call me hateful things because of this, your words reveal who you are inside… just like my frustrated words about the fanatic followers of dictators and bullies reveal who I am inside.  I am quite confident that any justice Clinton may try to appoint would be a much greater friend than any raging Trumper.

At the end of the day, I often find all of this fairly insignificant because global warming appears to be a much greater threat now than our broken, superhuman government.  After you vote, go home and stock your cupboards.

“The Book of Mormon is false because…”

A photograph of the 1841 First European (London) edition of the Book of Mormon, at the Springs Preserve museum, Las Vegas, Nevada.The Book of Mormon is false because of the several “major” changes between printings.

That was the gist of a comment that caught my attention today on YouTube under this video:

Book of Mormon Evidence by an Archaeologist

The following was my response.  I felt it worth sharing wider:

To apply your point more generally, I can paraphrase it with this question: If God is real, why would He let scripture regarding Him become corrupted by man?  This is always an excellent question.  To be fair, however, we have to put our fears and biases of the truth away and apply all questions to all sides equally — something very hard for any man to do and pretty much impossible for anyone with a contentious agenda to do.  Losing my fear of finding truth in strange places is something I am continuously working on myself while seeking out all sides to all arguments.  The hardest part is putting contention away in order to simply listen.  That kind of pride is a truly evil beast that is in even the best of us.

Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon suffer from changes and/or mistakes made by man over time.  The mistakes made by man in the BOM are known by the LDS church and, apparently, they are not concerned… more or less because they believe the true word comes through the spirit and not any book alone.  Their god is complex and cannot be represented by our imperfect languages.  Anyone who really, truly, honestly, wants to know more about the different versions of the BOM should seek out the exhaustive study on all versions done by Royal Skousen.  Perhaps, the biggest mistake he uncovered is that the book of Mosiah appears to likely be missing the first two chapters.  (And I’m not talking about the lost book of Lehi.)  One would be hard pressed, however, to prove that any of these “major” changes were intentional or that they change the overall message significantly.

The Bible, on the other hand, is undergoing rapid and significant changes nowadays — one person or group claiming they have a better understanding of this or that ancient text than some other person or group.  Even among ancient texts, such as the early codices, there are differences.  Thus, to hold the Bible and the BOM to two different standards would be the way of foolishness in my world.  Today, one will find far more difference in meaning between the different modern English versions of the Bible than one will between the different English versions of the BOM.

To take either one absolutely literally in all things, knowing there are mistakes of men in those words, is also foolishness.  Even the prophets themselves, the one’s who recorded the words given to them from God, likely added their own imperfections to the words they spoke to the people and to what was recorded.  Moses knew he was not eloquent and, apparently, God did not force him to be so when speaking as a prophet, allowing his brother to be his spokesperson instead.  God teaching a prophet what to say does not mean verbatim dictation as far as I understand it.

Anyhow, back to my introductory question as to why God lets us make these mistakes to His scriptures, I can’t say I have a definitive answer (of course).  I believe in a complex god who lets us make mistakes on all levels and who works in mysterious ways.  The only perfect man on this planet was Jesus and, even he, was human enough to probably stub his toe once in a while.  Jesus wrote no scriptures himself that I am aware of and this just adds further doubt to such a concept as perfect scripture, let alone, complete scripture.  Just because the works of God are perfect doesn’t mean that everything is recorded perfectly once run through the human filter.

Therefore, the story behind the different versions of BOM looks to be something like this: Royal Skousen does a pretty good job of showing evidence that the first transcript of the BOM in English was curiously detailed and thus, possibly, if you care to believe it, a perfect translation of the original text (which is not to say the original text was perfectly recorded either).  Then, however, came a second manuscript, copied from the first, to be sent to the printer.  That copy was a work of men and introduced many errors.  Some of those errors were caught and corrected but even some of the corrections had errors.  Little of the first manuscript remains so the accuracy and origins of the corrections to the printer’s manuscript is difficult to prove.  Anyhow, the printer then introduced more errors when typesetting it.  Some of those were caught and fixed (maybe incorrectly so).  And so on and so forth.  Joseph Smith was not a perfect man — the LDS church has never claimed so — and, apparently, his proofreading skills were not perfect either.  I fail to see, however, how this proves that he was not a prophet when applying all things equally to all probable prophets of God.

Hey! America! Stop being a lazy idiot and do something meaningful!

sl-shadowA society cannot choose to endorse some sins and expect to leave the others behind.  You choose one, you choose them all.  Duh!  To the point, you cannot choose to legalize and promote things like lust, drug use, greed, and pride, and expect to remain free from slothfulness and selfishness.  Double duh!!

Right now, there seems to be a war on cops.  Why?  Because we asked for it.  We all asked for it.  The rich and the academic upper crust opened the door to not only sin but also to entitlement to sin, and now the poor are paying the price of wanting the same freedoms to sin.  Entitlement to entitlement.  The leaders of our country have failed us because we have failed to ask our leaders to hold us accountable to any commonsensical direction.

The rich look at the riots of the poor and wonder how the poor can feel entitled to break into their neighbor’s business and steal stuff just because someone pissed somebody else off.  Lose a sporting event, however, and it’s not just the poor or uneducated looting and burning their neighbor’s castle is it?  We are like the father who let his teenage daughter go out clubbing alone in a foreign country and then wonders why she disappeared, likely murdered.  Why are we not all pointing our fingers at the father who failed to be a leader and protector when he let his daughter walk alone into risky behavior?  Similarly, we should all point fingers at ourselves when the obvious source of the poor’s sense of entitlement is all of us!

Just look at ourselves.  Look closer!

I see a man bullying a shop owner and taking whatever he wants.  Then, later, when he is walking in the center of the street like he is immune to any civil rules, he is confronted by a cop is somehow shot and killed.  Am I really supposed to then feel sorry for him?  Seriously?  When his parents cluelessly claim he was a good boy and didn’t deserve to die, am I suddenly supposed to forget that he was a bully who felt entitled to steal from his neighbor and then ignore the police?  When I’m wondering how his parents could fail so stupidly in seeing that their son was a bad person and that perhaps they, themselves, failed as parents… I then must look closer and wonder where the role models were for these parents.  I look around and see politicians, businessmen, and even religious leaders being accused of major crimes and all of them claiming innocence.  Where has gone the man who can stand up and say right from the start “Yes, I did it. It was terrible of me to do this and I’m sorry. No excuses.”

I see the media being completely uphelpful and possibly even evil in their spin.  I see a cop trying to manage a situation at a pool party that looks unmanageable.  I then see Wolf Blitzer become the first of the star personalities on CNN to edit the video to make it look more sensational. Previous to Wolf coming on the air we could seen the officer being taunted by other men and then, when one of them reaches for his back pocket, the officer draws his weapon.  Hey!  Duh!  Isn’t that what officers are trained to do?  If someone was in my face and then appeared to reach for something unseen, what would I do?  I would not respond well, I’m sure.  But Wolf, apparently, is better than that and is the first on CNN to edit the taunting out so it appears the cop pulled his weapon without provocation.  CNN is all too happy to report on the manhandling and the draw but I don’t think I ever heard any news source mention the taunting.

I see the media being completely unhelpful in their spin.  I see a mother smacking her boy upside the head several times for trying to join a riot.  We cheer her attempts to teach right from wrong.  Yet, any smacking of kids not justified like this by video is reported as abuse by the media.  This has given kids all the power in knowing how to make their parent’s lives (and other adult lives) miserable simply by whining a bit to the right people or by taking video out of context.  When we see video of a belligerent teenager being manhandled by a cop, we cry foul again for some reason I still don’t quite get.  And, yet, we have to listen, once again, to a parent claim how sweet their child is.  Barf.  Why bother trying to raise a child anymore?  America has become a stupid place for raising children.

I see the media being completely unhelpful in their spin.  I see a law breaker not cooperating with the police and eventually being taken down by a hold that restricts blood supply to the head (and should not restrict the air supply as reported).  Watch that video again and really look at it.  Break it down play by play.  I am absolutely positive that you will see that the officer releases this supposed “choke hold” much sooner than what you remember the media telling you.  Yes, some tragic things can happen when you don’t cooperate with the cops but, then: Is it really the cops’ fault then when things go bad?  Sometimes, yes (as in 16-rounds or rough-ride or 20-tazings yes), but other times, no.  Be smart about what the media spins to us.  Do we really want to be a bunch of whiners like the black guy I heard on the media lamenting that now he has to teach his children to be cooperative around the cops if they don’t want trouble? Duh! I’m pretty sure that’s what my parents taught me and I’m white!  Is that where we went wrong?  African Americans stopped teaching that?  Again, look closer, all of America stopped teaching that when we started teaching entitlement.  Just ask any school teacher these days if the parents are any better than their entitled and whiny children.  Likely not — it appears to me most of us are promoting entitlement in our children — and likely by example.

I see all traditional religions under attack.  If religion is popular at all any more they are the ones that create their own gods — gods that are okay with our chosen set of legalized sins such as lust, drugs, greed, and pride.  Whereas, I’m pretty sure the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Quran, Guru Granth Sahib, etc. all have teachings against lust, greed, and pride.  But, no, in America today it is more important that you embrace your temptations as your right to identity than it is to overcome your temptations to be a better person.

If I have a temptation to sleep with anything that moves then, dammit, that is part of my identity and I have a right to it!  Even if I wreck my family to claim it, I not only have a right to it, I also have a right to be loved by America for my struggles to embrace my “true” identity.  America sees a gay cowboy to feel sorry for in the Brokeback Mountain story.  Ugh, we’re screwed.  I see a Bruce-Jenner-like man that abandoned his family and probably deserves the loneliness the story gives him.  We’re so screwed.  America wants me to embrace by my hidden sexual temptations/orientations (believe me, they are there) and become a home wrecker instead.  We’re so… so screwed!

I suspect most traditional religions have something similar to the idea that idleness is of the devil.  And, yet, here we are with idle populations running rampant in America and the rest of us bickering about it when these populations are only our own creation.  With the drive promoting the absurd notion that everyone must go to college to succeed, we have killed off all the skilled labor training programs we used have in the middle of the last century.  Those who don’t want to go to college no longer have a path for success and, thus, languish in idleness.  We all broke it, not they.  We are so obsessed about college these days it has become another entitlement with lots of cushy amenities.  Even if someone (such as I have) builds a meaningful life without a degree, they will still not be able to even submit an application to many jobs they are otherwise qualified for; purely because they do not have a degree — some online application systems don’t allow submissions to go through without a degree.

In all this madness to persecute religion and legalize sin I see even the Supreme Court of the Unites States guilty of populism.  In 1890 the Supreme Court decided the federal government could define what marriage is (and even what type of cohabitation is allowed) — because it was popular to hate Mormons at the time.  In 2015, however, the Supreme Court decided the federal government cannot define what a marriage is — because it is currently popular to hate all traditional Christians, who are believed to hate gays, even though such hate would hardly be Christ like.  (And, somehow, the Acts of Congress in the 1800s defining against a Mormon view of marriage still stand.)  I’m so confused.  With our government so easily swayed by populism, we should change our motto to “In God we don’t trust” or “In celebrities we trust.”

Look at ourselves.  Look closer!  With both media and government promoting hate, lust, drugs, greed, and pride, it’s our own idiotic fault slothfulness and selfishness are rampant.

So, get off your butts and do something!  Do something meaningful.  Do something for your country.  Don’t base your vote for leaders on selfish parameters.  Do something right.  Be vigilant.  Be bold and report crime.  Don’t be a wuss.  Don’t give terrorists a place to hide.  Be a good person and be a better parent.  Be a role model of good things and not a role model of idiocy.

Hey!  America!  You make me sick.  Stop it.

Why did I name Bruce Jenner and no one else (except, maybe, Wolf Blitzer and CNN)?  Because he premeditated and publicized the selfish entitlements he claimed which opens him up for direct commentary.  I can’t say for sure any of the others did.


What do handguns have to do with the right to bear arms?


Second Amendment: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

We could outlaw all handguns and still maintain the right to keep and bear arms.

Furthermore, we could require all military rifles to be kept under double lock and key in registered organizations thus preventing any single person lone access to a military rifle.  To be clear, no organization should be denied permission to keep these arms no matter how radical they may be.  This should be adequate to meet the demands of the Second Amendment for militias to form and defend against tyranny.

As a result, the only firearms that should be found in personal possession are hunting rifles.  My question here is: How many rounds does a hunting rifle really need per load?  I say limit them to 3 rounds per load/clip.  I can’t think of a good reason for more than that except, perhaps, with shotguns and bird hunting.

With regards to the self-defense arguments… “Grow up!”  I am fairly certain everyone who signed the Bill of Rights would tell you the same.

Letter to an Atheist

This is written as a response to an interesting blog post I read on an atheist website. This grew too long to leave as a comment to the post so I am instead publishing my response here and will later link them together. The atheist’s post is found here:

To the blogger known as Serotonin Wraith,

My latest bumper sticker design says this: Question Everything.

If I may, it appears to me that you need a more-informed Mormon friend to help you understand what we understand. Someone to ask hard questions of and get an unvarnished intellectual response from. Perhaps, for a start, feel free to read my other blog posts and comment.

It has been 5 years since your post so I hope you are still out there.

Over my life, I have questioned every interesting question that you bring up in your post. I have thought every interesting thought posted there. Well, okay, maybe not exactly, but pretty much. And, yet, I am still a Mormon. Mormonism makes theological sense, logical sense, and, curiously, scientific sense.

I don’t have space or time here to answer every detail you bring up but many of the answers I might have presented can be summed up by the ancient phrase “God helps those who help themselves.” To understand how that works, however, can be difficult, and it is often misunderstood. You see, belief in God is a test of faith, not a test of fact. That is the whole point of this Earth. That is the test all of us are taking right now on this planet.

Some may call it a paradox and, well, so what if it is? Aren’t tests often paradoxical? The more you have faith, the more you see how faith works. You, however, must take the first step – God rarely proves himself to unbelievers (asking for such proof is called tempting God). Besides, evidence is that those who ask for such proof don’t change after receiving such proof anyhow.

Now, more to your points. First, the Mormon who told you to “ask God to let you know the Mormons are right” is just plain silly. The more obvious first step is to seek the existence of God regardless of any faith. Then, once you’ve found that communication line to the Holy Spirit, then ask God what’s what. Don’t just ask him about the Mormon Church – we are not so narrow minded to really want to seek new members that way. Ask him about all churches; ask him about the Bible; ask him about the Book of Mormon; ask him about the Koran; heck, just talk to him like the father he is and ask him anything. Then, once you’ve opened your soul to his voice, you will hear him and you will then know it is nothing like any trick your brain can play on you. This experience is somewhat like discovering a whole new dimension in the universe, and it saddens me that many of my friends, family, and coworkers cannot touch it like I can. Some people are better than others at exercising this gift, all are capable of receiving it.

I explain this because I completely agree with the analogy of imagining scraping your fingernails down a plate and experiencing shivers. That is, I agree that if the brain can do this then it can also create other waves of emotion when looking for a god. I agree that “these waves of emotion are no indicator of a god being real at all.” Yes, I see many who do indeed experience belief in God in a similar brain-induced manner. Yes, even other Mormons. My point, however, is that when you receive the gift of looking at the world through God’s dimension (for lack of better words) you will then know the difference between your Heavenly Father versus other gods. (And you will also know why Mormons have trouble finding words to describe the dimension we call the Voice of the Holy Ghost.) This new view of things makes it much easier to tell the charlatans (followers of religions made by man for man) apart from the saints (followers of the religion made by God for his children).

Yes, we brainwash our kids. But you seem to have overlooked that brainwashing kids doesn’t really work that well, and that kids tend to grow up… and even rebel. I have yet to meet another adult Mormon who was successfully brainwashed as a kid into being a Mormon. They don’t exist. Satan persecutes us too hard. We all experience tough trials of faith and many go astray. Yet, somehow, many come back. I, myself, completely wrecked my life once because I thought I was too smart to need to take everything I knew about Mormonism as seriously as I should have. Had I not been given good intellectual tools during my “childhood brainwashing” to use to seek a broader enlightenment, I may not have made it through those troubled times as well as I did. Remember my mantra? Question Everything. This, of course, includes your faith… and, especially, God himself.

The church where I live consists primarily of converts in the adult population and not people born into the church. I believe this is where most of our growth rate comes from worldwide. From what I understand, most people find us because something was bugging them about another religion and/or about life in general. People come to us seeking answers to difficult questions. Yes, a few want blind faith, but not many in my estimation. You see, something is telling them in their soul that something may not be right about the teachings of another religion. Often, they are correct that something smells funny – as you and other atheists well know!

Most religions offer some truth. Mormons admit that easily. Those truths being taught in those other religions are a good thing for society. Mormons, however, know they offer more truths than any other religion on the planet – not because we have made up better answers – but because when we don’t have an answer, we ask God for it. Sometimes he gives us the answer, sometimes he makes us wait until we deserve the answer. This is why Mormons have more scriptures than just the Bible alone. We seek more answers, more guidance. Some things in life get more difficult as society progresses with newer and better technology. What kind of God would not continue to guide us through these hard times?

This brings me to the biggest challenge to your logic: How can you know something doesn’t exist if you haven’t looked for it? You appear to have done exactly what you accuse religious people of. You accuse us of not looking for the natural cause of events. Yet, have you seriously tried looking for God’s hand in all events? When you were asked to pray about Mormons (as silly as I find that wording), did you? Were you open about it? Perhaps you have tried some searching trough other churches, but have you met with our missionaries (or chatted anonymously at and tried the Mormon way?

I can tell you that I have seriously tried explaining all events in my life through known science and circumstance alone. I HAVE TRIED THIS… I CONTINUE TO TRY THIS… AND I ALWAYS FAIL TO EXPLAIN IT ALL BY SCIENCE ALONE AND ALWAYS LAND BACK AT MORMONISM! You, have tried no such thing in the reverse as far as I can tell. From my perspective, your world is flat and mine is round. To me, it appears, you fear the discovery of God exactly like the old Catholics feared the discovery of a round planet that circles the Sun… and will likewise persecute those who search otherwise. Proving the world is round was no easy task while fighting the church; finding the one true God in today’s society isn’t easy either. I have dared to take that leap of faith to discover what else is out there. Have you? Please, I beg you, do so now! Your Father is waiting for you.

True, I have not dug into all other religions like I have dug into Mormonism and thus, I too, could be accused of unfairly excluding them from my life after bashing them. But, I have dug into many of them and continue to do so (a hobby of mine) searching for truths wherever they may be found. And when I find an untruth in one, I leave it alone and move on. How many others can say this? Have I really been too unfairly biased towards Mormonism if I am honest in this quest? Find an untruth in Mormon doctrine (not words of Mormon men—all men are fallible—but Mormon doctrine) and I will leave the Mormon church.

The vast universe, as Joseph Smith described it in the early 1800s, is what scientists later found. Kind of reverse of the old Catholics ain’t it? Mormonism is not a new religion. It is the oldest. It is Christianity in its purest form. It is a restoration of things Adam and Eve knew. It is what Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew. It is what Jesus knew. It will always be proven correct by science. I don’t just believe these things, I know them. That astounding knowledge is precious.


Regarding other points you brought up:

Waiting for resurrection for perfect eyes does not hinder scientific advancement on the Earth. Resurrection occurs after death. It is not some singular point in Earth’s timeline like perhaps the rapture is. Thus, all Mormon eye scientists are just as impatient as anyone else to find answers to better eyesight on this mortal Earth. Remember, God helps those who help themselves: God won’t help us advance eye science unless we first look for advances ourselves.

I believe in the science of evolution. The real answer to the origin of the species is much more complex – with many details we do not yet know – but that’s another conversation. Again, God helps those who help themselves: God won’t help us answer the evolution-versus-creation question if we don’t try to understand both evolution and creation ourselves.

As far as I know right now, I do have a disease you call Losgalasin and you may indeed have the cure which you call Mentatone. I cannot know otherwise until I check the evidence. Common sense says it is not likely I have Losgalasin, but it does not disprove it. Why then, do you tout common sense as a definitive answer? If God exists, then Satan also exists. If Satan exists, then he is surely playing with your sense of things common when it comes to belief in God. And, yes, the playing field is tilted against you.

All men are fallible. Therefore, testimonies are fallible. Not all men, however, face the same challenges as each other. Some have strengths where others have weaknesses. What is a bigger sin for one, may be a lesser sin for another. Thus, what looks meaningful from one man’s perspective can be bunk from another’s. Yet, both views can still be correct. We do not know the challenges of the man who lost his wife. Maybe he was a workaholic that never got sick and neglected his wife too much. Maybe God had reason to slap him around a bit to try and wake up his inner soul before it was time to take his wife from the Earth. Or, maybe this man really is just one of the delusional fanatics, the timing of his illness really was coincidence, he didn’t really need to hear anything more from his wife before she died, and he is just a sorry person trying to comfort himself. All I really know here is that it is not our place to judge his understanding of these events – even if he may be wrong.

Just because a supernatural explanation is not needed for an event does not prove that one does not exist. Dig broader and deeper.

God knows your heart. He will only help you find Him if you truly are looking for Him. He doesn’t necessarily punish you if you ignore him – he just won’t help you when you might like him to if you continue to ignore him. What God cannot do is take away anyone’s free agency – that is, he cannot help you cheat the test your are currently in – or anyone else’s test around you – but he can help ease the burdens others may place upon you.