With all due respect, we’d like to suggest that your comments reflect a common misunderstanding. It’s all well and good to talk about “facts” and “reality.” But you’re forgetting that there are different kinds of facts and different ways of apprehending truth. Stated simply, you’re confusing science with history.
We all know and believe many things about ourselves, our world, and the people around us. Many of these things can’t be “demonstrated by logical, controlled, and repeatable methods.” You can know, for instance, that your mother loves you, that a particular Beethoven symphony lifts your spirits, or that your dad’s second cousin spent a good portion of his childhood in Peoria. But you may not be able to “prove” any of this objectively. That’s just the way life is. You should realize this if you’re a “hard-headed realist.”
The kind of “proof” you’re talking about belongs almost exclusively to the realm of hard science. We call it empirical proof. It’s the kind of proof that depends upon verifiable and repeatable experiment. By way of contrast, the evidence for historical events such as the life of Jesus Christ is forensic in nature. It’s the same kind of evidence that lawyers use to build a case in a court of law. Even the “softer” sciences, such as psychology and sociology, are heavily dependent upon evidence of this nature. You need to keep these two different kinds of “proof” separate in your mind if you want to think clearly and carefully about the world in which we live.
You’re right. We can’t prove empirically that Christ lived, died, and rose again. But then we can’t prove empirically that George Washington was the first President of the United States either. In other words, we can’t devise a repeatable experiment capable of demonstrating these facts in a controlled laboratory environment. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty of forensic and historical evidence to support them. Far from it.
Whether you realize it or not, Christianity wasn’t simply “made up.” It wasn’t “invented” by a lot of emotionally motivated sentimentalists, dreamers, and romantics. All the relevant evidence indicates that it burst upon the scene of human history entirely of its own accord. You understand, of course, that we’re talking here about forensic, historical evidence. The Christian faith arose almost overnight in direct response to a remarkable series of actual events. A man appeared on the scene who claimed to be God. This man spoke and acted in such a way as to validate His claims. Eventually, he paid for His bold words by dying a gruesome death on a Roman cross. Finally, he “proved” Himself by rising from the dead on the third day.
We’d like to suggest that you examine the Christian faith in terms of the factual verifiability of these events. Don’t think of it as an emotion-based “religion” to be evaluated on purely “religious” or philosophical grounds. Instead, read the Gospels as you would read any other historical book. If you’re interested in looking into the evidence for the historicity of the New Testament documents, we’d suggest that you check out a book entitled The Case for Christ. This volume is available through the ministry of Focus on the Family and can be ordered via our
If you think it might be helpful to discuss this topic at greater length with a member of our team, call us. Our staff of pastoral counselors would love to speak with you over the phone.
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Christian Research Institute
Does God Really Exist?