Proof or Evidence, Which is Stronger?
Just recently I had a chat with a friend who is now an atheist. There I was with such passion trying to share God and rebut everything that was being thrown at me. “Oh how I wish I had cared more for my undergrad logic class at GWU,” I thought to myself, as I tried to form my arguments.
I can’t pull God down by the shirt collar from heaven and put Him in front of a person’s face and say, “here, here is your physical material proof that God exists.” The idea that we should believe in things for which we have proofs, AKA “logical positivism” or “materialism,” was the birth for modern atheism that came from brilliant philosophical thinkers like A.J. Ayer and David Hume. I could also go into a bunch of schools of thought, verification principles, and philosophical statement types, but that would take forever.
The thing about the philosophy of atheism is that it always collapses under the weight of its own scrutiny. Materialism is based on proofs. You say to me that you need proof that God or whatever we’re talking about exists, and I say I want proof that God or whatever we’re talking about doesn’t exist. You want analytical and empirical proof that He does exist, and I want your analytical and empirical proof that He doesn't exist. I can’t prove with analytical and empirical outcomes that God exists, but you can’t prove to me that He doesn’t.
What will make our arguments stronger is if we move away from proofs, which neither of us can do, and move to the basis of evidence. Is there evidence of His existence?
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. - 1 Peter 3:15
The awesome thing about we humans is that we have been given the gift of metaphysical realities like laughter and thinking. We are allowed to reason, to test if something is true based on the evidence, so that we don’t simply believe every Tom, Dick, and Harry that is trying to sell us their thoughts as truth.
When I look around Europe I see old cathedrals. These large churches that once had influence in their local villages, and that once strongly represented the glory of God for those that strongly believed in Him during their heyday. Now Europe is ever secular and America has already followed suit. Now we see places like Africa, the Far East, and Iran reaching out and accepting Christ. When I lived in Spain all I heard was the tired voices of the Spanish who are tired of the corruption of the Catholic Church, and most want nothing to do with church. (Protestants have their problems too). In Spain they didn’t want to hear about Christ. The same is in France and Germany, though I feel Germans have different reasons for not wanting to hear about Christ. England is ever secular too, but there is a sense of Christ there, more so than Germany I’d say. But over all, Westerners are tired of hearing about religion.
But, could it be that they’re associating Christ with religion? Can it be that they’re associating all the nasty things about religious institutions that we hear about- corruption, church lies, bad church experiences, and stealing- with Christ Himself?
I get it, but I appeal to those who are tired- are you confusing religion with relationship? When speaking to people I stress that I am not talking about religion, but relationship. Some are so far into disdain with the church that a belief in doing good and being a good person is enough.
Yes, the church in the name of Christ has done awful things- allowed murder, conquered lands, raped lands, kept quiet during horrible atrocities- and it is awful! I understand Wiesel’s quote from above. Man has taken religion for his own personal gain. There will be day that God will sort through all the evil that has been done and that is being done in the world. And those who held leadership positions in the church and acted with a façade to act Christ-like on the outside, but were secretly engaging in sinful horrors will pay.
That aside, God is interested in a relationship with those that He creates, through His son Jesus. He knows that this world is broken, and it was never His plan that it be broken. But, He invites us to look at the evidence and to be like the ancient Bereans to see if He is real. He invites us to research and look at the evidence from Biblical archaeological digs to see if King David, the Queen of Sheba, King Solomon, the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles existed. Biblical evidence like scrolls and writings have been surfacing in the past 50 years +, and God invites us to test the authenticity of those finds.
As I realized about my friend, they’re not searching for God. They’re apathetic and they choose to be that way. We don’t know what we don’t know. If we’re not looking for a thing we won’t find it. If we’re not looking for God we won’t find Him- unless He chooses to reveal Himself in a titanic way to someone, like He did to the Apostle Paul on the Road to Damascus.
The one thing I want to stress is that religion doesn’t always mean relationship. Instead of thinking someone is trying to proselytize Christianity onto you, I’d say they’re trying to get you to understand the life saving value of coming to know Christ personally.
Why not try Him, if you know Him?
Happy Friday & Love xx, Ally
**Inspiration from this post came from Amy Orr-Ewing.