This week marks the 20th anniversary of the OJ Simpson double murder investigation, trial, and acquittal. Most of us remember where we were when we heard about the murders. We remember watching the evening news and seeing the Bronco in the slow speed chase across Los Angeles. I was living in the Philippines at the time, but it made news over there.
The nation was glued to the TV for the next year as he went to trial. Witnesses became a household name. Attorneys became celebrities. The racial divide over the verdict said a lot about our country and its people. As we approach this anniversary, the nation has come to grips with how the trial ended up; mainly because OJ is in jail on an unrelated charge and will be there for the foreseeable future.
In case you did not know this (and I am afraid that I must issue a “Spoiler Alert”), OJ did it. He was the one who committed double murder than evening. He was the one that attacked his ex-wife and Ron Goldman. He was the one who did it. How do I know? I believe the evidence. The evidence all pointed to him. The timeline pointed to him. The testimony of the witnesses all pointed to him. The bloody glove was found in his back yard. The DNA from both victims was found in his car and in his house and on his clothing. His own DNA was found at the murder scene. He had no alibi. All of the evidence led us to one conclusion and only one conclusion: He did it!
However, there is a difference between evidence and proof. There was no CCTV video footage of the crime. There was no eye witness to the crime. There was no confession, at least initially. The evidence all pointed to him, but the proof was lacking. Can a jury convict based upon evidence alone? Absolutely! It is the basis of our judicial system. A jury member takes an oath to render a verdict based upon the evidence beyond a reasonable double. Reasonable doubt is what a reasonable person would believe if presented with the same set of facts.
Based upon the evidence, it is possible to conclude that OJ did it beyond a reasonable doubt (except in California). As a matter of stern discussion, it would take an unreasonable person to conclude otherwise. OJ and his Dream Team of attorneys used conspiracy theories to dissuade people from a reasonable verdict. The police tried to frame OJ. The DA manufactured evidence. The crime lab was in on it. To listen to the Dream Team, you would conclude that various public servants, who did not know each other prior to the events, got together and conspired to frame OJ for the murder. Here is how it goes: Someone kills Ron Goldman and Nicole Simpson. The police arrive and begin planting OJ DNA at the crime scene without even knowing where OJ was at the time of the murders. They then went to his home and planted DNA from the victims on the clothing that he had worn that evening. They planted the bloody glove and made a “thumping” noise to alert the houseguest of OJ that the evidence was back by the fence. They then contacted the crime lab that proceeded to manufacture more evidence to point to his guilt. Finally, the prosecutors joined in the conspiracy in order to put OJ away for life.
I would submit to you that the above depiction is only believable if you are unreasonable. Reason stands in the way of believing this conspiracy. A reasonable person must believe the evidence (not proof) of the guilt of OJ. It just stands to reason.
Were there problems with the trial? Absolutely. It would have been nice had Mark Furman not perjured himself on the witness stand. It would have been nice if the possibility of cross contamination by the crime team did not occur when they failed to change gloves after handling each piece of evidence. It would have been nice to have had the weapon. Yes, it was an imperfect trial, but the evidence would still let a non-California jury conclude that based upon the evidence, OJ was indeed guilty.
There is a fine line between evidence and proof. Some of my atheist and agnostic friends have challenged me to prove that God exists. I readily admit, as much as I would desire to do so, I cannot. I have absolutely no proof of His existence. I was not there in the beginning. I have no CCTV video of Him. I have never seen Him. If I had proof of His existence, I would go down as one of the greatest philosophers in history because I proved the existence of the Almighty. I would go down as the one who rendered atheism as an absurd philosophy. I would be Time’s “Man of the Year” if I could do so. Alas, I have no proof.
Absent proof, what do I have? Evidence. I have evidence that points to His existence. The Scriptures declare the majesty of God. God’s “fingerprint” is sometimes so small it takes an electron microscope to see it. At other times, his signature is so vast that the most powerful of telescopes are necessary to discern it. There is order in the universe. Where did the order come? Chaos gave way to order long ago. The timeline points to this. Randomness somehow came together to form new life. Not only did orderliness come together from chaos, it did so consistently. Random patterns in the universe are not so random. There is even order to the random chaos in the universe.
The existence of life itself testifies to a higher power. Where could you take inert elements and combine them together and create even the most simple of one-celled creatures? Even if you did, this would prove my point that it takes a creator to create life out of inert non-life.
Do I have proof? No! I have evidence for God’s existence. With enough evidence, I can make a reasonable conclusion that God really does exist, even without absolute proof (forgive the redundancy). That is called faith.
In conclusion, let me contrast something of faith based upon evidence and faith based upon absolutely no evidence. There is absolutely no evidence that has ever been found that would lead you to conclude that there is life on other planets other than this small, blue marble upon which we live. There is no fossil record of such life. There are no eye witnesses to such life. There is no DNA trail of such evidence. We have not received a phone call from such life. ET has yet to show up for dinner. Yet, despite the lack of evidence, I have never met an atheist or an agnostic that did not believe in ET in some form or another. Their belief in ET is based upon a philosophical assumption the mathematical possibility of ET being out there somewhere, but without any evidence at all. Assumption and possibility do not rise to the level of proof. There are leaps of faith that allow us to cross the ditch and there are leaps of faith that cause us to fall into the abyss. To make such a leap that is based upon absolutely no evidence is nothing short of being unreasonable.