I understand how science and faith in a creator can fit together, and even compliment each other. But I’m curious, why do you believe in the Bible and Jesus specifically? We can say that much of the Old Testament is allegory, but the miracles in the New Testament are meant literally, right? Jesus literally performed miracles and rose from the dead. If he didn’t then Christianity is false. I know that science doesn’t preclude miracles. But as science-oriented people, what are your reasons for positively believing in the literal miracles of Jesus and the New Testament?
Firstly I believe it because there is historical records that he was real. Secondly I believe it because an entire large church developed around him going back to the first century. Do something happened to inspire the development of this church among the poor and rich, and of different ethnicities and cultures. Thirdly I believe it because it seems those closest to him also believed it including the supernatural aspects of the story. Lastly I believe it because I have faith that Yahweh is a real god.
Such as? Other than the Bible itself?
Like the first reason, this is based on the Bible itself, right?
Me too. But why? I believe in God and Jesus but I’m trying to strengthen my reasoning why for when I talk to others, especially skeptics.
Faith is not about reasoning. It is the antipathy of reason. If God was about reason alone then no one would believe in Him so there must be something more.
Christianity is based on the Bible. The quickest way to reject it is to reject the Bible. So how do we validate the Bible?
We cannot validate the narratives of Christ other than the fact of his existence. Roman records can confirm the basic events of the crucifixion and Jewish records can confirm Matthew’s story of the excuses for the loss of the body. But that is not really the point.
Christianity is a way of living inspired by the Bible so much of the validation is the continued existence of Christianity itself. Most cults who lose their leader die off pretty quickly. The claim of Jesus’ resurrection is an unusual twist to say the least. But much of Christianity is based on the writings of Paul. And those writings basically stand or fall on whether they work or not.
At the end of the day, if you are going to believe the bible you are going to accept the narratives of Christ, miracles, resurrection and so on. Once you start questioning one aspect the whole faith thing can collapse like the proverbial house of cards. Which is where all the arguments about inerrancy come in. And then the arguments over scientific explanations , creation and so on. It is all intertwined and people untangle it in many ways.
Most atheists reject the Bible, so you are on the back foot straight away. God refuses to be identified by scientific or physical means so anyone relying on science and their senses will not see or believe Him. Logic and reason are immediately nullified.
Even the persistence of Christianity can be argued against as a validation because there are many religions. The existence of many religions can be argued both ways in terms of the existence of God. Why not one way/religion? Or Invented to suit culture? Or personal to each individual and therefore genuine. So many arguments. 2,000 years plus worth.
So there is no quick fix, or trite answer or magic formulae to answer reason and faith.
Sorry and all that
I always was and still am impressed by the words of Jesus’ teaching and I take the miracles in as signs along the way which I don’t assume were anything but healing that occurs when we align with and become vessels of divine love. Even the resurrection I read as a mystical interpretation of the realisation that Jesus’s body died, but he joined the father by rejoining the sacred unity he came from.
The difference perhaps between you and I is that I believe that we all come from the same place and return there when our body expires, because we are spiritual beings having a limited physical experience. We are also all “prodigal sons” returning with hat in hand at the end of our carnal existence, realising that we didn’t live up to our own standards, let alone compared to the life we see Jesus and other holy people lead.
But the point is not to believe in Jesus but to follow him as best you can and discover the freedom that he declared, help heal the broken-hearted, preach release to those captivated, assist the recovering of sight to the spiritually blind, and to set at liberty them that are bruised. The cross, according to the Gospel of John (John 3:14), works like the Nehushtan, which is the name given to the bronze image of a serpent on a pole, erected by Moses so that the Israelites who saw it would be cured and be protected from the condemnation through snake bites. It is a starting point for those who would follow Jesus.
The testimonies and transformed lives of believers around us loom huge for me - the recorded testimonies of those earliest disciples, apostles, and the followers as recorded in our scriptures being at the forefront of those, of course. So yes - “the bible”, even as we now have it (which is not the same bible that the early disciples had) is very important to us indeed. But only because of Christ and his continued work. If it wasn’t for Christ, then only people attending to any scriptures right now would likely be a tiny Jewish sect, and barely any of the rest of the world would know or care that those things existed. What captivated the Roman world of the time was not the prophets or the law of Moses - already known as they were. No - it was this tiny, but exploding community of believers making astounding claims that a humiliatingly crucified leader had been (and still was!) their Messiah victorious.
And no matter how well (or not) anybody succeeds in fitting science and Christianity together, even if one satisfies themselves that the historical evidence “demands” an acceptance of a bodily resurrected Christ - even with all that in place, it is still a matter of pure faith to accept that our own death and ensuing Life are eternally wrapped up in His, and our salvation found only in Him. No scientific understandings, no matter how correct or complete they may be can get you to that. They may all be a great part of your understanding of how God’s creation works, but apart from Christ - it can never be the sole foundation, much less the complete theological package for the Christian believer.
Some of those things may have been indispensable for us to draw us in initially to encounter the risen Christ for ourselves and come to know Him. But once we are in relationship, we are brought to realize that He is our real foundation. And all the rest are just great parts of the whole edifice that may have initially attracted us. Yes - we do continue to grow in our obedience and knowledge of him by still attending to all those testimonies (especially the early scriptural ones) who came to embrace him as their one eternal treasure. The cloud of witnesses, both past and in present communities is all still important to us. While Christ may reach out to us in our solitude, we are never permitted to remain there with him. It will always be in community and in the face of your neighbor (and enemy!) that you will come to know more of Christ. And there is also the sort of “negative testimony” of people (and ourselves) when we make ourselves busy running away from Christ as we watch them decide that Christ’s teachings just aren’t “workable” or “effective” in this day and age. We watch where this goes too, and hopefully conclude, like Peter when Christ asked them “you don’t want to leave too, do you?” - and they responded: “…to whom else would we go?” As I watch what happens with those (and their witness) who prostrate themselves before their favorite icons and idols of political power, …that too ends up being a stinging testimony of sorts, especially when we experience it first hand. We should rejoice in our humiliating failures with those pursuits, that we might all the sooner turn back to the real source of Life. It is why the self-assured and “righteous” up and down the ages are always compelled to look up and see “the tax collectors and prostitutes” entering the Kingdom first while the “we have it all together” crowd is made to realize they are still chasing other things.
But all the negative stuff aside … I find it’s the positive testimonies that inspire hope and admiration.
If you want good reasons to believe that someone named Jesus existed in the first century that the church started around that is not directly from the Bible I suggest looking up why atheist historians accept this. It’s not even really debated amount atheist historians if Jesus existed. Dozens of books, podcasts and blogs out there. Just google away and find what appeases you.
Secondly you may also want to look at some of the evidence used for others at that time period. What is the evidence that historians need to accept someone probably existed. Do they need statues? Can being mentioned in 1-2 letters count? Must it be a court official account? Look up others from that time period that is accepted as living. Not just emperors who obviously have way more evidence than a typical Joe.
I don’t believe there is any evidence for the supernatural at all. I don’t think there is any evidence for any god at all. Does not matter if it’s Yahweh, Vishnu, Thor or whatever. Anyone who is smart, who is willing to push back, will constantly be able to force you into the position of accepting it by faith or not. People can say faith is not blind…. But in the case of a supernatural immortal being it is 100% blind.
If what is necessary for a skeptic to believe is based on the proof you can provide from science and history, that person won’t be saved most likely.
I accept God as being real and the supernatural aspects of the story of Jesus 100% by faith. 0% by evidence. The way faith works for me and works for me well, may not be what you need. I’m perfectly fine with 100% blindly following my faith in God and Jesus. Do believe in Jesus because I believe in God and I believe in God because I personally feel, just feel, it’s true. There could be zero historical evidence for Jesus, or even the Jews, and I would accept it nonetheless. The feeling I have I believe is from the Holy Spirit. By faith. My faith is that. It’s just faith. It’s not based in science, history, or anything.
My Christianity is probably dry different from yours. I think God picked the name Yahweh to accommodate ancient Jews. I think he picked the name Vishnu to accommodate an event Indians. I think he picked various tribal deities to accommodate ancient native Americans. I think he accommodated ancient Russian Asians through sacred mushrooms. So I have faith, no matter what country I was born in, or when I was born, I would feel the tug of this cosmic being and accept them and that all these faiths have clues in them pointing towards Christ. There is a reason why almost every faith accepts Jesus within it and often as a manifestation of their god.
So part of what is evidence to me that god is real is the fact that almost everyone human historically has accepted some kind of supernatural cosmic deity. All these faiths seemed to have improved their nation/tribe. Hinduism and Buddhism make India a better nation. It cultivars love and respect despite its flaws. Judaism and Christianity cultivates love and respect, despite some current political movements that have hijacked it. Shintoism has cultivated love and hope in Japanese people. I believe all of these faiths blindly accepted are because of the work of the Holy Spirit
When Paul and the apostles was sharing Christ, outside of their now ceased abilities of laying on of hands, they did not just quote themselves or the Old Testament. They were loving and used stories to combat evil.
The followers of Jesus proclaimed his message and works at the cost of persecution, torture and death. So they believed in what they had witnessed and were preaching. Otherwise they would not have been so willing to pay the extreme price.
When the gospel started to spread, there were still alive many who had witnessed themselves happenings and teachings during the earthly life of Jesus. If the followers of Jesus would have told just wild stories, these eye witnesses would have loudly criticized what was told. Instead of telling that the stories were not true, the eye witnesses believed themselves.
One reason why so many believed the gospel was that it was proclaimed with miracles and signs, with the power and love of God. It was not just words. That is still happening, especially in areas where people hear the gospel for the first time.
The belief in what has been told is affected by our own experiences. There are people believing although they have never witnessed anything extraordinary but many have. When you experience the love and acts of God, it becomes easy to believe that He has also acted in the history.
There is one additional point to remember. Saving is the work of God. No matter how convincingly you speak that does not save anybody. At the best, it can produce converts but not saved believers. Luckily, God loves people and wants that they would turn to Him, so that He can save them. To convince people, we should first turn to God and ask that He will call and save the people we are meeting. Then we can sow the seed and wait until the harvest is ripe to collect.
“why do we believe the story of Jesus?”
Why do we believe what our memories and records of the past tell us? The universe could have come into existence this morning just as it is, with all our memories as they are. We live according to what our memories tell us because it is a more meaningful way to live. This story of Jesus is a collective memory, and a great many people have found that living according what that tells us is likewise a more meaningful way to live than otherwise.
Science is based on objective observation, but life requires subjective participation. So in order to live we must impose an order upon the world. It is part of the very process of perception. Psychologist have proven that there is no perception disentangled from our beliefs. And thus to think that we can live based on the objective observation of science alone is just delusional. Regardless… how we impose an order upon the world with our stories (or whatever) is a big part of deciding what kind of person we are.
Naturally we are free to reject belief in this story of Jesus, and more easily than it is to reject our own memories. Plenty of people find meaning in their lives without that story or with other stories. And many are finding portions of the back story to be rather appalling… like the story of Joshua, where people are punished by God for being reluctant to attack and kill other people. The stories which seemed ok at one time can be difficult when times and mores have changed.
I don’t mind saying I was raised in a home where the bible was read daily after the evening meal and we went to church at least three times a week. Many of my reasons for believing no doubt have a good deal to do with how I was brought up. So I never had doubt about whether Jesus existed, died, was buried, and was raised from the dead.
Somewhere around the age of 24 though I started having doubts. Not doubts about Jesus and the resurrection, but doubts about whether I had actually ever been truly born again. I attributed these doubts to satan. But why would satan be telling me that I was not really a Christian and that I needed to be born again!
So one evening I spoke to a pastor at the church I was attending and his simple response was something along the lines of, are you sure you don’t just need to be born again (perhaps he said ‘get saved’)? And this triggered a response which led to me accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, one that absolutely transformed my life, one that gave me full assurance that at that moment I was truly born again.
So for me it’s not primarily an intellectual exercise, but something spiritual. Of course, nowadays I can give intellectual reasons to undergird my faith, but they are not the source of my faith. My faith comes from a personal encounter, and because of that it cannot be shaken.
I agree there must be something more but I don’t think faith is the antipathy of reason. We should use reason to have faith. Otherwise we could just as easily have faith in Smurfs. There is reasoning that we have faith in Jesus. I’m not looking for irrefutable proof, just the reasoning others base their faith on. The testimony of His early followers, the persistence of Christianity, personal experiences, or feeling inspired by the Bible count as reasoning to me.
Good points but I’m asking about the miracles and the idea that He’s the son of God, or is God. It seems like there’s plenty of historical evidence that the man existed.
Good point. I’m not sure why I feel compelled to investigate this but I do. Maybe I’m looking for more effective ways to plant seeds. Maybe I’m having some kind of subconscious doubt and am looking for ways to reaffirm what I believe. Whatever the reason, I felt like I needed to ask.
Thanks all for sharing! I realize it’s a very personal question.
Well that’s my point. That is all there is. There is nothing to verify the supernatural aspects of the story of Jesus. It’s pure faith. Taking the testimony of the apostles is pure faith. We have tons of testimonies of people who are eye witness accounts to Bigfoot, aliens, fairies and vampires. Going back centuries. Just because we never seen them don’t mean they are not real……….
Though I don’t believe in those anymore than I believe in Benny Hinn and his holy spiritual swirling jacket slaying dozens in the spirit at once.
So the people who wrote the Bible , seemed to have believed the stories enough to die for it. But so does UFO cults. Historical evidence shows a man named Jesus existed and that a church developed around him. That’s it. There is nothing more than that. You can’t prove he turned wine into water or that the apostles were not lying or that he was born of a virgin or that he rose from the dead. You can’t verify any miracle.
If like me, you are dead set on seeking it out, it all ends at a dead end with a door that says faith. It does not matter if others in here have seen witches or seen miracles. I bet you never will see them. I bet they did not see them either. But I can’t prove they can’t anymore than they can’t prove to me that Bigfoot is a multidimensional alien and that’s why you can’t capture good images of him and why their bodies are never found.
So for me, once I realized there was no proof I had two choices. Go with the logical choice and reject it. Go with the irrational belief in the supernatural despite all evidence and choose to have faith. For me it does not matter if God is real or not real. I’ll spend my life living with the hope that he is. Even if it turns out he is not real, short of another god existing that condemns is for not believing in Odin, I’ll just die. My life will be lived the same regardless. I don’t need the Bible to tell me it’s bad to murder, rape, steal, lie to everyone or be mean to people. I don’t need the Bible to tell me if I have extra food and someone is starving I should share it or even if I am hungry, and don’t have enough food, but a child is starving perhaps I should go hungry and let them eat and learn how to better feed the both of us. I don’t need the Bible to tell it’s bad for me to categorize women as just pretty or ugly and then split the pretty ones up into can I sleep with them or not. I don’t need the Bible to tell me viewing everyone as just a footstool towards my goals is bad. So my life will be lived the same way. I’ll die the same way regardless. The Bible does not tell me everyone needs to be vegan. Yet I still believe it. The Bible does not tell me to volunteer at shelters to take animals outside to play and yet I still do it.
So in the end you don’t need God to be a good person who finds life fulfilling. Believing in God does not mean you are missing out on being a good person or enjoying life. Evidence is simply not required to hold a belief as true and that includes the God.
So back to what I believe the gospels?
A person named Jesus who the church was built around existed. This has nothing to do with the supernatural. Just what we already agreed on. Jesus is a historical person and the church can be traced back to it.
The people who wrote the Bible seems to have believed in it. They could be wrong. They could be delusional. Honestly, they could be liars. But I think they seem to believe it and we’re willing to die for it. Not die for what they hope may happen but willing to die for Christ the person they claim to have known.
I choose to have faith in God being reflected as a Yahweh among ancient Jewish people and that the Holy Spirit inspired them to write the scriptures and that the scriptures points towards Jesus Christ as the son of God.
People often confuse my faith for being half hearted, or that I don’t really believe or that it’s breaking down…… but it’s not. It’s stronger than ever. My faith today at this moment is far stronger than it was 2 years ago or ever before in my entire life and it’s after realizing all the things I said in these last few posts.
Paul gives a lengthy view of faith in Hebrews 11
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. ff
Basically faith supercedes evidence. Evidence actually nullifies faith. Certainty also cancels faith.
Reason is slightly different inasmuch as it tries to justify faith. For instance, Paul claims we can have faith in God’s promises because of the promises He has already fulfilled. That is reasoning.
We believe the witness of the Bible. That is also a reason for faith. But it relies on belief that is also without proof, so the reasoning is as vague as the belief or faith.
We can reason that what Christ said was accurate, therefore the reports about Him were accurate, therefore the reports of His actions are also accurate. But it all gets a little convoluted and circular.
Any reasoning relies on a premis that is then justified or reasoned.to be accurate or false.
If your reasoning is based on the experiences of others then you have to believe their testamony which, again, will depend on how much you know or trust them.
IOW reasoning needs something to reason with. It needs data, and faith is the opposite inasmuch as it ignores data.
I don’t agree with any of that, especially the idea that the Bible says anything of the sort.
Faith is crossing the gap between evidence and belief, and it is just as much a part of reason and science as religion.
There can be no reason without faith because reason only takes us from premises to conclusions. This makes it completely useless without faith in the premises you start with.
And science is not about proof but only what is reasonable to believe given the evidence. There is no proof the sun will rise tomorrow, but the sun rising everyday of our lives makes it unreasonable to believe otherwise. To accept what the evidence tells us means believing their are no demons out there arranging the evidence to deceive us. Thus science rest on a faith that the evidence isn’t lying to us. And I think scientists are the best example of faith in modern times. By comparison too many of the religious are not displaying faith but willful ignorance which is not faith at all.
We can use the phrase “blind faith” for this willful ignorance which believes things contrary to the evidence. This idea which puts faith in opposition to reason and evidence is an invention of atheists and those using religion for power manipulation. They want religion to be about making people believe outright lies.
I prefer the translation which has the author stating that faith is evidence. What a concept, that our faith can actually be evidence.
Sounds a little bit like the pragmatism of Charles Sanders Pierce based on the maxim: the effect of believing something is part of its truth value. This is something I adhere to as well.
I think it’s blind faith and I’m not an atheist or using it as a power move nor do I believe it’s synonymous with a lie.
Faith is not the antithesis (the correct word) of evidence. There are reasons for faith, it just is not subject to proof. Anyone who thinks that there are not reasons and evidence for faith might as well be a Pastafarian.
So for me evidence means something that proves something. It’s submitted as evidence to prove a position. So it’s this simple.
No one on this planet from any faith is seemingly able to walk into saint Jude children’s hospital wing and begin to systematically 100% cure on the spot instantly every child regardless of what cancer they have or what stage they are at. They can’t walk and go into the local VA hospital and begin to heal every crippled person instantly, on the spot, regardless of what God/goddess they pray to, regardless of what magical potions they create and so on. Something that we see that Jesus did. Jesus and his apostles for years healed person after person instantly with just the touch of their fingers or shadow. Healed person after person regardless of what they faced, even death and supernatural cosmic evil beings, Indra fly in front of crowds of people.
There is no concrete evidence that the supernatural exists. Not any god, demon, reincarnated spirit of long deceased person or someone’s ancestors.
There is nothing that can prove that Jesus or any apostles preformed any supernatural miracles.
There is no proof of intelligent design. Not in how any laws came about. Not in how evolution happened. Not how cosmology works. Just no evidence anywhere.
If you disagree with any of these four just submit the undeniable proof. Since I have never seen anyone able to disprove beyond reasonable doubt with concrete verifiable evidence that those claims are wrong it means to me there is no evidence.
So for me, my faith, which could be in a pasta god, os not. My faith is in the god revealed as Yahweh to ancient Jews who is the father of Jesus Christ. All things that I accept as faith, and not because of evidence.