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Not Enough Evidence?

October 18, 2012

Paul Jenkins

One of the common challenges I receive from people in my encounters is that my Christianity is an emotional crutch. It helps me to sleep at night, it’s a convenient explanation to children’s questions about life and death, and the more aggressive will claim it’s an institution of power and control to steal people’s money (which in the case of unbiblical ‘Christianity’ – I could agree to some extent).

If this was true, I wouldn’t be convinced either. But speaking for myself and what I think represents Biblical Christianity, truth is what is to be sought. Not what might improve or not improve my life. Not what ‘works’ or what doesn’t seem to work. If the truth is uncomfortable, I want to know it no matter the consequences.

At this point, I won’t even discuss relative truth because it is ridiculous. Truth, is what is real – what corresponds to reality. And we’re all looking for that – mostly. Just because I may choose to disbelieve in gravity, that doesn’t cause me to float away as one of my pastors likes to point out. And as I like to point out – people who claim that truth is not universal still look both ways before they cross the street. So it is with analyzing various worldviews. If you believe all worldviews are equally valid in essence, you may as well continue on to another website.

In discussing principles such as these with the atheist/skeptic, they often concede, ‘Okay, I agree there is such a thing as truth, and there may even be a god somehow. But if I stand before the God of the Bible, I will just say he never gave me enough evidence to believe.’

That actually raises a good question – has He?

Yes.

Because of irreducible complexity, the second law of thermodynamics, fossil records…? Sure, in some ways… but I believe these are more a demonstration of God’s glory which is to be admired and perhaps some useful evidence to further bolster biblical history. But that isn’t the main thing. It isn’t the main evidence or ‘proof’.

The fact is, the evidence of God is reflected in our experience – especially our ability to reason, to experience and use logic, and to know truth. Only the Christian worldview provides the preconditions of intelligibility.

An atheist will often ask, ‘show me some physical evidence that God exists!’. Okay – everything.

Consider the opposing worldview. There is only physical matter, which we cannot provide the origin of. In order for this worldview to be true, it must be consistent within itself, and with our experience. This is because I’m operating under the established premise: truth is what is real.

Consider now, our experience. We have minds. We reason – with the ability to reject falsehood and embrace truth. We experience the concrete laws of logic (such as the law of non-contradiction for instance) which are universal (affect everyone and everything), immaterial, and unchanging.  Furthermore – we have a moral conscience which influences our actions to varying degrees, but is experienced by everyone nonetheless. Things exist. Life exists – not just physical matter such as rocks, air and water, but there is animation to our being. 

In the naturalistic worldview, our reasoning is a result of chemical reactions in the brain, influenced by our interactions and predispositions. In this worldview, whose reasoning can be objectively ‘true’ or ‘false’? What is the final standard by which we can determine this? Who are we to say one’s person’s chemical reaction is ‘true’ and the other ‘false’?

This being said, the truth or falsehood of one’s reasoning is accounted for in Scripture. People are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), which provides us with knowledge of truth and falsehood (Proverbs 9:10). God and his word (John 17:17) provide the standard of truth, and by extension we experience that.

One worldview can make coherent sense of our experience, and it isn’t naturalism. I always find it ironic how Christianity is painted as a pie-in-the-sky pipe dream, yet the critics themselves rest on such an insufficient worldview.

It’s fine if you want to be a naturalist. The Bible says that men will go to all lengths of irrationality in order to not worship him. In fact, it says the reason we experience the effects of ‘futile thinking’ (Romans 1:21) is because God is righteous, we’re not, and we do not want to submit to Him. It’s so much easier to throw flak in the air so we can continue in sin (Romans 1:29-31). We can continue to lie, covet, lust, commit adultery, steal, hate, and be greedy if we suppress our conscience in this manner (Romans 1:24-25).

The good news is that God welcomes all who will come to him. For those who are honest with themselves – realizing their imperfection would not stand before a righteous judgment (Hebrews 9:27), Jesus is a perfect Saviour who covers all of their sin. Indeed, he washes them white as snow.

So,

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. If you are willing and obedient you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 1:18-20)

For,

“…Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21)

 

 

 

Leave your comments below. If you would prefer to interact with us privately, email laodeciapress@gmail.com

 

Thanks for reading.

 

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13 Comments
  1. johnpearce630 permalink

    Great article Paul. If people wish to continue to seek more on the topic of the logic for believing in god Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig are great sources.

  2. Sorry, but if you give me a book that has characters having conversations with God, and then tell me that I have to believe based on your interpretation of reality…I’m not buying what you’re selling.

    • NotAScientist:
      Right, because your pre-commitment (aka your presupposition) is one of naturalism. I.e. supernatural things can’t happen. Are you an Atheist? How do you respond to the challenges I posed to that worldview in this article?

      Paul

      • Sorry, but I won’t answer any of your questions until you tell me why characters in the bible can have firm evidence but I can’t.

      • Since the Bible says God is Spirit (thus explaining why we don’t physically see him) we can’t expect to see God physically in our lifetime. Not to say he never did reveal himself (Jesus Christ came to earth and was a physical being) – but even at the time that didn’t convince everyone. But my entire point in this article is that you do have firm evidence. You have life, a moral conscience, powers of logic and knowledge. An atheist worldview doesn’t account for these things, which a supernaturalistic worldview, Christianity, can account for.

        You don’t need any more evidence than you already have. You’re just rejecting the God you know exists.

        Without knowing your worldview, that’s the best I can do NotaScientist.

        Paul

  3. Disappointing argument. I thought you might provide some evidence for God, but instead you simply said there is a god, because I say there is a God. Since when is the mind proof of God? How does the fact we can think prove that there is an all loving God who hears our prayers and sent his only son to die so that our sins can be removed?

    • Just because you don’t accept my evidence, it doesn’t mean none was provided. You and I constantly experience absolute, unchanging moral and logical laws – how do you account for this in a worldview without God? My argument isn’t that we examine evidence and then decide if we want to believe in God or not. My argument is that unless you start with God as a necessary precondition, you can’t account for the logic you used in your comment above.

      Paul

      • I notice that your argument is basically presuming God as the default answer. This isn’t a reason but the absence of one. This is the same as saying, I don’t know where logic comes from so I’m going to presume its God. Simply stating God created logic is not the same as proving it.

  4. tough sell bud permalink

    I’m glad people are reading this blog and not drinking the kool-aid because the logic is painful at best. Your ‘objectivity’ epiphany was reached in the 18th century and so the scientific method came into being, tests and tests against mathematics to determine truth, not human chemical reactions. In fact this method was developed in order to counteract ‘from the gut’, baseless theories from only one person’s truth (this blog entry for near-perfect example).
    Paul, an insufficient worldview is not something to be lamented. In fact scientists generally tend to agree thats where their wonder and connection to the world comes from, discovery. Insufficient means there’s more to learn, a widely celebrated aspect of science. With your sufficient worldview what is left to learn? You apparently know how the world came into being… great for you. So now that you have all the answers why don’t you sit back, crack open a beer and go watch a sunset. The rest of us (who are humble enough to embrace our lack of knowledge) aren’t satisfied with the bible. So we’ll be busy discovering quantum mechanics, abiogenesis, interstellar travel like the insufficiently understanding idiots that we are.

    “The bible tells us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go” – Galileo Galilei

    • While I don’t claim to know everything there is to know, I do claim to know some things for certain, based on God’s revealed word and his revealed law to everyone, experienced in our conscience. Since your comment is more of a mockery than a question, there isn’t any direct response you’ve asked for. But my question to you is as follows: where do you get truth without God? Are you saying that you can’t know anything for certain? Or you know many things for certain and are just unsure about the origins of life?

      In order to even have an intelligible conversation about anything, there must be truth. In an atheistic worldview, our thoughts are just a result of chemical reactions. But if I shook up a bottle of coke and a bottle of mountain dew and opened the top, neither of us would be pointing out which fizz is ‘true’ and ‘false’. My worldview can account for truth and reason – because truth is a result of how God thinks and enables us to do the same. How do you?

      Paul

      • tough sell bud permalink

        While you may claim to know things for certain (ie: if i step into rainy weather, I get wet) this is based on your own truth and is not universally provable. This is because your assuming your individual experience is universal when it is just the conclusion of experiments you yourself have already undergone. (I’ve been in the rain a hundred times, I get wet every time, so I’ll get wet… scientific study results in accurate prediction)
        Technically we cannot know anything for certain, our own visual spectrum is barely 1/3 of light, because that’s all our chemicals in our brain can reconstruct. The biggest flaw in our justice system is eyewitness testimony as it incarcerates 3/4 of innocent victims because our stored chemical memories are often not true. Our senses are unreliable. We test against mathematics (elaborate categorizing) because in the eyes of science, no individual species possess’ a sufficient worldview to determine laws. So in testing with math we found the world to be very old and the rules that govern our universe to be consistent without fault. I would not be surprised to discover our future civilization worshiping mathematics as divine, as all our modern truths have resulted from its unchanging consistency and logical absolution (if one argued science as a religion than many follow this church today).
        The God of the bible however seems to be anything but unchanging consistency and logical absolution. He made the earth, then flooded it, then sacked human settlements while shooting the shit with his prophets then finally sent us his son (of all the trillions of planets in the known universe) so we could kill him and be saved. This proaction is counter to every ‘truth’ humanity has ascertained thus far, as it is not-consistent and cannot be logically absolute.
        I’m agnostic so I cannot outright deny God but I think the religious should stop pointing to scientific mystery as evidence. It’s a losing battle, from geo-centric models to arguing the soulless-ness of animals eventually the origin of life question will bite the contemporary religious in the ass when science answers it (alongside many many future others- what does the super structure of the universe represent, will it always be expanding, can we manipulate genetics).
        Questions like why is the universe consistent in its rationale, are mathematics self-realized or divinely produced will be the faithful inquiries behind the logical absolution based truth of the future.
        I dont understand how you can claim you know truth because you know how God thinks, based on the musings of a 2000 year old (sure, universal-ish) truth. No matter your worldview, our thoughts are just chemical reactions, so consistent that we have fields of science dedicated to categorizing behaviour and it’s predictability across all species. We are evolving our definition of truth every day, but what I can tell is the determining factors to discover truth in our past have been proven to be extremely unreliable, and facets of this unreliability continue to this day (eyewitness testimony) but so long as the scientific method keeps developing universal truths people will flock to their logical absolution banner, because it represents the same truthful conclusion you made about stepping into the rain, i know i’ll get wet because i’ve done this before.

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