Why Christians need Evidence

by R.W. Johnson

As a Christian there are always going to be people who have an issue with the stance you take. Why? It’s simple. You’re telling them something and they don’t want to listen or they may think that you do not have good reasons or evidence to support your claim. The problem is, in regards to some Christians, they are right! We don’t usually give evidence for our beliefs when asked. We just assume it to be true—take a presuppositonal stance, if you will. I’ve heard many say “The Bible is true because it says it is true.” As someone who has a deep interest in apologetics and theology I just can’t see any reason to believe that a presuppositonal approach is the best way to get your point across to someone. I like to take a more classical/evidential approach to apologetics. I like to leave presuppositions at the door and look at objections to not only the atheists’ side, but also to Christianity.

I’ve been criticized in the past and have been told that this way of engaging with a non-believer is unbiblical. To me, however, God gave us a mind and he gave us reasons in the natural world to show his existence. Moreover, they may have a hard time presenting scriptural proof to go along with the claim that the way I engage an unbeliever is unbiblical, but I digress. The Bible is an excellent tool for wisdom, ethics, morals (yes morals) and most importantly salvation. However, not everyone believes that the Bible is the inspired Word of God—so we need to back up our beliefs with evidence.

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Defining Faith

There has been a butchered definition of faith that has been going around and Richard Dawkins furthers this nonsensical definition in his book The God Delusion. He writes, “Faith (belief without evidence) is a virtue. The more your beliefs defy the evidence, the more virtuous you are.”[1] This is clearly not how the average Christian would define faith. I actually went over this briefly in my Sunday morning class at church and there wasn’t anyone who disagreed with the definition I gave which was: “Faith is a trust or belief based on evidence.” Simple, isn’t it?

What is interesting is I have never met any believer who describes faith in the way that Dawkins does. Furthermore, people spill gallons of ink (or burn through dozens of keyboards, whichever) basing arguments on a false definition. It seems clear that if the majority of Christians define faith as I have then it follows that the majority of Christians base their beliefs on a type of evidence. Even if you disagree with the validity of the evidence, it is still evidence. One last thing to say about faith is that this definition isn’t special pleading. There are several dictionaries that define this word similarly to how I’ve rendered it. Consider the following…

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