I can’t prove God exists. So how?

Recently, some of my old postings on Christianity have seen a revival in comments from two readers. You might want to read the posts and the comments

Why, God, Why?

Why I go to church

The latest reply I did to a reader named Stephen is so long, I might as well post it as a new entry (so you other regular readers don’t complain that I haven’t been posting often enough ;D).

It touches upon why I can’t prove the existence of God to a non-believer, yet I continue to believe in Him.

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Hi Stephen,

You seek the proof in a particular aspect, and then I have to be honest – I am afraid whatever proof or stories I might write here may not convince you at this juncture.

Like you, I’m always skeptical of miracle cures – I don’t believe in mass sessions of faith healing (eg. a preacher comes and proclaims people sick of their lifelong illnesses, lays his hands on them and they start walking after being disabled since birth and so on).

In this modern age, I have yet to see and hear of a real example of truly fantastical miracle by everyone’s (believer and non-believer) standards.

Yet, the Bible tells that when Jesus came to earth, he was able to pull off such sessions with ease. So one of the tough questions for Christians today is – “Why don’t these great miracles happen today?”.

So back to your point – no, I (and many other Christians) don’t believe that a girl with her legs blown off can regrow her leg again by a mere prayer. But doctors can give her a prosthetic leg that lets her walk again. That is only made possible by man’s intelligence, which we celebrate fully. And Christians believe that man’s intelligence and scientific achievements comes from God. On the other hand. evolution doesn’t really answer why only man is so ridiculously smart as compared to the rest of the species.

That nun you speak about – her claim is most probably hogwash (though hey, you’d never really know right?). And that is the very sort of thing that Christians like me do not depend on to share about Christ’s work. People in general are more willing to believe that Christ rose from the dead after 3 days than a nun re-growing her heart.

Some Christian folks die today because they refuse to seek medical treatment and fully rely on the belief that prayer alone can heal everything. But they seem to forget that one of Jesus’ apostles Luke was a doctor himself, and nowhere in the Bible does God say :”Don’t bother with doctors.” Christians in general believe God gave man science, and that we should not hesitate to seek man-made remedies while seeking God’s grace.

So if I catch a flu, I’ll be foolish not to take flu medication. But if God wills it, the flu might just kill me. That I can accept as well as a matter of faith and it’s not something I’ll get worked up about over.

Neither do I believe in speaking in other mystical stuff like “speaking in tongues” (a disbelief, which one fellow Christian has said in the past, will condemn me to hell, can you believe it) that is a big thing with charismatic and new evangelical churches. I personally think it’s just babbling for the sake of it.

I also agree with you that it shouldn’t take a personal tragedy for people to become a believer.

Yet that happens all too often, only for the simple reason that when faced with a dire situation, people are forced against the wall to re-examine their belief system, their humanity and their life in perspective.

I learnt to believe in Christ because of my mum’s illness (I believe God saved her against all odds after a desperate plea – she was at Stage 4 breast cancer and honestly, she should have been dead in 1992 but she survived for another decade), but today, I continue to believe in Christ because my mum is long gone and the memory of her suffering is but a faint whisper, but I continue to struggle with sin and my humanity daily and still see his redemptive work in my life and others. That, my friend, I find difficult to describe to you because we all lead different lives with different struggles.

When it comes down to it, I understand you are seeking for definite, empirical proof of God by man’s standards.

I’d be branded a fool to say that I can give you that proof, because I don’t have it in a white paper, a box or several paragraphs. Scientists spend decades trying to prove the existence of God, but their instruments won’t show you the results, nor can they even agree on what specific prerequisites it takes to determine the existence of God.

I’m probably as big a cynic as you, because I demand proof in everything in my daily life.

This especially so in the workplace (I work in Microsoft, where only tangible results count in my appraisals and it’s a really demanding environment), As a newspaper journo in the past, I demanded that every story have at least two to three different verifications before it can be deemed publishable. As a press photographer when I was young, I refused to Photoshop any image to thwart the reality I had snapped with my camera. The photos were the proof.

So I might appear to be an hypocrite by saying that with God, I cannot show the proof you want. A case of double-standards by man’s measurements. Yet the Bible says in Romans 1:18:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

In other words, everything that we see around us – the trees, the stars, the mountains – demonstrates quite convincingly the existence of intelligent design. That’s God’s evidence for us. We feel amazement at the ecosystem of the universe, we appreciate the beauty of nature and we ask “how is it that we know this is beautiful?”

But man, even if he feels the sense of wonder in his heart, rejects that idea, rejects the evidence laid before him. And with his intelligence and leadership of all species, decides it is best to put himself in the centre of the universe.

Never mind the fact that he can drop dead any second for all proclamations of power, because his fate is not really in his hands. Man decided to put his faith wholly in science, and make evolution – which is still a collection of loosely linked and not fully verified theories (see how many revisions the scientists make on their theories all the time) – the only answer to everything. If science and statistics are right, we cannot possibly be the only intelligent species in the universe – yet why is Planet Earth so terribly unique in the scheme of things?

Christianity is one of the most criticised things in the world, largely because of the sins of so-called believers (eg. Crusades, the Inquisition, and lately, the war on Iraq and Afghanistan) who killed unjustly in the name of God, as well as overzealous folks who insist on hitting people’s head with a Bible (figuratively speaking) all the time. As a non-Christian for most of my life – I loathed all these things about Christians, and today, I still do. Christians forget that they need to communicate better in order for our message to be understood. A lot of misconceptions about Christians and Christ continue to be perpetuated by Christians themselves and it is not going to be changed any time soon.

The only thing I can do on my part is try to be honest about what I believe in. Again, it seems double standards for me to demand real facts in the secular world, and simply rely on “faith” when it comes to God.

But that’s the ONLY thing God really expects man to do – to simply believe that Jesus once did come down to earth in order to redeem man’s sin forever. Nothing we can do on our own effort and capability will redeem our fallen state. Here, the Bible states in Romans 3:

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

It’s so simple a process it seems foolish to be a Christian. “Simply believe in Christ and live forever? You’ve gotta be kidding me.” But that has spurred so many people to seek the answers for themselves, and later, for many of them to come believe in Christ.

And being a Christian doesn’t mean having to follow all sorts of weird procedures or impossible demands. For example, the Ten Commandments (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+20&version=NIV) are pretty easy to understand and follow. And Jesus’ “Golden Rule” is so simple in concept – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you – and while tough to practice, it is possible to carry out.

God expects us to use our intelligence to question everything that we do, not follow any commandments blindly because we’d be no better than robots. That’s why every Christian needs to continually question his faith in order to renew it, not be a slavish follower of whatever a preachers says at the pulpit. If a preacher tells me to speak in tongues today to prove that I’m a believer, I’ll ask him why should I – it’s not what God says I have to do be saved. But so many others happily follow the preacher, and not God’s Word.

Hope that clarifies some more things for you.

Ian

9 Replies to “I can’t prove God exists. So how?”

  1. So much bullshit.

    For example: “And Christians believe that man’s intelligence and scientific achievements comes from God.”

    Why give your invisible friend credit, when it was the hard work of scientists, who are thousands of times more intelligent than you are, that gave the world scientific achievements.

    The intelligence of human apes comes from millions of years of natural selection, and not from your magic fairy.

    Grow up mister. This is not the Dark Ages.

  2. Dear “bobxxxx”

    If you want to comment with such vigour and conviction, you should at least have the courtesy to put down your full and real name if you want people to believe in what you say.

    I shall leave your comment here as it is to let my other more rationale readers judge for themselves. But for everyone else, I will delete your post in this thread if you can’t

    1. Use your real and full name, and email address
    2. Comment without trying to insult someone.

    People always get worked up when it comes to religious discussions, but let’s keep it civil, constructive and honest. That starts with identifying yourself before you start proclaiming your beliefs. Only when we are not afraid to say who we are, can we begin to respect each other’s views. I will not carry out a serious conversation with a mere pseudonym.

  3. Wow, that shut boobxxx up good!

    Back to the serious stuff. Why don’t you believe in ‘speaking in tongues’? Mind, I know of a few people who either don’t practice it, or don’t believe it in either. However, because it’s recorded in the Acts as well as in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, I’m inclined to believe it’s true. You call it ‘babble’, but I’m interested to know exactly what Paul was talking about, and how it evolved into what we see in churches today.

  4. Hi Gary (I have to use your real name or I’ll delete your post!)

    I think to better clarify – I don’t believe that being able to speak in tongues is a necessary part of being a Christian (which this ex-classmate of mine obviously thought otherwise). I asked him “Hey, I don’t speak in tongues, does that mean I won’t get to Heaven?” He actually said “I don’t believe you will go to Heaven.” I’ve never heard a more foolish sentence from a fellow Christian but I forgive my brother :D.

    My short answer: I believe tongues were a spiritual gift from God during the early days of the church that allowed people to speak in different human languages (ie. Me speaking in Tibetan suddenly). Paul said he had the gift, but he warned that it’s better to speak coherently so that people could understand rather than get confused or frightened. Unfortunately, some churches use it to show off how holy they really are and scare off everyone else in the process. If these folks really do have the spiritual gift, then it’s not doing God any favours when it’s abused en masse.

    1 Corinthians 14:
    Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the flute or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me. So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.

    For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand[ say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified.

    I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.

    The longer answer: Read John MacArthur’s take on it. http://www.biblebb.com/files/macqa/1301-X-7.htm

  5. Thanks for that, Ian. You’ve revealed another thing to me, and that is that I need to brush up on my bible knowlegde. These words kinda say it all: ‘But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.’ And yeh, the posts by John M. don’t make for all too pleasant reading, especially for Christians in the so-called ‘new’ movement (All God wants is for you to be rich!).

    God bless you, bro. Looking forward to reading more photography posts after this!

  6. Your arguments are so flawed I do not know where to begin. If you choose TO believe, by all means. But dun come knocking on my home door trying to force your beliefs on me. Christians are CONSTANTLY trying to get their religion passed through. These believers vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of theirs.

    Science does not have all the answers. This does not mean that the vacuum has to be automatically filled by ‘God did it” myths. Where did God come from? How did He get created? Why is it a valid argument to say that He “always existed”, but an invalid argument to say the same thing about matter and energy? Here is a bottle of water. Turn it into wine. Walk across my swimming pool. Turn this stick into a real live snake.

    I also cannot prove that the Merlion exists, but heck I am going to believe in the existence of the Merlion anyway. No proof is necessary. Who needs facts, when you can stick your head in the sands of faith?

    Brains ‘are hardwired to believe in God and imaginary friends’
    Read more:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1136482/Brains-hardwired-believe-God-imaginary-friends.html

  7. That explains all then, That’s why so many people in all walks of life, and many of these (astonishingly) with a proven ability to solve huge and complex problems by sheer reasoning and deduction, fail quite embarrassingly to use the same reasoning when asked a simple question about their chosen God?

    Over many months of reading what I would call the brighter blogs, that is, those that have a religious agenda coupled with a writer of some merit, a chilling and similar pattern emerges.

    At the outset the conversation seems structured, interesting and intelligent, but dare to ask that the same reasoning be applied to their belief system and, all bets are off, and the same reasoning power that runs their whole life, impresses their peers, and earns them huge salaries, disappears as quick as the smoke up the Vatican chimney.
    Stephen

  8. Guys, this is my blog, this are my personal views. It’s not a space for you to tell me how right you are compared to everyone else, whether they are religious or not. You can set up your own soapbox to do so.

    I’m not even bothering to answer the above two posts, because you have already made up your mind on anything related to Christianity. Me not replying in earnest will probably make you upset, because you assume I want to debate this with you, that your comment will rankle me. Hey guess what, my mind is made up too, but I don’t go around telling other people what to think. We all have free will, we all have the right on our own perspectives.

    As a believer in Christ, I’m happy and contented with my lot in life. I ask the questions I need to ask, and I learn the lessons I have to learn. You will not understand my perspective no matter what answer I give, but I’m okay with that. It’s your life after all. I never came here to impose my views on you. If you don’t like what you read here, hey, I’m not forcing you to read it. I’m not here to pick a fight with anyone, but you’ll see how quite a few people want to pick a fight with me. Ever wonder why? And rest assured I’ll never call you names or deride you, because that’s not very courteous.

    God bless everyone,

    Ian

    PS: You might also assume I want to be desperately proven right in your eyes. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. I’d rather be a fool for Christ than a wise man by man’s standards.

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