What is the evidence for ANY theological claim being an aspect of reality?

I agree that an explanation can be ascribed to ANYTHING which fits the explanation, however, the question is about the explanation itself. The issue being that I don’t find that an explanation which is unsubstantiated is actually a good explanation, since, anything that fits could simply be ascribed. Consider that the claim of a the Big Bang being the death of God and the start of the universe would seem to be just as good an explanation as any other theological claim to me.

Thus, the question is what evidence is there for ANY theological claim being an aspect of reality?

Welcome to the forum, @Mushi_Mage. That is a thought provoking question. My offhand answer is that love is reality as is hate, and theology speaks to those things. Of course, some will argue that those things are just manifestations of brain chemicals and synapses firing, but even if they are, I feel they are both real and addressed theologically. In addition, a similar argument can be made about good and evil, suffering and pain. Science and naturalism can say little about that, but theology can. I suppose ultimately you could argue that good and evil, love and hate, suffering and pain are not part of reality, but just an illusion, but not from my perspective. And if they are just illusions, what is the use of discussing them?

It might be helpful sharing what perspective you are coming from, as it would make a difference in how to respond. If coming from a skeptics perspective, the answer might be different that if coming from a Christian viewpoint in a time of doubt.

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If incarnation is real, all will be well for all, as it always has been.

As an agnostic with skeptical inclinations when it comes to empirical claims, I find that leaves me plenty of room for wonder at all that is left as indeterminate by science and reason. Fortunately we are aided also by intuition, imagination and an empathic ability to recognize truth in stories, especially in the realms already noted by Phil.

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Did somebody actually claim that the Big Bang was the death of God? The Big Bang was discovered by a Catholic Monk, Georges Lemaître.

There is none. God orders the material Universe in ways that almost always conform to consistent patterns we can ascribe to “laws of nature”. To go searching for Him in the gaps misses the point. He is involved in all of it, not just the bits we can’t currently “explain” with science.

The good arguments for the existence of God are philosophical, not scientific. Have you read Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis)? At the moment I’m reading Why There Almost Certainly Is A God (Keith Ward) which is also good.

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Welcome aboard Mushi_Mage. What a cool name. Find a warm crowd of similarly curious folks who try to learn all about God, the Bible, and spirituality. Hope you enjoy your time here!

Love Lewis. He takes the most difficult topics and explains them in ways that even yours truly can comprehend and enjoy the learning process. Screwtape Letters, his least favorite collection of radio scripts for broadcast, are so clever. Wormwood, Glubose, Toadpipe, Scabtree, Slubglob, our father below, Slumtrimpet, Triptweeze, Hell’s Training Academy, what a mind.

Listen to Mahalia if you are in the mood for a treat

Sweet little Jesus boy
They made you be born in a manger
Sweet little holy child
Didn’t know who you was
Didn’t know you’d come to save us Lord
To take our sins away
Our eyes was blind we couldn’t see
We didn’t know who you was
Long time ago you was born
Born in a manger low
Sweet little Jesus boy
The world treat you mean Lord
Treat me mean too
But that’s how things is down here
We didn’t know twas you
You done told us how
We is a’tryin’
Master you done showed us how
Even when you’s dyin
Just seem like we can’t do right
Look how we treated you
But please sir, forgive us Lord
We didn’t know twas you
Sweet little Jesus boy born long time ago
Sweet little holy child and we didn’t know who you was

I think Phil offered a good response if you are an atheist or agnostic. I don’t think the most important things in life are illusions. I can’t prove they are real but if they aren’t, it really doesn’t matter. Nothing does. Embracing the genuineness of life requires theology of some kind–even for atheists on the moral front.

This really is a great question because many of us go by faith. For many of us its personal experience and the power of the Gospel. That is my evidence. An experience with God. I just really can’t communicate and show you the deepest feeling of my being and my personal experiences and others may have some that contradict my own beliefs.

I guess it really depends on what you consider evidence, reliable and what you consider theology. I don’t think we will be able to come up with scientific evidence or logical proof for many theological statements. Even philosophical arguments about God are built on many assumptions. The evidence of for theological truth is largely determined by a combination of other beliefs you have come to accept as a true and guiding hermeneutic.

If you think the Bible is somehow inspired by God then you might consider some of its theological claims to be trustworthy. If you don’t consider it inspired by God you would certainly have no reason to believe in any claims it makes about the divinity of Jesus or theological statements about God. As for the former view, based on more realistic and modern models of inspiration, even then we can’t just naively believe everything or maybe even most of what it says in its surface. Figuring out theological truth is absolutely not easy, despite the very long list of theological beliefs countless Christians maintain with implausible levels of certitude. This is one of the stronger arguments for the magisterial authority of the Church in my humble opinion.

I am a theological minimalist. The more defined you make your theology, the more absurdly wrong I think you will become. Our sources aren’t meant for that level of detail. You can’t really decide between Calvinism vs Lutheranism vs Catholicism based on the broken notion of sola scripture. The Bible is not inspired in such a way that it offers fully consistent and encyclopedic theological knowledge. It records the experiences of God’s revelation in the past. Any doctrines not built around the largest picture of scripture are built on a foundation of sand. Most Christians argue over insolvable and finer points of doctrine with poor hermeneutics that don’t account for the true nature of the Biblical text. Even using only the forest of scripture over the trees presents some danger and uncertainty because by sheer quantity, divine violence in the Bible is one heck of a gargantuan forest. Coming to a relationship with God through Jesus, forgiveness and charity are all greater than theology which is probably as much about shared cultural identity as it is about learning cosmic truths about the world.

Vinnie

Hey @Mushi_Mage , I just noticed your username. If that’s a reference to psychedelic mushrooms, I have thoughts about that…

Check out Maggie’s testimony. I would not be surprised if the usual detractors speak up, but they are not interested in meeting God on his terms, if at all. There is reason to believe that God does not want his existence to be provable, but there is certainly evidence that points to him, just not scientific evidence.

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.

 
Psalm 19:1-2

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 people are without excuse.
 
Romans 1:20

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The questions asked here are loaded with presuppositions which ought to be questioned and challenged. Otherwise, how are we understand what is being requested, if anything at all actually is being requested.

What is evidence?
What is a theological claim?
What is reality?
What is an aspect of reality?
What is an explanation?
How do you substantiate an explanation?

The answers you give to these questions can easily make the questions you have posted either nonsensical or trivial.

Evidence apparently means different things to different people in different circumstances. Personal experience is generally taken to be the strongest sort of evidence for personal belief but not very good evidence for convincing other people to agree.

If a theological claim is a claim about God then the first theological question to answer would be, what is this thing you call God?

Is reality something other than what you experience? If so then why are your experiences to be considered not real and why is this reality you do not experience to be called real?

What does it mean to say a theological claim is an aspect of reality? The claim is real, so is the question whether the claim is regarding something real? That of course would depend on what you think the word “God” is referring to. If it is about the content of book or about what people are thinking then does then how is that not an aspect of reality?

People seem to expect very different things from an explanation. Explanations which satisfy one person often seem to do very little for a another person. A scientist tends to expect an explanation to provide some means to test hypotheses, while another person might consider such explanations to be meaningless and they want something that makes sense of their experiences.

This suggest very different ways in which people would substantiate their explanations. Some will be listing their experiences while others would be making measurements.

To me it sounds like a reference to an anime series entitled “Mushi-shi.”

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