More About "How Do We Know That God Is Real?"

A couple of weeks ago, I re-posted an old article I wrote, about Elijah asking me, "How do we know that God is real?" Because of a dubious choice I made to post it on a particular website, I got a slew of comments (mostly negative) within a few hours.

The following week, I posted a response to these comments last week, re-explaining the purpose of my post, plus sharing my thoughts on the comments I received.

One particular comment was from a friend of mine. You might have missed it, so I wanted to republish it as it's own post, as it was full of logic, support, and vulnerability. I don't exactly have his permission to do this, but as they say, it's easier to ask for forgiveness . . .

Here it goes:

Wow, lots of activity here over what Joey wrote. I enjoy a good debate over the important things of life as much as anyone. However, notice that the point of Joey's blog isn't necessarily apologetics but parenting. Here the two topics have intersected a bit but this really isn't the best forum for debating atheism vs. Christianity.

So I waited a few days to post this so as not to provoke the reddit visitors to a debate. I hope for the next few points to be for any of Joey's typical readers who might have read through these comments. If you'd like to debate those finer points then I'd welcome you to a few links below to hash this out in a more suitable venue.

1) There is lots of internal and external evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. Here are two links for anyone interested in what that looks like.

2) Even though Joey was not raised a Christian, believing something just because of the culture you were raised in doesn't mean it's not true. A source of information doesn't necessarily correlate with it's veracity. If I read from some tea leaves that Barack Obama was currently president of the USA that statement would still be true even though my methods were suspect.

3) Evolution doesn't disprove Jesus' resurrection or that the universe had a creator. Just ask the Pope.

4) The "battle between science and religion" is a made up one that gets a lot of play because people a drawn to conflict. Plenty of devout theists have been pioneering scientists. Newton, Pascal, Lemaitre, Mendel, Collins, Pasteur, etc…

5) Along the same lines, there is no scientific proof that we should only accept scientific proof. Logic, reason, math, history, morality, etc…. all contain truth that is unaccessible by science.

6) Joey's kids have not been ruined by religious indoctrination. He left a safe corporate job to serve a church and now he's left that steady environment to serve the poorest and most hopeless people in the state. Teaching kids to take care of the most vulnerable people in society is the right thing to do.

Lastly, if any atheists have made it this far I am sorry to the extent that the church has (and it certainly has) let you honestly believe that the straw man "Xianity" you hate so much is real. We are fallen and imperfect people and need your patience and forgiveness. If it helps I don't believe the god you've rallied against here is real either.

I would love to hear any other thoughts and comments you might have.

Related Link:


  1. I think when it comes down to it, objectively, there will always be more logical and scientific evidence against Christianity than there is for it, and I'm ok with that.

    If we base our faith on "proof" or "evidence" someone will nearly always be able to come along with an equally or even more logical point as to why our evidence is wrong, or circumstantial at best.

    I believe because I see life change. I believe because I feel the Holy Spirit. I believe in something that many people would say is absolutely bonkers, and I am jubilant about the grace I have received because of it.

    If some of this evidence helps a non-believer to open up their ears and heart to initially hear the gospel, then it may be a good resource, but as believers, I think it is dangerous for us to put our faith in the scientific or historical evidence. The evidence could be disproved, however the work of Christ in our lives and the peace it brings cannot.

    Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine!

  2. I have come from a background of Atheism, and Christianity (My parents taught me the gospel from a young age), but in High School I had huge questions about God and reality; Questions that, quite frankly, the church had not given me solid or logical answers to. When I went to the atheists to listen to what they had to say, I found that they didn't really have great reasons for their beliefs, they just seemed to be sick of religion all together. All I wanted for was someone to take an objective, logical approach to finding truth.

    A huge tool that presents truth in a well thought out, logical, and well organized manner is a book entitled "The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism", by Tim Keller. My father gave me this book, in the midst of my searching, and it has been incredibly influential in my life. I highly suggest reading it, and wading through what Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York, has to say.

    Note that I am not trying to convert anyone. I became a believer in Christ quite sometime after I read this book. The book simply does a great job at answering questions and objections, and laying out a foundation of truth. I hope you will read it!

  3. I could not have said it any better than what Vanessa said in her comment above:
    "I believe because I see life change. I believe because I feel the Holy Spirit. I believe in something that many people would say is absolutely bonkers, and I am jubilant about the grace I have received because of it."

    Great post Joey. We're praying for your family!

  4. Vanessa -- I think it goes both ways. The facts data are the same; the difference is what perspective and motivation you have. Whatever starting point you have can surely (but not always) lead to separate conclusions when the facts are followed. I do like your reasoning, but also recognize that I'm not talking about "faith in the scientific or historical evidence." Yes, we have more hope than this. The great thing is that we do NOT have a faith that we need to follow blindly, but we have a faith that CAN ACTUALLY BE supported by evidence. Without a historical event (i.e., Resurrection), Christianity is not much different than any other belief system. That's what Paul writes in I Corinthians 15.

    Wes -- great resource. I have heard of that book, but have not read it. I'll be sure to get it on my list!

  5. I certainly agree that the resurrection is critical to our faith, I wasn't trying to suggest that the evidenced events did not happen, (I believe in them fully) I'm sorry if it came out that way.

    I was trying to say that if you took every piece of evidence you have in support of Christianity and posted it on that forum of atheists, they could come up a good, logical rebuttal for every piece of evidence you provide. It may not be one that you or I would agree with, but an unbiased person could see as much reason in their rebuttal as they would your evidence. (1 Corinthians 1:18 - The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.)

    We can certainly use our evidence to SUPPORT our faith, but I think one would struggle if their faith was largely based on the historical evidence, since it can be refuted.

  6. No, Vanessa, I didn't not think that you suggest that the events did not happen. Of course I know that you believe!! :)

    Your 2nd paragraph is exactly my point -- the data is the same, but looking at things with different lenses can lead to different conclusions.

    On the other hand, I have read plenty of stuff by skeptics / non-believers, and I have never seen anything that did a good job being a rebuttal for the evidences of the resurrection. Of course, when you look at historical events, you have to look at it from a historical perspective, not a scientific one, which is exactly Rob's point. Typically, skeptics look at the historical events and say things like, "Well, I know from science that people don't rise from the dead. Therefore, the resurrection could not have occurred." But, as Rob said, we have to differentiate between whether something can be studied by empirical science (which involves lab testing) or by history (or logic, ...).

    All in all, I know exactly where you are coming from, and I agree. In the original post, you'll note that I said that even if I didn't have Creation and the Resurrection, I would still believe, because of my experience. But, it's also good (and logical) that I have all 3 evidences.

  7. Remember that movie with Ashley Judd and Tommy Lee Jones where all the evidence points to Ashley's character murdering her husband? A case is presented by the prosecution and she's convicted as guilty. She is still rational in believing that she didn't murder her husband (because she knows she didn't) even though all the evidence points to her guilt.

    In the same way we can be rational in believing that God exists from our own experience of the inner witness of the Holy Spirit even if all the evidence pointed to there being no God (and I'm not saying it does).

    1 John 5 says we believe the testimony of men about Jesus, shouldn't we believe God's testimony even more? I like this kind of philosophical thinking but it is not the bedrock that I base my faith on. It can bolster my faith but it can't reign over it. One of those old saints said something like "reason can be ministerial to faith but it can't be magisterial." Meaning reason can help strengthen faith but it can't be king over faith.

    We should be ready to give a reason for the hope within us but this kind of discussion is more for the skeptic who needs to have their world view shown for what it is, full of hidden presuppositions and latent bias. Breaking down that wall can hopefully soften a heart to the real work done by the Holy Spirit.

  8. No, I don't remember that movie. Therefore, I cannot listen to the rest of your reasoning.

    But I still love you, Rob.