When critics of belief in both God and Christianity say they will not believe it until it can be proven true, they are doing two things. One, they are demanding something that cannot be done; and two, they are demanding something that they demand of nearly nothing else, including their own worldview.
You see, proof is limited to the fields of logic and mathematics. Therefore, in the search for truth, there are many things that we cannot prove with absolute, one-hundred percent, certainty. We cannot prove that the results of scientific research are correct, that George Washington was president of the United States, or that our spouse loves us. These are all beliefs that we take on faith, but not without sufficient reason, evidence, testimony and experience to do so.
How We Determine our Beliefs
So how is it we come to believe one thing over another? Through the use of probability, plausibility, and reason.
Think of it like a scale, with the evidence of two opposing views placed on either side. Whichever one has the most weight to it, we believe. The problem however, comes when we impose our preference into our reason so much that we tip the scale in our favor and believe something without sufficient reason. So obviously, we should seek to be fair, unbiased and honest in our measurements.
Put simply, the moment a person believes that the claims of one view are more reasonable and probable than any and all rival views, we are obligated to accept it. We may have doubts concerning it, and may even argue against it, but so long as its plausibility stands stronger than the alternatives, we should believe it to be true.
We must accept that the gap between proof and plausibility is faith, which Merriam-Webster defines as “Something that is believed with strong conviction.” Since proof is limited to such a small range of topics, we all hold a majority of our beliefs on matters of faith; even ones that relate to science, which is often touted as the only field of certainty.
In regards to the question of whether or not God exists, we only have two options. Either a maximally great and powerful being exists who created space, time, energy and matter or a maximally great being does not exist and everything is the result of unguided occurrences.
Upon examining the alternatives to belief in God, I believe that positions such as Naturalism (The view that everything is the result of natural properties and causes), and Humanism (The view that value, worth and goodness comes from ourselves) are insufficient at answering the important questions that we ask about the origins of the universe, life, ethics, reason, value, goodness and morality.
Leaving out hot topic issues like the age of the universe, the role of adaptation and evolution; then given all the sound philosophical arguments for the existence of God (The Moral, Cosmological, Fine Tuning, Transcendental and Teleological Arguments); I firmly believe with a near absolute certainty that God exists.
People often wonder how we arrive at Christianity being the only way when there are so many religions in the world. The simple response is to consider what these other world views believe about Jesus, then run it through the filter of what we know.
Every other religion outside of Christianity is forced to do three things. First, they must discredit the Bible and label it as unreliable because of its claims. Second, they must then lessen Jesus to a mere prophet or good person, instead of the title the Bible gives him, God. Third, they must raise up another prophet and convince people that his words have more authority than those of the Bible.
However, many problems arise in this process. First, recent prophets such as Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russel and Muhammad are riddled with numerous contradictions and faults in what they say. Second, the manuscript evidence we have strongly suggests that what we read in the Bible today is what the authors wrote in the first century AD, to a degree of 99.5% accuracy. Third, the story of Jesus recorded in the Bible holds the most explanatory scope, power and plausibility given all arguments to the contrary.
It explains how he performed all the miracles, why the body of Jesus was missing three days after his crucifixion, how the disciples were transformed from fearful men to bold proclaimers (And in many cases martyrs) of the gospel, and it makes sense of the rapid spread of Christianity even after its savior was unexpectedly murdered.
Christianity is a Reasonable Faith
As a Christian, it is easy to develop doubts for why we believe what we believe when the current trend in our culture is to put down and demonize anyone who believes in God or holds the Bible as a guiding standard for how we are to live our life. But based on evidence and reason, I believe we have a stronger foundation than any other view to stand on; be it religious or secular.
- Keller, Timothy J. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. New York: Riverhead, 2009. Print.
- Craig, William Lane. Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008. Print.