Evidence that enables us to ‘believe in God’ must
be evaluated within a sound framework.
I wrote in the “About the website” page that my objective for this website is to provide you, the reader, with the ability (in audit ‘speak’) to test both the veracity of Christian faith and its efficacy for yourself. Veracity refers to the “truth and accuracy” of Christianity. Efficacy questions how well Christianity works: is it effective when applied to our lives. And, the ‘efficacy’ of Christianity helps support its ‘veracity’ which in turn offers evidence to us that God is real.
From your point of view, maybe not a very ‘interesting’ theory? But to someone like me, this stuff really is capable of ‘standing on its own two feet’ as far as Christianity is 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 again please click here.)
Now, 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 gain positive changes in your life. You will, as a result, find potential evidence for your own evaluation.
2. EVIDENCE BASED PRACTICE
So, how do we effectively build our belief in God? Indeed, ‘belief’ that will stand the test of time, and in turn support our Christian faith. 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: i.e. “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 offers 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? Each of us simply wants to know, “Can I believe in God?” (See step 1 in the image above.)
And we presume benefits will flow into our lives as a result, if we do find it to be true.
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 we need to potentially believe in God – which can then be ‘appraised’ as explained under Heading 5.
And look, I really hope the articles on this website will help you in your search for that evidence. You can begin by reading the article, “Can I really believe in God?” It also gives 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 begin our search. If you like, just begin with the article, “God’s presence in the Church” for guidance.
For starters, the Church helps each of us, in a Bible-based approach, to understand Christianity and our loving God. As I continue to state on this website, we need to understand ‘what’ we are trying to believe in, before we go in search of proof.
I also maintain you can even experience events there in the church, 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 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 there what I also refer to as ‘God’s presence‘. Yes, evidence can be recognised there too. That is when we willingly engage with him, there in our lives, as the Bible supports.
The evidence may not be as dramatic as say in the ‘movement’ though. No, it’s usually 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 can come to seem … well … natural, expected and oh, so real. And I’m talking about positive outcomes for you. Mind you I am not referring to stuff like ‘fame and fortune’ here. Please read the article, “What does faith offer us?” for an explanation.
Look, there are many, many articles available here to guide you in your search for evidence. Please see the heading “God in our Lives” in the Menu Bar above. Maybe just begin by reading the article, “God’s presence in our lives” for guidance.
5. ‘APPRAISE’ THE EVIDENCE
Fundamentally, this step relates to deciding whether the evidence we have located is really ‘genuine’. It is a vital step, at that.
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 will include words like “valid” and “relevant” for starters.
In simple words – that would relate to a Christian – we may accept that evidence of God’s presence, gathered by us, 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).
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”, in this regard, really means for us here.
6.1 Minimum ‘evidence’
Certainly, we each need to gather enough of this evidence to satisfy ourselves that God is truly present in our lives and the Church; he is real. Obviously, if the evidence we find is powerful enough, we won’t need as much of it.
But 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. Please read the article, “Why is God invisible?” for an explanation.
In essence, the average human being accepts things as ‘believable’ when they do locate enough ‘genuine evidence’ to support the standard of “beyond reasonable doubt”. That is they consider they have sufficient proof at that point of time.
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’ for each of us, 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 fairy-tale 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 long before, were ‘just’ replaced right there and then! And as a result significant health issues just disappeared in that instant. (Click the last link above to read more about it.) Please note that I would gain nothing by exaggerating/ lying about all this stuff to you, i.e. there is no advertising on this website. No reason for me to keep you here reading!
But remember, plenty of evidence can also be found in your ‘day-to-day life‘, and within just about ‘every church‘ out there. This is particularly likely once your relationship with God grows closer. The evidence, as such, just becomes all the more recognisable.
To say less than that would be a disservice to you.
6.3 But, proof is yours 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.
Your proof may not convince others
But, as ‘special’ as some of this proof may be to us as individuals, it cannot be termed “scientific” or classified as “objective” by someone else.
So, it maybe ‘rock-solid’ to us, yes! Possibly ‘irrefutable’ to us, yes! But, scientific? No! And we cannot usually pass our evidence on to anyone else, under normal circumstances.
Normally 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 encourage 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 much to an outsider?
A simple example of mine
And here is an example. I relayed details of my wife’s ‘miracle healing‘, that I mentioned above, to a close relative. That relative truly knew of my wife’s pre-existing, long-term stroke damage. He was aware that her doctor had made it clear that the stroke damage was most likely permanent. And he also knew they had now disappeared. But, he would not believe our explanation of events. He just wrote it all 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 supernatural cause!
Hmmm, hardened atheists eh? My wife’s health never did ‘regress’ (i.e. It didn’t return to its earlier damaged state). The significant healing event happened 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 of course I too, would have been just as mistaken!
7. ‘ANALYZE’ THE PROCESSES
Remember also, 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 above. That is, if it is to be used for “Building 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, again within ‘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.