PART TWO - EVIDENCE VERSUS PROOF
We saw in the first post how only one of the two ideas of an inconsistent God can be true. In fact, one must be true. Simply put, either there is a God that is a reality even though a mystery, or there is no God. They can't both be true. We can also determine that one is definitely true (there is or is not a God...simply put). Since the implications for each affect how we view the world and how we act, it is pretty important to find out which one is true. So, is there a way to know which is true? Can we be sure?
Here are some thoughts about proof versus evidence. There is no way to conclusively prove EITHER "Inconsistent God" to be true. Now this could be a little rattling of a statement for many of you, but here are some good thoughts to pull away from this. My personal belief is that definition number one is true, that there is a very real, very personal God. Many people who share that belief feel the need to be defensive about their belief in God. They feel the need to prove every aspect of His reality, but the burden of proof does not rest on definition one. Those who believe there is no God must share the burden of proof. They have some explaining to do. This is where sound evidence comes to play. This is not discounting faith (which is the topic of part 3). Instead, it is the ability to have foundations for your faith. This happens all the time. We can not conclusively prove the earth will continue to go around the sun tomorrow, but we have strong evidence to believe it will. We can weigh the evidence that is available. Of this there is plenty. For example, you will find compelling evidence that touches the intellect (logical arguments, scientific evidence, historical evidence, philosophical arguments, etc.) and the emotions (personal encounters and experiences). Each of these are valid and very telling.
Why is this idea of evidence so important to realize? Well, for me it has been a huge revelation. As a Christian, I believe in a God that loves humanity so much that He made a way for mankind to be connected to Himself, even though mankind had no way within themselves. I believe his fingerprint is evident throughout our world. I can't prove my view to be true to every person with a different view. I can offer my experiences and my intellectual evidences for what I believe to be true. I can talk with intellectual integrity using a mind that engages science, history, philosophy to support my belief. I can talk with confidence about my personal experiences, feelings, and stories. But, in the end, evidence and arguments do not prove God. They give us strong reasons to believe. I can and must leave the conclusion of the evidence with the person who asks. Each of us must draw our own conclusions and weigh the evidence for ourself.
Have you struggled with having an answer for someone? What is the strongest evidence which supports your belief in the "Inconsistent God?"