I agreed, only to find myself 30 seconds from being live on air. I sprinted upstairs to my office and began talking, still in pyjamas and without coffee. Even at such an unlikely hour there was interest in talking about Christ and his claims.
Although we are frequently told that faith is an issue of culture, psychology or preference, Christianity has always staked everything on actually being true. The apostle Paul and Richard Dawkins both agree that if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, the Christian faith collapses.
It’s so important to put our personal experience of God (which can be written off as too subjective) into the broader context of the public evidence for his existence. There are many reasons that we can give people to believe in God but five stand out:
COSMOLOGICAL ? This is simply the fact that the universe exists at all. It is so complex that it points to the existence of a rational God who created it. In simple terms, either a mind created matter (in which case you would expect order, laws and intelligibility when you study science) or matter created minds (in which case there is no reason to trust the mind doing the scientific investigation).
ONTOLOGICAL ? Ontos just means ‘being’. This evidence for God is the existence of things such as love, thought and language which we all know are real, yet which are not made of matter. Why are love and thought possible unless the universe was created by a being who is their source?
MORAL ? If God exists, then morality has an absolute location. Morality isn’t just what individuals think is right or wrong, or what society decides. It is rooted in the being of God.
Dawkins made the famous statement that there is ‘no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference…DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music’
If we dispense with God, then our moral categories are purely arbitrary. Some people argue that communities have developed moral systems as they’ve evolved. But if God does not exist, those systems are not absolute. In any case, legality does not equate to morality. At the Nuremberg Trials, the SS used the defence of ‘it is legal, therefore it is moral’ to defend the Holocaust. If God exists, there is a judge between good and evil in an absolute sense. It doesn’t come down to what individuals or nations decree.
HISTORICAL ? There is very good historical evidence surrounding the life, death and resurrection of Christ. There are many books which unpack this evidence further, but one of the most famous is Frank Morison’s Who Moved the Stone? Morison was a lawyer who set out to disprove the resurrection. The result of his investigations was his own conversion to Christ.
PERSONAL ? You and I have encountered God. We can no more deny our relationship with God than we can with one friend or another. Specific testimony about God’s work in our lives is an exciting way to speak about him, but if we can combine this with other reasons, friends are less likely to write these experiences off as coincidence or personality. These five reasons to believe in God make a great cumulative case. So next time someone asks you why you believe, why not try giving them a few?