The Case for Belief

Christian Evidence is the study of any subject that assists in establishing the accuracy of the Bible and the validity of the Christian religion. There are two areas of evidence: External evidence is that which has to do with facts obtained outside the Bible, such as archaeology, the testimony of ancient manuscripts, and secular history; Internal evidence is drawn from within the Bible itself and includes such themes as the unity of the Scriptures, fulfilled prophecy, the resurrection of Jesus, and the conversion of Saul.

There are also two types of evidence: Empirical evidence is based upon observation and/or experience. It has to do with our physical senses of taste, touch, sight, smell, and hearing. Inferential evidence is based upon facts and/or testimony. It is the accumulation of several lines of evidence leading to an inevitable conclusion.

Empirical evidence does not guarantee belief, though many think it provides the absolute criteria. Some say if they could see Jesus, or if they had been with Him, they would surely believe. But that’s not true. Many people saw Jesus, even witnessing His miracles, and still did not believe Him! Why would it be any different today?

Much of what we believe is based on inferential evidence. We believe because of adequate testimony, rather than personal experience. Everyone believes in Alexander the Great, William Shakespeare, and Abraham Lincoln, yet we’ve never seen them.

Much of what we believe is based on inferential evidence. We believe because of adequate testimony, rather than personal experience. Everyone believes in Alexander the Great, William Shakespeare, and Abraham Lincoln, yet we’ve never seen them. Neither can we see love, truth, or loyalty, but we surely believe in those qualities and pursue them. Just because we cannot see something, or taste it, touch it, smell it, or hear it, does not necessarily prove it doesn’t exist.

God created us with intelligence capable of rational thought. He could have programmed us to believe and do everything exactly the way He desires. But we would be different. We would be nothing more than mindless robots responding to the buttons He pushed. Instead He gave us minds – the ability to think, to reason, and to choose for ourselves. Therefore, through the process of reason, we are able to evaluate the evidence and consider the alternatives and/or consequences before making our choices.

An alleged fact is said to have occurred, like the resurrection of Jesus. Now either He rose from the dead or He did not. Evidence must be produced to support or refute the alleged fact. Reason then becomes the deciding factor. It sits in judgment of the evidence. If reason is satisfied because the evidence is sufficient, then belief in the alleged fact is validated, substantiated, and sustained. On the other hand, if the evidence is insufficient, non-conclusive, or invalid, then reason rejects the alleged fact and belief cannot be sustained.

Sufficient evidence does not mean all questions can be answered. Just because we are confronted by a question we can’t answer doesn’t mean the entire basis of our faith has been undermined. Evidence for Christianity is like a massive pyramid. There is not just one piece of evidence to support Christianity – there is a pyramid of evidence supported by countless valid arguments. Christianity cannot be destroyed by one argument, nor can it be established by one argument. A man cannot climb to the top of the Great Pyramid with a hammer, knock off a chunk, and then claim to have destroyed the entire pyramid – so it is with the case for belief.

“Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20.30-31).

– Bill