"Can you provide any evidence towards the existence of God?
yes, but I would use different 'kinds' of evidence for different 'kinds'
of people, and there are different 'levels' of starting points one would
need to begin with--depending on where the individual that the evidence
is being 'given TO' is in their epistemology, historical sophistication,
orientation toward logic, modernism, etc...but more on this below...
makes you convinced that God exists?"
This is slightly different than the first question, because now you have
narrowed the 'audience' down to me...
I personally am convinced AT THIS POINT IN MY LIFE (not necessarily earlier) of God's existence, on the basis of statistically significant patterns in my life...to wit:
So, at this point--TO ME--the long-running EXPERIENCE of an active (and
often UNPREDICTABLE!) Personal agent is altogether overwhelming
(epistemically speaking)...but, it has not always been so...
It's interesting, but of all the Christians I have spoken to, none can
give me an answer that isn't one of the following two:
hmm, how odd...I am surprised that no one recognized the relative
ambiguity in the below and pointed to history instead of nature...
how many have you actually confronted with this question (in a serious
* Look at the birds and trees and the blue sky
There are some schools of Christian thought that hold this position...that the experience of nature/creation communicates at a subconscious level the existence of God, basing the argument on Romans 1 and Psalm 19..They assert that all they have to do (indeed, all they CAN do) is to 'point' to reality and use ostensive means to confront us with God...for them this is all the evidence that God have made available to general humanity.
* If you analyze it closely, it could all be explained as coincidence, but I believe it was God.
the first one you mentioned above, I have read of many, many times in Christian thought...but this second one, I have never heard a Christian argue that 'it could all be explained as coincidence'...where have you run across that view? And I find it likewise odd that someone would offer the FACT THAT THEY BELIEVE IT as 'evidence towards the existence of God'...
have I misunderstood your comment here?
All the nice words and ideals seem to me to be useless without knowing
that God exists and so far, noone has really given it a good shot (to
me, at least). Be my guest to be the first.
Okay...but the space here is very limited...I have a 20-30 page analysis
of this question in the Christian ThinkTank, under the "long-winded,
low-key argument for the faith" piece...it goes into this in much more
detail and deals explicitly with issues that must remain implicit in this
HYPER-brief account...I recommend you look at that in some detail, if you
are seriously open to considering the evidence...
What I basically start with is the agnostic position. I believe that
starting blank, nature and creation and existence as we know it today is
just TOO AMBIGUOUS to use as a basis for 'deriving' some notion of God.
The data of the world is TOO contradictory--e.g. if we look at a
beautiful sunrise, we decide God is 'good'; if we look at a hurricane, we
decide God is 'cruel'...the agnostic position is essentially the stronger
position--WHEN STARTING WITH NATURE.
By the same token, the agnostic position cannot even speculate (must less
'decide') on the existence or non-existence of some transcendent,
invisible, and generally silent Deity...IF a God exists, we could NEVER
'figure it out' starting from where we stand!
THE ONLY WAY we could know would be IF this God-thing 'broke into'
history somehow, made the outrageous (to us) claim that He/she/it/they
was/were a 'GOD' and gave some strong evidence as to 1) what a 'deity'
WAS and 2) that he/she/it/they WERE such a 'deity'...without a direct,
visible, 'weird', outlandish communication from a deity--we would be
forever simply guessing, with our puny 'he exists' or 'he doesn't exist'
or 'he/she/it cannot exist' etc...
so, when I look out across history to see if we had any people making
such 'ridiculous' claims (i.e. "I am God from the other side") and to see
if there were any records of data supporting that claim (e.g. miracles
stories, abnormal events, confrontation with religious authorities, maybe
a strong 'exclusivity'), and finally if any contemporaries seemed to
buy-in to these claims WITH TOTAL CONVICTION... I see one obvious
candidate--Jesus of Nazareth...
most of the other religious don't MAKE the outlandish claims of Jesus/NT
writers...and as such, look like 'just another man-made philosophy'
and therefore open to criticism of agnosticism...
so then, I have to drill down on this Jesus-thing...we have these
documents (which have to be checked for basic honesty of the writers,
general historical fidelity to words said, event recorded, places
mentioned, etc.; opportunity/motivation/ability of writers to 'legendize'
the leaders claims into something as bizarre as a man claiming to be God,
and, in case you haven't looked thru the 100's of pages of my research on
the reliability etc. of the NT/OT that I have posted up on the ThinkTank,
MY HISTORICAL research and analysis says that this Jesus person actually
DID claim to be such a 'God', demonstrated extraordinary abilities
(beyond those of even the best of the 'prophets' of his nations heritage
and history; including rising from the dead!), and DID somehow convince his
followers that such a
heretical notion as a God-man dying/rising from the dead was TRUE ENOUGH
to give up careers, fortunes, and eventually...to be executed for!
[for the evidence for this last paragraph, you will need to look at the
material I advance in the thinktank--if you have trouble finding it, let
me know and I will email you the exact URLs for those pages]
so, from a basic standpoint, I would offer the person and actions of
Jesus Christ (as best we have access and understanding of) as evidence
that a 'god' exists...He broke into history and 'showed Himself'...
Like I said about, I have left MANY MANY ISSUEs implicit here (why I
believe the NT authors are historically trustworthy, why I don't believe
Jesus was insane, why I believe the resurrection occurred, etc.) but many
of those items I devoted pages and pages to in the Thinktank...
well, that's a start..any questions?
Gee, I must have too much time on my hands today. Talk about asking
for a flame war.
you won't get any flames from me...and I won't circulate your name to
thanks again for taking the time to write, and for your willingness to
consider these matters...one of the side benefits MIGHT BE that you
discover an INCREDIBLE source of affirmation, friendship, challenge,
direction--in this Hidden God...