I think the title is pretty self explanatory. What should we say to someone who asks us why we believe what we believe? Can we offer any real proof for what we believe about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? I’d appreciate answers from both sides of the aisle, either from Catholics or non-Catholic Christians. How would you respond?
No, I can not give the kind of evidence that those who pose such a question to me.
That is where faith is a gift given to those who are open.
“Blessed are those who have not seen, but believe”
(paraphased Christ’s comment to doubting Thomas)
I just happen to be online and saw this. I would never try to prove my belief in a way that satisfies the inquirer because I know I am not capable enough in coming out with such argument and proof. I will treat such question like I treat ‘what is the proof that God exists?’ Some people would go to all length to justify God’s existence. I wouldn’t do that unless it is just for the sake of asking my opinion. Yes, I have an opinion on why I believe God exist but I also know those who do not believe would have equally lengthy opinion on why they don’t. Perhaps my belief on God’s existence is not up for debate.
As for showing evidence for my belief, after long years in knowing God, I still feel the best way to testify to it is by my own life. This, the changes in my life, convinced me; not the word of my priest and the Bible. They merely confirm it. That is how it goes with me.
If I am asked for evidence of my belief, I would say I have experienced God and He changed me. I am now not what I was before and that is all because of God who loves me and changes me to whom he wants me to be. Then I can tell my story of profound personal conversion.
I believe faith is a grace, lovingly given by God. I cannot prove or share something that I do not have or experienced. I believe when God came into my life in a tangible way, it was a grace but more so to be meant to be used as my personal proof that He exists and that He is alive, in me, now and maybe forever.
Here’s some of the best summaries of arguments for God’s existence:
Excellent responses! Thank you. I think you’re right, at least in acknowledging that it’s not something that is easily explained, or proven. It’s based on a process that happens deep inside of us when we hear about the story of Jesus. We’re either open to belief, or not. It might be something that touches our heart, or that we immediately reject as being completely impossible. Sometimes, at some point later in life, we might find ourselves reevaluating that belief due to some kind of change, either in us or our situation, that causes us to reconsider what we’ve always dismissed in the past. But, it’s definitely hard to describe that kind of change of heart, especially to someone that’s never had that kind of experience. The question of actual, tangible proof, is the hardest thing of all to find.
Thanks, PR! I definitely have to read that one. Of course, there’s also this article on the New Advent website on Cause. I had forgotten about it. It looks at many different philosophers’ works, including Plato and Aristotle, on explaining ‘cause’ in relation to existence. It’s all a bit deep for me, and sometimes over my head, but if I take my time, I can usually figure it out, eventually.
No evidence is required if you believe. No evidence is compelling if you do not.
This is not the Catholic position, 808.
What you are proposing is Fideism, and is a heresy rejected by the Catholic Church.
We are always commanded to examine the evidence and to have reasons for our belief.
Fides quaerens intellectum is our mantra–faith seeking understanding.
So we must seek to understand what’s been given to us–in the form of evidence for God’s existence, evidence for the Incarnation, evidence for the Resurrection, evidence given by the Church.
The Bible tells us to be ready to give the reasons for our belief. We do not have to convince, merely show our reasoning, that belief is reasonable and not “blind faith.”
There is no definitive proof for God. CS Lewis says in Screwtape that if God were to give us overwhelming proof, then it would violate our free will. And I see it to be true that we can not *prove *God’s existence the way we can prove some mathematical theorem.
And that would run with the logic that God Loves.
Love does not force itself, or a return of love by another.
Thus the need to respond.
Which is our job, if we want to be in communion with God.
I’m not talking about faith; I’m talking about evidence.
I think he’s asking specifically about Jesus and the Christian God, not just a Creator in general. There are lots of people that believe in a Creator but not the Christian God.
I find this to be false when it comes to philosophical arguments for the existence of God. A lot of times you can come to an agreement with people on the very real possibility of a Creator or Cause. But convincing about the Christian God specifically requires more appeal to hearsay through eyewitness documents. Even if the veracity of the documents is proven, it is difficult for many people to accept the supernatural events included in them, especially when they haven’t witnessed anything like it themselves. I’ve known atheists that have had a conversion after witnessing or experience something miraculous, so it’s not true that ‘miracles wouldn’t convince them so God doesn’t give one.’
It more comes down to faith when it comes to believing in Jesus. Jesus said he wouldn’t open the hearts of some, and Catholic predestination theology confirms this (specifically the Thomistic and Augustinian schools). Though good arguments can be made about all of the eyewitnesses dying horrible deaths for no earthly gains. That’s my best one, anyway.
There are miracles that have happened from the ones that canonize saints to apparitions of Our Lady. Although they will probably dismiss them:p. The way you would respond to them really depends on who you are talking to. (i.e. Buddhist, Muslim, etc.)
I’m not sure I’m following you on your “Catholic predestination theology”. Are you saying some people are driven by fate and not by free will?
In Thomistic predestination, God gives sufficient grace to all, but efficacious grace to only some. Those who do not receive efficacious grace are not elected to glory, but are reprobated to damnation, ie allowed to die in their original or actual sin. There are articles that explain it more thoroughly online. Type in catholic predestination.
Physical evidence? The apostles who died for their belief…who witnessed the Resurrection…that’s pretty good evidence for me. And, as St. Paul said…if there be no Resurrection, then we are fools (paraphrasing, of course).
I find this to have good arguments in favor of the Resurrection of our Lord.
just throwing this out there and hope it relates. If someone asks how to “show me the evidence”, when it comes to believing in Jesus Christ, and we know this is a belief and faith, can you in return ask if they love their wife, mother, father, brother, or sister how would they show evidence of that love. i don’t mean the physical and outward displays, but LOVE the emotion/feeling/ you know LOVE. How do you prove something that is internal to our mental selves that the emotion/feeling LOVE exists? i don’t know i might be off track here.
The confusion is that love is something other than action.
Love is action.
You can tell someone until you are blue in the face that you love them, but if you don’t show it, it’s empty.
Those who keep a marriage going for a lifetime don’t ‘Feel’ loving all the time (the butterflies go away), but they might have to act when they don’t want to (a lot), that’s love…(sidenote: 15 years this year!)
Evidence: As I said in the other thread, which was buried in much too long of a post... What in life experience is not evidence? A scientist experiences a day and writes notes. An Apostle experiences a day and writes notes. If you don't want to look that far back, history is full of evidences. Many folks have written about their lives and experiences. I think the key is that the evidences for God are not the 'God particle' that can't be found because of what is in this thread already. God will not force your hand to know, He LOVES you too much. How? Where is his action? Most common and visible is the cross, but if one is interested in learning about other means, they have to listen to the evidences folks have for God's existence. Which is in their life experience. When people ask, I like to share.