Faith and Reason are Friends
‘Christian faith’ and ‘belief in God’ can
both be based on sound reasoning.
Evidence is available to everyone.
There has been much said and written to oppose the path of Christian faith. In all honesty, I was a pretty good atheist in my day, so I know how it works. And I still completely understand how the knowledge, and acceptance, of ‘faith’ held by believers in this day and age can look ‘too good to be true’, as far as the average unbeliever in concerned!
(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 article, I firstly discuss the major doubts that can prevent us from even considering whether God exists. Then I go on to discuss how we begin to open our minds to the possibilities, and finally how we go about actually testing Christian faith for ourselves. As such, how we can actually come to ‘believe in God’. Bear in mind this article is based on my own personal search for faith and belief.
2. MAJOR DOUBTS FACING US.
Yes, there can certainly be major doubts facing us, when we consider trialling faith for ourselves. For examples the subjects of “science versus religion” and the supposed “lack of religious proof” can just ‘stop us in our tracks’.
And I was no different! But a point came in my life, where I decided to check out all my big questions. To see whether my doubts, at least, were in fact justified. And I seriously checked them. In fact it took a long time, to thoroughly evaluate those ‘big questions’.
The “Faith and Reason” section of the website (see the Menu Bar above) has been developed to address those major doubts, and to logically challenge the ‘atheist worldview’. Articles are available here to explain the following:
- Modern science and moderate theology are not in conflict.
- Major differences between religious beliefs can be explained.
- Suffering and evil in this world does not mean there is no God.
- Believable theories about God’s nature are available.
- How we actually prove to ourselves that God does exist.
I now absolutely accept that “faith” and “reason” can get along quite well, thank you! My research and evaluation of available facts (i.e. not guess-work from atheist websites) proved to me that those major doubts, which had even influenced me, actually had no sound basis.
A small sub section, ‘Dealing with doubts‘ follows this article. It contains further articles to help both beginner and experienced Christians. Please read on though.
3. IS CHRISTIAN FAITH REASONABLE?
Again, I came to find that there are just so many incorrect opinions, about Christianity, held within the broader community. For example, it is a common belief that “recorded history does not verify that Jesus even existed, let alone died on a wooden cross”.
Wrong! It is recorded, according to mainstream historical scholars (i.e. experts who have no links to the Church). Yes, there are genuine ‘historical documents‘ to support that Jesus lived and died as the Bible explains.
And there are so many of these anti-Christian opinions out there. I came to find, again and again, they just weren’t true when I researched them. Looking to Christianity itself, we find atheists telling us, “There is no way for us to prove, to ourselves, that Christian faith has a sound basis”.
Wrong! Millions of sensible, well-educated Christians have actually put it to the test in their lives and now have ‘sound workable faith‘ with ‘positive benefits‘ as a result. I am actually referring to Christian faith that is built around belief in a “real God”. And I can certainly understand how that statement might look crazy to the average reader.
Now, I know it takes time to understand the Bible, but that amazing big book really is there to help us on our journey of faith. I offer some advice about it later. With that in mind, the essence of Christianity – what it’s all about – is presented in the final section of this website.
Again, please read on.
4. HOW DO WE REALLY ‘BELIEVE’?
I have already admitted that I had serious doubts, preventing the start of my own faith journey. That is before beginning that evaluation of mine explained above. And even after getting a positive result to my evaluation, I still wondered how could anyone come to really believe in God?
Yes, my mind was now open to the possibilities, but how and where could I begin to check it all out?
4.1 How I got into it
In my case, a friend of mine somehow convinced me – the professional auditor that I was – to actually evaluate Christian faith for myself. That is, to use my professional skills to do so!
His final words on the subject were, “Pete, I am sure that if you really put Christianity to the test, you will find that it is not ‘make-believe’!”
4.2 ‘Baby steps’ at first
On the one hand, I hadn’t expected any positive results at all. On the other hand, I still wasn’t convinced yet.
4.3 Getting a bit more serious
So, making sure that I kept an open mind, I began to seriously test Christianity. My wife and I started going to a regular old church and, maybe surprisingly, my faith knowledge really grew quickly.
That all had a flow-on effect in my life, and my search for ‘God’s presence‘ there. Actually, what seemed to be sound evidence was mounting up much more quickly now. I was becoming ‘reasonably’ confident that God was actually the ‘real deal’.
And by now I was also finding that the Bible, in its own right, seemed to have ‘evidence’ within it. For example it held interconnected ‘big picture’ stuff … and I mean right through it … that really made sense. The Bible was written over a conservative period of 1600 years, and by at least 40 authors.
And, you know, that too ‘indicated at least’ God had been at work there. Please see the article, “Our amazing Bible” for some insight into its basis and how to read it. The article has been written by an expert member of my team.
But! At that stage, I wanted to be even more certain.
4.4 Really going for it!
Another Christian friend told me about what sounded like ‘crazy stuff‘ happening in a growing area of the Christian Church. He said this was thanks to the Holy Spirit. Mmmmmm? Was all this starting to become ‘too good to be true’ again?
Anyway, my wife and I ‘bit the bullet’. We started alternating between services at our regular old church and churches recommended by my friend. I admit I was a bit of a ‘scaredy-cat’ at first, when fronting those Spirit-powered services. I mean I was not ready for … well … the spiritual ‘action’ apparent there. But I knew I had to really trial it! Of course I came to find there was absolutely no need to ever have been nervous about anything at all. There are literally hundreds of millions of people in the worldwide Pentecostal/ Charismatic movement.
And yes, I witnessed and even ‘experienced‘ stuff that went way past my expectations. Then our old church joined the same ‘movement’. Serious stuff happened there too. Indeed there was evidence, there for my wife and me, that genuinely was ‘rock-solid’ to us. And I’ll add a little more on that later …
4.5 The end result
Well, I finally came to hold very strong belief in God, as a result of my eventual sound Christian faith and its use. I had to completely agree, with my friend, that Christianity was not ‘make-believe’ at all!
But, you know, I never stopped evaluating it all. (As that senior auditor I was, I guess I couldn’t help myself.) I must add again that an ‘expert group of advisors‘ assisted me on that long journey.
Yes, my Christian journey did begin thirty plus years ago, and I am still locating solid evidence to further support all those early positive findings of mine.
I state it again: all that is needed as a starting point for ‘belief in God’ is an open mind. We actually have to be ready to believe. That is what I came to find is true, as a result of my evaluation. And, in fact, that is how all ‘auditors‘ must approach their projects … open minded, looking for evidence one way or the other, and ready to accept the results!
5. YOUR OWN SEARCH
Where can you begin though, with your own journey towards faith and belief?
5.1 How to start
I guess, first off, you do need to rise above any of those doubts you may hold. The section of the website, “Faith and Reason” (again see the Menu Bar above), tries to help in that regard.
Then, if you are open minded, the “Our journey of faith” section of this website gives overall guidance on how we each can come to believe in God. Please just begin by reading the article, “Can I really believe in God“. Yes, it’s all based on that long term evaluation of mine. But if its outcome was so positive for me, I’d be very surprised if it doesn’t work for you too!
Actually, we need go no further afield, with our task of ‘believing’, than by ‘engaging with God’; opening ourselves to him though faith. I am now so confident that it really does work! As such we can then recognise his presence within ‘our day-to-day lives‘, events ‘in the Church‘ itself and yes, even the Bible.
5.2 Make sure your evidence is sound
But, of course, your belief must be based on what we regard as genuine evidence and sound reasoning. I would not have it any other way! Neither should you.
Trust me again please, evidence can be profound at times, if we are willing to take the steps that are on offer from God. Yes, some of it can be ‘rock-solid’ as I mentioned above.
Have a look at the article, “Framework for evidence” if you would like to follow my approach of analysis and evaluation. It was obviously built from methods I used during my professional career. I also explain a bit about how to actually locate evidence in that article too.
Remember that the small sub section, “Dealing with doubts” follows this article. In turn that is followed by the article, “Defining faith and belief”. It explains ‘how and why’ I use those two words, “belief” and “faith”, in this article and others on this website.
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