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 real Christian faith is not 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 (i.e. when it is most needed).
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 practise’ you can use personally to find whether God does exist. The article goes on to define the terms, “genuine 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 rigorous 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. APPLYING “EVIDENCE BASED PRACTISE”
So, how do we build our belief in God? Well, in summary, by applying “evidence based practise.” Please see the image above.
The methodology in this article follows these five steps:
- Ask by clearly defining your question: e.g. “Can I believe in God?”
- Acquire the ability to answer the question by actually ‘locating’ evidence.
- Appraise the located evidence to establish whether it is ‘genuine’; it offers proof.
- Apply the ongoing results of those appraisals to the question above, “Can I believe in God?”
- Analyse all processes in use for effectiveness and continual improvement.
Now that was the simple bit! So, please bear with me …
3. 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.
So again, I suggest you begin with that article, “How to believe in God.” It also provides advice on how to utilise other articles on this website.
4. FRAMEWORK FOR “GENUINE EVIDENCE”
I used the term, “genuine evidence” in the intro to, “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 practise” detailed above. Genuine evidence can potentially provide us individually with the proof of God’s presence; his existence.
But, what did I actually mean by the term “genuine evidence”? Well, for someone of my professional auditing background, definitions for demonstrating proof through evidence inevitably include 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).
Bear in mind that I do not mean that you must be an expert on the Bible to begin that search. (A brief explanation of Christianity is provided in the final section of 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 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 conclude 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?
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 auditor.
Some of that evidence available to you will be recognised through church attendances. Other evidence will 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 potentially ‘tangible’ or ‘palpable’ 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 words like palpable or tangible at all. For example, you can literally accept that you are being touched by God in certain circumstances.
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. And look, try reading the article, “Is this Spirit stuff real?” It gives details of my own audit of this stuff … performed decades ago, and 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 everyday life though, you can experience what I also refer to as God’s presence there too. Proof again. 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.
But mind you, these events may 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?
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 serious 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 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.
So, for a Christian, true ‘belief’ in God ultimately comes through the use of ‘evidence based practise’.
The ‘genuine evidence’ for analysis, within that practise, 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 analysis as they proceed.
Join in please. Ask questions. Leave a comment. Etc.