Believing Without Proof

Alister-McGrath

Everyone, whether religious or secular,
ends up believing some things — often
some very important things — that they
cannot prove to be true. That’s just the
dilemma we face as human beings.

– Alister McGrath

A Detective Convinced by the Evidence

j-warner-wallaceI was a non-Christian until the age of thirty-five. I was often frustrated by the few Christians I knew on the police department because they weren’t able to respond evidentially to my skeptical (and often sarcastic) objections. I thought, “How can these folks who seem to have such high regard for evidence in their professional life, believe something about God for which they have no evidence at all?” I was similar to other atheists I knew at the time. I didn’t think there was any good evidence to support the claims of Christianity. The more I learned about the nature of evidence generally, and the more I learned about the evidence for Christianity specifically, the more convinced I became that the claims of the Gospels were true.

– J. Warner Wallace

Persuasive Evidence

Lee StrobelI’ll admit it: I was ambushed by the amount and quality of the evidence that Jesus is the unique Son of God… I shook my head in amazement. I had seen defendants carted off to the death chamber on much less convincing proof! The cumulative facts and data pointed unmistakably towards a conclusion that I wasn’t entirely comfortable in reaching.

–Lee Strobel,
The Case For Christ

When atheists ask for proof

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Dear Atheist friend,

Your demand for proof raises a problem. “Proof” is not a part of your worldview, and asking for it undermines your argument.

Honest atheism does not admit the existence of any absolute standard, any true point of reference. Everything is governed by chaos; the universe is only stardust randomly bumping into stardust. Within a consistent, atheistic paradigm nothing could ever be truly known or proven.

The idea of “proof” belongs to the worldview of those who believe in a Supreme Creator who has put order, logic, consistency, and structure into the universe. A believer in a wise, all knowing Creator can think in terms of “proof” and “evidence,” but not a person who sees the universe as a random collision of particles.

Your request presupposes something you don’t believe in. It borrows from the worldview you are trying to deny.

Your statement self-destructs.

Nice try.

 

It doesn’t always stand to reason

Jurgen Schulz'12 copyOne of the crucial factors relating to faith and belief is the fact that humans are not merely rational creatures. We often think and act in very irrational, and sometimes downright foolish ways. Reason does not reign supreme in our lives.

Along with a mind, we have a heart—a motive center. Our heart tends to find certain things attractive or repulsive, and encourages our mind to look for logical reasons to support these inclinations. Before long “good” arguments are found to back them up these preferences and desires of the heart.

We often end up eating something we shouldn’t eat, or buying something we shouldn’t buy. At times we act or react in wrong and hurtful ways.

What happened to our rationality?

It got overtaken by our desires. Our mind got highjacked by our heart.

A similar phenomenon takes place in matters of faith. There are things swirling around in our hearts like guilt, pride, lust, resentment, hurtful memories, etc. Our intellect is colored and shaped by these feelings and inclinations. We latch on to certain ideas because we “feel” inclined to do so. It may have little or nothing to do with logic or reason.

It was suggested by Thomas Cranmer that what the heart loves, the will chooses and the mind justifies.

Thomas Aquinas ‏went as far as to say “Most men seem to live according to sense rather than reason.”

So the questions arise: Do people reject belief in God because of cold hard evidence? Or do they do so because they have hearts that prefer it to be that way? Do we honestly seek to know the truth, whatever it may be, or do we seek evidence to support what we really want to believe? How objective are we really?

I am afraid that rationality is only a part of what’s going on. Perhaps a small part. We are often eager to believe what we know is not true. No one deceives us more often than we deceive ourselves.

Even in matters of life and death.

In fact, it’s rather scary.

–Jurgen Schulz