Faith and reason can be 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 in these times 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 hmmm … indeed … even the Bible was right about me at the time [Psalm 14:1]: “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
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’. That is 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 – which is based on my own long journey of evaluation – I firstly discuss the major doubts that can prevent so many of us ‘thinkers’ from even wondering 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 testing Christian faith for ourselves. As such, how we can actually come to ‘believe in God‘; accept that he is real! Plus … as I came to find … there are rewards for each of us, such as real contentment and purpose in life, that can flow from the evidence.
And, in fact, if you just want some brief guidance on how to believe in God, then start by reading the info under Headings 4 and 5 in this article.
2. MAJOR DOUBTS FACING US.
But yes, there certainly can be major doubts facing us, when we think about trying faith for ourselves. For example the subject of “science versus religion”. You know, it just ‘stopped me in my tracks’ before I finally checked it out. And I mean that I had to seriously analyse scientific facts, so as to find just how wrong I had been.
And that was just one doubt blocking my way forward.
So … before trying faith for myself … I thoroughly researched all the major causes of doubts that I held. And, you know, I actually found that they were in fact all unfounded. Yes, I WAS surprised … but I just had to accept the facts.
The “Deal with doubts” section of the website (see the Menu Bar above) has been developed to address those major doubts for readers, and to logically challenge the ‘atheist worldview’. Articles are available here to explain the following:
- Modern science and traditional Christianity are not in conflict.
- Differences between major religions can be explained.
- Believable theories about God’s being are available.
- Suffering and evil in this world does not mean there is no God.
Yes, after all that serious evaluation of mine, I could see there was no logical reason preventing me from checking out Christian faith, as well as searching for evidence of God’s presence; his existence!
3. IS CHRISTIAN FAITH REASONABLE?
Again, there are just so many negative opinions, existing about Christianity, held within the broader community. (And look, I had those same opinions before checking them out!) 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 Christian Church). Yes, there are genuine ‘historical documents‘ to support that Jesus lived and died as the Bible explains.
And the Bible itself? Well, I know it takes time to understand its contents, but that ‘amazing big book‘ really is there to help us on our journey of faith. I offer some advice about it later.
4. BUT HOW CAN WE REALLY ‘BELIEVE’?
So, it seemed possible to me, after my investigation and evaluation of major doubts, that “faith” and “reason” just might be able to ‘get along’! Now, it WAS time for me to trial faith: to begin my assessments there. Could I come to believe somehow that God was real? As I explain later, I did need some convincing to actually go for it! But I did ‘get there’.
Firstly though, I just needed to know where any of us CAN look to find the evidence we need?
4.1 How I got into it
In my case, a friend of mine somehow convinced me 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
In the very early stages of my testing I only trialled Bible-based practises, like ‘prayer‘ and ‘guidance‘, in my day-to-day life. And yes, I did in fact get some indications, at least, that God may have been present there. And I mean I did seriously research the basis of those practises in the Bible, before trialling them in my life.
An ordained Christian chaplain, who had just begun to regularly visit my workplace, was only too pleased to help me out with advice and offer me theological books to read during this time. Was it just luck that he happened to turn up at that time? (That chaplain is incidentally on my website’s advisory team.)
Anyway, on the one hand, I hadn’t really expected any positive indications. But on the other hand, I still wasn’t convinced. I knew that I needed to look much deeper if I wanted to really check it out.
4.3 Getting a bit more serious
So, making sure that I kept an open mind, I began to seriously test Christianity. YES, I knew I that had to include going to church! My wife and I started going to a regular old Protestant church and, maybe surprisingly, my faith etc grew quite quickly. I admit that we were very fortunate to have such a ‘cluey’ church leader at our chosen church. Week after week we were on the receiving end of high quality Bible-based sermons (talks) about engaging, or connecting, with God in our lives … and the benefits open to us if we did so. (And, I must add that this guy is now also a member of my website’s advisory team.)
That all had a flow-on effect in my life, and my search for ‘God’s presence‘ there. Actually, what seemed to be genuine evidence did then begin to ‘mount up’ in my day-to-day life. I was becoming … again … ‘kind of’ confident that God was actually the ‘real deal’. You know, this would have taken soooo long, without that church leader of ours. (So yes, I found going to church is ‘not negotiable’ if we really want to believe.)
And by now I was also finding that the Bible, in its own right, seemed to have ‘evidence’ within it. I put in some serious reading here, I can assure you! For example it held interconnected ‘big picture’ stuff … and I mean right through it … that really made sense. BUT remember we have to know how to ‘decipher’ it! Please see the article, “Our amazing Bible“. The article has been written by another expert member of the website’s advisory team.
Mind you, at that stage, still just ‘early days’ in my journey of faith, I wanted to be even more certain. And quickly, if I could!
4.4 Really going for it!
Now, another Christian friend (and fellow auditor) 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. Well! 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 other churches recommended by my friend.
Look, no one should just close themselves off from the ‘possibilities’ available in that area of the church, without having a ‘look into it’. Yeah, I had been ‘cocky’ and denied its possibilities in the past. But, now I was really questioning my old arrogant ways. I admit I was even a bit of a ‘scaredy-cat’ at first, when fronting those services. I mean I was not ready for … what at least appeared to be genuine ‘spiritual’ action there!
AND I then knew I had to really trial it, if I was ever going to ‘know one way or the other’. First off, I came to find there was absolutely no need to have been a ‘scaredy-cat’ at all. There are literally hundreds of millions of people in the worldwide Pentecostal/ Charismatic movement. That is, where ‘all this’ goes on.
Yes, I came to witness and ‘experience stuff‘ that went way past my expectations. Then the old church, that my wife and I were still attending regularly, changed its leader. And it then joined the same ‘movement’. Serious stuff happened there too. Indeed there was evidence, there for my wife and me, that was genuinely ‘rock-solid’ to us.
If you like, check out the article, “Is this Spirit stuff real?” As the name implies, it describes how I literally put it all ‘to the test’ for myself over the years. It includes my long-term analysis and final evaluation on the subject.
And yes, ‘the auditor‘ was finally convinced!
4.5 The end result
Well, I obviously came to hold very strong belief in God, as a result of my eventual ‘sound Christian faith‘ and its use in the Church and my life. I had to completely agree, with my friend, that Christianity was not ‘make-believe’ at all! And I came to recognise, during the process, what a beautiful and fulfilling religion Christianity is. Life changing!
But, you know, I never stopped evaluating it all. (As that senior auditor I once was, and my underlying analytical nature, I guess I just cannot help myself.) I must add again that an ‘expert group of advisors‘ assisted me on that long journey. They were so ready and willing to do so. Never pressuring me to accept their views either.
So, 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. And, as such, both my Christian faith and belief in God grows ever deeper.
I state it again: all that is needed as a starting point for ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ is an open mind. 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, “Deal with doubts” (again see the Menu Bar above), tries to help in that way.
Then, if you are open minded and ready, the “Our journey of faith” section of this website gives overall guidance on how we each can come to believe in God. Actually, we need go no further afield, with our task of ‘believing’, than to ‘engage with God’. Deliberately opening ourselves to him though Christian faith. Please just begin by reading the ‘intro article’, “Can I really believe in God?” to that website section mentioned above.
I am now so confident that it really does work! As such we can then recognise the Lord’s presence within ‘our day-to-day lives‘, events ‘in the Church‘ and of course within the Bible when we know how to ‘decipher’ it.
5.2 Make sure your evidence is sound
But, of course, your belief must be based on what us ‘thinkers’ 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 auditing career. I also explain a bit about how to locate evidence in that article too.
The small subsection, “Doubt and Christians” is there to assist both ‘beginner’ and ‘experienced’ Christians to work through any doubts that may surface during their journeys of faith. That is, as they look for evidence of God’s presence there. The article, “Defining faith and belief” explains ‘how and why’ I use those two words, “belief” and “faith”, in this article and many others on this website.
Again please, if you would like to build “Christian faith” and come to “believe in God” then please just begin by reading the article, “Can I really believe in God?“.