Evidence that enables us to believe in God must
be evaluated within a sound framework.
A clear definition of “proof” is needed there.
I stated in the “About” webpage 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”.
Firstly I want to make it clear that Christian faith should not be based on wishful thinking. In fact, ‘blind faith’ is almost guaranteed to fail when it is eventually put to the test by a major life disaster.
As I have written in the article “How to believe in God” you should be able find evidence of God’s presence 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 provide you with guidance in that regard.
(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.)
In this particular article I firstly summarise the ‘evidence based practice’ you can use personally to find whether God does exist. The article goes on to define the terms, “evidence” and “proof” that are used in that evidence based approach.
In effect, our ability to hold ‘belief in God’ is based on evidence we gather for ourselves. And if it is to stand the test of time, we must use a thorough and effective approach. Now, I know this article won’t be ‘riveting stuff’ for most readers. But it is important that we make sure that our belief in God and our Christian faith has a solid basis. So, please read on.
2. EVIDENCE BASED PRACTICE
So, how do we build our belief in God? Well, in summary, by applying “evidence based practice.” Please see the image above.
The methodology in this article follows these five steps:
- Ask by defining your need: e.g. “Can I believe in God?”
- Acquire by ‘locating’ evidence.
- Appraise the located evidence to see whether it is ‘genuine’.
- Apply the genuine evidence to your question, “Can I believe in God?”
- Analyse all processes continually for effectiveness and improvement.
Now that was the simple bit! So, please bear with me…
3. FRAMEWORK FOR “EVIDENCE”
I introduced the word, “evidence” in the article, “How to believe in God” when referring to proof of God’s existence? The term is relevant to the No. 3 “Appraise” step in the “evidence based practice” detailed above.
But, what do I actually mean by that word “evidence”? Well, for someone of my professional auditing background, definitions of evidence, that can prove something to us, inevitably includes words like “valid”, “relevant” and “sufficient.”
In simple words, that would relate to a Christian, the proof for building ‘belief in God’ should be provided through ‘evidence’ that fits the following framework:
- Firstly, it must be based on your own experiences (it is ‘valid’ evidence).
- Secondly, it must be compatible with the Bible (it is ‘relevant’ evidence).
- Finally, you must find enough of it to satisfy yourself (it is ‘sufficient’ evidence).
4. HOW TO LOCATE EVIDENCE
I want to make it clear, at this stage, that there are many articles on this website to assist you in your own search for faith and belief. That is how to look for; locate that evidence of yours. I will expand on that later.
And again, you can begin by reading that article, “How to believe in God.” It also provides advice on how to utilise other articles on this website.
5. DEFINING “PROOF”
Let us now look at how you can make your own ‘credible’ judgements based on evidence, i.e. does it constitute actual proof of God’s presence: his very existence.
5.1 What does ‘prove’ mean?
Let me firstly 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?” to see why.
Rather, when I do write the word “prove”, I mean meet the accepted standard we require to decide that anything is real within our day-to-day lives. In essence, the average human being simply accepts things as ‘believable’ when they locate 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.
5.2 How ‘real’ is the proof?
Now, as a retired auditor, I wholeheartedly acknowledge that the ‘proof’ related to belief in God, that you do locate, can only be understood as ‘subjective’ by any person other than you! I am the first to admit that a so-called ‘third party’ cannot verify your religious beliefs, or the proof you obtained in order to ‘believe’.
But, on the other hand, I can confidently write that those religious beliefs, based on proof located by you, can still be ‘viewed’ as solid. And let me assure you that can even apply to a qualified and experienced auditor.
As previously explained, some of that evidence available to you can be recognised through church attendances. Other evidence can be found in your day-to-day life.
5.3 Proof in the Church
I maintain you can experience events, available in the wider Christian Church, that are actually categorised by me as ‘palpable’ or virtually ‘tangible’ to us individually. They can be so very real to each one of us. They can ‘rock your socks’, as the saying goes. Absolutely! And I don’t feel guilty using a word like palpable at all. For example, you can literally accept that you are being touched by God in certain circumstances.
Look, I certainly know how extreme that statement may look! Yes, it ‘rattled’ me too when I happened to be in the right places at the right time … and really did experience and/ or witness it for myself.
I am trying hard to explain how this relevant evidence is both ‘personal’ and ‘irrefutable’, as far as my old auditor brain is concerned. And I am pretty sure that it can be for you too. Please read the article, “Experiencing the Holy Spirit” for supporting information. Or try reading the article, “Is this Spirit stuff real?” It gives details of my own audit of this ‘stuff’ that began decades ago. And I assure you it is still applicable today.
I am in fact referring to events here, courtesy of God, that are available in the Pentecostal/ Charismatic movement. There are supposedly over 500 million members in the ‘movement’ throughout the world at present. And not surprisingly, as far as I am concerned, the number is growing fast.
Not all God-empowered experiences available in the greater Christian Church are of that magnitude mind you. It is possible to recognise God engaging with you in a much more ‘subtle manner‘ in almost any church service. Once you know how of course.
5.4 Proof in everyday life
When it comes to day-to-day life though, you can experience what I also refer to as God’s presence there too. That is when you willingly engage with him there. The proof 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 potentially crazy odds of things repetitively happening just as the Bible supports the possibility. Eventually it just all seems natural … expected … and oh, so real.
There are many, many articles available on this website to guide you in this regard. Please see the heading “God in Life” in the Menu Bar above.
But mind you, those events you may experience will probably mean nothing at all to the guy or gal next door, when you explain your details to them!
5.5 Proof is your’s only
Yes, proof of God’s presence may be very convincing to each of us … because we can indeed experience it. But, as I have hinted already, your experiences probably won’t mean anything to an outsider?
And here is an example. I relayed details of a ‘miracle healing‘, that I had witnessed, to a close relative. The miracle had actually involved my wife. And it was absolutely ‘for real’. Honestly! I mean her previously destroyed brain cells had just been replaced! That relative would not believe our explanation of events. He knew my wife’s long-term significant health condition had disappeared, 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. 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!
5.6 Yes, ‘proof’ can be rock-solid to you!
So, proof can come to be so ‘rock-solid’ for us individually as practising Christians, as a result of the evidence we gather! To say less than that would be a disservice to you.
But I repeat that this evidence, as profound as some of it may be to us as individuals, 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 effectively pass our evidence on to anyone else, under normal circumstances. To the outsider, it can only be considered to be ‘subjective’ information at best.
You see, God will only prove himself to each one of us individually. And for that to occur we must willingly engage with him. Oh, he may entice us to connect with him. But we must do the engaging.
So, for a Christian, true ‘belief’ in God ultimately comes through the use of ‘evidence based practice’.
The ‘genuine evidence’ for analysis, within that practice, is gained through our own personal experiences, in our lives and in the Church during our “journey of faith” (please see the Menu Bar above).
Unfortunately, due to the personalised 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 embarking on their own journey of faith, gathering their own evidence for ‘appraisal’ as they travel. And that journey, with its valid experiences, must soundly comply with the Bible.
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