If I were a skeptic, I may be somewhat furious at my most recent posts on science and truth because they seem to be missing the main objection to religious faith: There is no evidence for it.
Now a Christian believer would disagree. I am not talking about the Christian believer armed to the teeth with the latest resources on apologetics, who can argue the existence of God by logical deduction, or point to fine-tuning of the Universe as evidence for God’s existence. I am talking about the ordinary believer, the universal believer. For no one comes to Christ by being convinced of a rational argument.
At least, I hope not. Granted, a believer may have been assisted on their journey by rational arguments for God, or have come to realize their own worldview was full of holes, in this way. I am a big proponent of apologetics for this reason.
But given what we know about Christianity, I would hope those who believe do not do so by resting on the assurance of a well-reasoned intellectual argument. If that is what it means to have faith in Christ, we are all doomed.
But I find this fact is often missed in debates on religious faith. Christian apologists point to the existence of morality as evidence for God, the fact the Universe had a beginning without natural explanation as evidence for God, and the historical reliability of New Testament texts as evidence for God. Rarely, however, does anyone say we are evidence for God. This is understandable but in a way perplexing, since — of all the evidence we have for God — we are the strongest evidence there is.
By “we” of course I mean our faith. If the Christian believer examines themselves, they will find their confidence in both Creator and Savior of the world goes far deeper than any line of evidence. The evidence the Christian apologist often bring forth only goes to support the real evidence that lies beneath the surface, which is a confidence placed there by God Himself.
The evidence the Christian apologist often bring forth only goes to support the real evidence that lies beneath the surface, which is a confidence placed there by God Himself.
Now I am sure this is not true for all Christians. It is possible a Christian’s belief extends no deeper than social reinforcement: They were raised Christian, and their faith is no stronger than the friends and family around them. It is also possible their beliefs go no further that their fears: They believe in God because a world without God is simply too terrifying for them.
All of this is possible. But I would also say such belief is not real Christian belief. We do not see men and women willingly going to their deaths to avoid the cold hard facts of reality.
The problem the committed Skeptic has to all of this is that they feel such anecdotal evidence is not reliable. If you say you know God exists based on “faith”, how reliable is that? How can such a claim be confirmed? Can it be proven?
But this, in my opinion, is a Flatland problem: The Skeptic is trying to understand a three-dimensional object in a two-dimensional world — the two dimensional world being a scientific mindset. God is not an object in the natural world whose existence we are trying to prove. He is rather the Creator of all objects, both seen and unseen, whose means of confirming His existence is to reach down to humanity and reveal Himself to the human soul, which is what we call faith.
And that is evidence enough.
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9 thoughts on “The Christian Mind: Evidence”
Very good points, Patrick. I couldn’t agree with you more. You said:
“Rarely, however, does anyone say we are evidence for God. This is understandable but in a way perplexing, since — of all the evidence we have for God — we are the strongest evidence there is.”
As someone who has recently engaged in apologetically oriented posts, I feel like my arguments are with one-hand tied behind my back because they’re not the basis of my relationship with Jesus at all! I find myself strangely disconnected from the argumentation because I don’t really care what the skeptic thinks about God. But then I see so many Christians being led astray by their mostly incoherent arguments so I try to help them out by unravelling them for the doubtful. Quite a strange position to be in! 🙂 But, personally, my relationship with God is more real than the physical world I live in so many ways. But it’s hard to explain an experience unless the other person is in the same experience!
Nonetheless, believing or not believing in God is a heart issue in the end. All arguments can do is provide a rational basis for a leap of faith, whether that leap is to God or unbelief.
Thanks Mel. I would agree, though I am tempted to call that leap of faith something else, since as you said, your relationship with God is more real, and thus more certain, than the physical world around us.
I like what you said about the skeptic and believers. It raises the question whether apologetics is for one or the other. I believe it is for both, but personally what often drives me is the desire to make sense of Christian thought and how it connects to the rest of modern thought, lest we be “led astray by incoherent arguments” i.e. a plain fundamental misunderstanding as to what we believe.
Thanks again for stopping by!
I agree. It’s really for both. The believer can have confidence that they’re not just believing a fantasy and those skeptics who are still open can reconsider their position.
I like what you said, Mel.
My spirit is standing taller now, and I feel like I can breathe easier. I didn’t realize how much I needed to read these words until I did. Thank you.
My pleasure, ER!
Hi Arkenaten! If you can, I discuss evolution in my previous article. Feel free to move your comment over there so that the comment correlates to the post. Thanks 🙂
Out of interest, on what basis do you believe that you have the ”right” Christianity, Patrick?
The “right” Christianity is an odd term to me. But the reason I believe God both exists and that He demonstrated his own love for me in that while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me, for example, is similar to the reason I believe in gravity. Both are discernible by my implicit trust in a quality of the human mind.