Evidence that enables us to believe in God must
be evaluated within a sound framework.
I state in the “About website” page that my objective for this website is to provide you, the reader, with the ability (in audit ‘speak’) to test the veracity of Christian faith for yourself. Veracity means “truth and accuracy”.
(I am from a senior auditing background and the majority of my advisory team are Christian clergy. To glimpse the ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of this website please click here.)
As I have written in the article “Can I really believe in God?” you should be able to find evidence of God’s presence/ existence for yourself, on which to base your own ‘faith’ and ‘belief’. That is if you know where to look. It is the aim of this website to help you with guidance in that regard.
In this particular article I firstly summarise an ‘evidence based practice’ that can used by readers to help them decide for themselves whether God does exist. The article then goes on to explain details of the practice. That includes examples of how to apply Christian faith for yourself, and thereby locate potential evidence.
2. EVIDENCE BASED PRACTICE
So, how do we effectively build our belief in God? Well, as suggested already, by applying “evidence based practice.” Please glimpse the image above.
The methodology follows these five steps:
- Ask by defining your need: e.g. “Can I really believe in God?”
- Acquire by ‘finding’ evidence.
- Appraise the evidence to see whether it is ‘genuine’.
- Apply the ‘genuine evidence’ to your question, “Can I really believe in God?” to know whether it is the proof you need?
- Analyse the processes continually for effectiveness and possible improvement.
3. ‘ASK’ THE QUESTION
Now, it is pretty easy to work out the question we are asking eh? We simply want to know, “can we believe in God?” (See step 1 in the image above.)
Let’s now work through the rest of the steps.
4. ‘ACQUIRE’ THE EVIDENCE
Well, what we do here is go in search of the evidence that can convince us that God is real. Yes, I am confident that it can be done. It is possible!
And I really hope the articles on this website can assist you in your search for that evidence. You can begin by reading the article mentioned in the intro, “Can I really believe in God?” It also provides advice on how to best use the rest of the website.
Please read on for a brief explanation of where evidence can actually be found.
4.1 Evidence in church
The Christian Church itself, to my mind, is a great place to locate evidence of God’s existence. I maintain you can even experience events there, relevant to evidence, that are actually categorised by me as ‘palpable’. In some cases, yes, you can literally feel them, as they happen to you. Absolutely! (I’ve added a little about the “Pentecostal/ Charismatic movement” later in this article.)
But look, not all of these experiences available in the Church are of that strength. It is possible to experience events, that Christians interpret as God engaging with them there in the Church, in a much gentler way. And that occurs in almost any church service … anywhere. Once we know ‘how to recognise it‘ of course.
4.2 Evidence in everyday life
When it comes to day-to-day life, we can experience what I also refer to as God’s presence there. Yes, evidence can be recognised there. That is when we willingly engage with him, as the Bible supports.
The evidence may not be as dramatic as in the ‘movement’ of course. No, it’s a case of ‘more of the same’, ‘more of the same’ etc. I’m talking about ‘high odds of things’ repetitively happening just as the Bible supports the possibility. Eventually it just all seems natural … expected … and oh, so real.
As explained through this website, the ‘closer’ and more faithful our relationship with God grows, the ‘stronger’ the evidence becomes.
Look, there are many, many articles available here to guide you in this regard. Please see the heading “God in Life” in the Menu Bar above.
5. ‘APPRAISE’ THE EVIDENCE
Fundamentally, this step relates to deciding whether the evidence we have located personally is really ‘genuine’.
But, what do I mean by the words “genuine evidence”? Well, for someone of my professional auditing background, definitions of evidence, that can ‘prove’ something to us, inevitably includes words like “valid” and “relevant” for starters.
In simple words – that would relate to a Christian – we can accept that personal evidence of God’s presence is ‘genuine’ if it fits the following framework:
- Firstly, it must be based on our own experiences
(it is ‘valid’ evidence).
- Secondly, it must be compatible with the Bible
(it is ‘relevant’ evidence).
So, we examine our personal experiences of God, and appraise them. Those experiences must not be in conflict with Bible content.
6. ‘APPLY’ THE EVIDENCE
Let us now look at how we can individually make our own ‘credible’ judgements based on the ‘genuine evidence’ we have gathered. That is, does all the evidence we have gathered actually offer proof of God’s presence: his very existence? Does it really prove to us that God is real?
Let’s discuss what the word “proof” really means for us here.
6.1 Minimum ‘proof’
Firstly, let me explain what “proof of God’s existence” does not mean on this website. It does not refer to proving in a ‘scientific’ sense. Indeed God will never be proven to exist scientifically, because he prevents it. Please read the article, “Why is God invisible?” for an explanation.
In essence, the average human being basically accepts things as ‘believable’ when they do locate ‘genuine evidence’ supporting the standard of “beyond reasonable doubt”. It is thereby acknowledged by us at that point, through our power of reasoning, to be ‘real’.
That is clearly our first expectation within the process. But let’s look at how real it can eventually become for us.
6.2 How ‘real’ can the proof be?
Remember the powerful events and experiences, that I mentioned earlier, available in churches within the Pentecostal/ Charismatic ‘movement’. Some are ‘palpable’ (yes again, you can feel them). Other events there can also truly ‘rattle your cage’. No exaggerations!
This relevant evidence can readily be both ‘personal’ and ‘irrefutable’, as far as my old auditor brain is concerned. Please read the article, “Experiencing the Holy Spirit” for supporting information. Or try reading the article, “Is this Spirit stuff real?” for my final evaluation.
Now you may well think the following example of mine is fairytale stuff! But my wife and I first became involved with the ‘movement’ in our early years of attending churches. And, as one example, I witnessed a healing miracle there.
The miracle actually involved my wife. And it was absolutely ‘for real’. I mean her previously destroyed brain cells, resulting from a stroke many months before, were ‘just’ replaced right there and then! And as a result issues, such as partial paralysis, just disappeared. Please note that I would gain nothing by exaggerating/ lying about all this stuff to you, i.e. there is no paid advertising on this website. No reason to keep you here reading!
But remember, other quite strong evidence can also be found in your day-to-day life, particularly once your relationship with God grows closer. The evidence, as such, just becomes all the more recognisable.
So, as far as I am concerned, proof can come to be so ‘rock-solid‘ for us individually. That is as practising Christians, and as a result of the evidence we can gather! To say less than that would be a disservice to you.
6.3 But, proof is your’s only
Yes, proof of God’s presence may be so very convincing to each of us … because we can indeed experience it. And yes it can fit that ‘framework for evidence’ detailed above.
But, as profound as some of this proof may be to us as individuals, it cannot be termed “scientific proof” or classified as “objective” to someone else. Rock-solid to us, yes! Irrefutable to us, yes! But, scientific, no! And we cannot usually pass our evidence on to anyone else, under normal circumstances.
To the outsider, it can only be considered as ‘subjective’ information at best. I am the first to admit that a so-called ‘third party’ cannot verify your religious beliefs, or the overall proof you obtained in order to ‘believe’.
You see, God will only prove himself to each one of us ‘individually’. And for that to occur we must usually and willingly engage with him. Oh, he may entice us to connect with him. But normally we must do the engaging, particularly in everyday life.
So, as I have explained above, your experiences probably won’t mean anything to an outsider?
And here is an example of mine. I relayed details of my wife’s ‘miracle healing‘, that I mentioned above, to a close relative. That relative would not believe our explanation of events. He knew my wife’s long-term significant health condition had disappeared ‘just like that’, but he wrote it off as a natural ‘spontaneous healing’ event! I retaliated with these words, “What … and it just happened as a Christian healer’s hand touched her?” He shrugged, unable to even accept the possibility of any spiritual cause!
Mmmm, hardened atheists eh? My wife’s health never did ‘regress’ (i.e. It didn’t return to its earlier condition). The significant healing event occurred decades ago. Of course, as the atheist that I once was, I can imagine me not believing what had happened either. I admit it. But I too, would have been just as mistaken!
7. ‘ANALYZE’ THE PROCESSES
Remember too, each of us must continually keep analyzing all of our ‘evidence gathering processes’ for effectiveness and possible improvement.
Evidence and acceptance of it, as actual proof, must fit that ‘framework’ provided. That is, if it is to lead to “Sound faith” and the positive outcomes available to us, courtesy of God. Indeed, as explained in the article, “What does faith offer us?”!
So, for a Christian, true ‘belief’ in God can shape up through the use of ‘evidence based practice’.
The ‘genuine evidence’ for analysis, within that practice, is gained through our own personal experiences of faith, in our lives and in the Church. That is during our ‘journey of faith’ (please see the Menu Bar above).
Unfortunately, due to the personal nature of our faith and belief, it is unlikely that we can convince other people to accept our results as valid for them. Everyone simply has to do it all for themselves by starting out on their own journey of faith. They gather their own evidence for ‘appraisal’ and ‘application’ as they travel. And that journey, with its valid experiences, must soundly comply with the Bible.
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