The significance (if any) of events is not always readily appreciable to the observer. Conversely, if it is appreciable, it is only because it is being interpreted. Indeed, the unsettling reality is that reasonable people can offer a reasonable interpretation of the same event which differs markedly from yours. Even as we recognize this fact we may also feel the uncomfortable charge of “selection bias”, according to which we are interpreting the evidence simply to suit our presuppositions. The only solace at this moment may be found in the recognition that we all do this. Everybody interprets the data and everybody is liable to exercise a selection bias as they do so.
Consider the problem of evil. In my book You’re not as Crazy as I Think, pp. 49-50 I point out that theists and atheists will predictably interpret the same tragic event in very different terms:
As I go on to explain, the point is not that a theist or Christian is somehow barred from interpreting this event in accord with their beliefs. But they do need to appreciate that there are rational readings of the same event that are sharply opposed to their own.
The same goes for the atheist. Too often atheists think that simply pointing to a tragic event like an airplane crash is sufficient to support their conclusion — there is no God! — as if by force majeure. But it just isn’t true. Theism and atheism offer two radically opposed rational approaches toward the same events.
So we can all interpret, and within certain limitations we can proceed to evaluate data in accord with our presuppositions. But at the same time we need to recognize the legitimacy of other interpretations. Far from closing down conversation, this simple concession is the starting point for meaningful conversation.