April 26, 2010

If Only I Had Enough Evidence, I'd Believe


n Good Friday, our choir and orchestra presented selections from The Messiah. Then on Palm Sunday, our pastor preached on the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus. On Easter Sunday, the following video was played at the beginning of the service. The original sermon was convicting enough, but melded with excerpts from Handel’s Messiah, it was bone chilling. I’d like to share this video with our readers.



  1. "If I had enough evidence I'd believe." It's an interesting response to the gospel message and has been used for thousands of years and we actually have a direct scriptural answer to it: "No you wouldn't."

    In Luke 16, when the rich man ends up suffering in hell he asks Abraham to raise Lazarus from the dead so he can warn his five brothers so they will not have to suffer the torment he is in. Abraham responds in Luke 16:29:

    But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’

    All of us are in opposition to God at the start--it is our nature. God chooses to do a total heart makeover on some--showing that he is able to overcome their (our) hatred. God chooses to allow the others to remain in their blatant rejection of the truth--to show that he is a holy and righteous God who cannot abide sin.

    Both ways--He wins.

  2. People who want evidence are so ridiculous! Why don't they just believe what their parents taught them? And why don't they just exept with 100 percent certainty that the Bible is the word of God.

    I disagree with your assessment of people starting out as being in opposistion to God. As a kid I believed in God without a doubt. If my dad and mom said he was real, then he must be real. Same with Santa Claus. In the mind of a child you don't need evidence to believe. It is faith that makes it real. I believe the same is true with God. You make a conscious decision to believe and surround yourself with others who will reinforce those beliefs. It turns into a strong faith.

    Maybe I'm wrong.

  3. Hey Tim, you agree with Jesus!! He also said that if you don't have faith like a little child, you won't be able to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Yet He never discouraged the disciples from asking questions, or Nicodemus, or the woman at the well, or the thief on the cross, or the rich young ruler. But, as in the case with the rich young ruler, Jesus did not grab him by the neck and push him into the kingdom of God. Jesus answered his question and sadly, the rich young ruler did not like the answer, so he turned around and walked away. It can be documented, Tim, that on this blog, we have welcomed your questions and answered them. You keep returning to the same cry, however, that you haven't been given an answer. You are resorting to what you claim the conservatives do -- name calling when you can't give a good rebuff to the evidence you've been given. You do not want the God of the Bible because you are offended by Him. God is not going to drag you kicking and screaming into the kingdom -- but He simply asks you to exercise the faith of a child. And, by the way, if I'd believed my parents, I would not be on this blog today. Instead, I placed my faith in the God of the Bible, shared with me by strangers who I felt knew Him.

  4. You're absolutely right, Tim. You do believe what your parents tell you when you're a kid - and when you grow up you retain some of that and you reject some of it--both based on reasoning.

    But we're not talking here about believing what your parents taught you. This is the message from God about God. I would recommend that you carefully weigh what your parents taught you and you carefully weigh what any other humans tell you. But you reject the truth from God at your own peril.

    You and I may quibble about whether or not children start out as being in opposition to God, but it doesn't matter at all which one of us has the more or less compelling argument for Santa Claus. The only thing that matters is the truth.

    In Romans 8:7,8 says The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

    So the truth is that we are all hostile (in opposition) to God until we are changed by God and become believers. The characteristic of those who are hostile to God is that their mind "does not submit to God's law." Instead of submitting to God's law, the mind that is hostile to God mocks the concept of believing the truth by saying such things as: "People who want evidence are so ridiculous!"

    No one should believe in God because their parents taught them that way. And no one at this blog is asking anyone to have such a blind faith. Blind faith is dangerous. We are proclaiming the truth to the best of our ability. And we are calling on all who hear the truth to believe the truth. It's simply the truth.

    As Peter Schickele once wisely stated: "Truth is truth; you can't have opinions about truth."

    Tim - trying to convince yourself that truth is falsehood is dangerous and unwise. Rather than fighting against what I am quite certain you know to be the truth, you need to stop fighting.

    You are in one of two groups of people. 1) Someone in the process of being reached and converted by God, or 2) Someone who God will use to display his absolute justice against sinners. He will win in either case. But it would behoove you to beg to be part of the first group.

    Matthew 11:28 says, Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. And John 6:37 says, "the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out."

    I know you have well developed arguments intended to trip up Calvinists. You have already attempted to use those on Mary and me multiple times. But it doesn't matter if we have a solid apologetic for your carefully crafted trap. The verses above show that all you need to do is turn to Christ and you will not be rejected. So you don't have the excuse that "I'm part of the second group and have no chance."

    So that puts you in the first group unless you choose to be in the second. God will win each one of those people in the first group. If you are soft clay when he pulls you to himself, he will place warm softening hands on you and shape you to his will. But if you are hard as granite when he finally wins you over, he will have to use a chisel and hammer to shape you to his will. Perhaps that will mean that after it's all over you're a beautiful statue, but the process of getting there will be very painful.

    Don't be granite. I don't want you to hurt as God changes your heart from a heart of stone into a heart of flesh.

    And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
    --Ezekiel 36:26, 27

  5. Interesting - Mary and I responded at the same time and said something that might sound antithetical. Mary said he won't drag you kicking and screaming and I said he'll use a hammer and chisel.

    Here's the thing - If God is going to use a hammer and chisel on you, and he has on many people (reference the Apostle Paul), you will still willingly come--it's just a painful road before you get to that point. But you can make that painful road much shorter by ending your insistence on rejecting the truth.

    now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. --2 Corinthians 6:2

  6. Hi, there. Hey, Richard, as an aside, I just NOW read your response to me about the Confederacy on Whitewashed Feminist blog. As I said, I am a history ignoramus.

    Regarding evidence. God knew we needed evidence, so He told the OT prohpets, many times, and in great detail, about the first coming of Christ. See the last part of Isaiah 52 through all of 53. Read Daniel chapter 9. Read Micah chapter 5. And there's more than that. So we have the witness of the Holy Spirit through the Old Testament prophets.

    Paul, in I Corinthians 15 pointed to then living witnesses of the Resurrection. There is a historical record.

    Just today I read about, and saw pictures of Chinese Christians who are looking for Noah's Ark, and think they've found it. Whatever it is -- it is very out of place, being 13,000 feet up this mountain, and they are investigating it. Even if it turns out to be very likely that this could be Noah's Ark, I told my husband unbelievers would still be unconvinced. Jesus said they wouldn't be convinced if someone rose from the dead, after all, as I believe you pointed out.

  7. When I was about 14 years old we watched a documentary in Sunday School about explorers who thought they had found Noah's Ark. Is it possible Noah had two Arks? Maybe one Ark was used for saving every species of life on Earth, while the other was just to impress the ladies?

  8. I agree completely, Tim. I don't put a lot of stake in these sorts of things either. I remember the finding of the ark event you're talking about. They had aerial photos of a shape that could make people think they may have found something. And the people who took the photo said that they were being kept from exploring that area of the mountain because Turkey's government knew it was the ark and didn't want anyone to verify it--which doesn't actually make a whole lot of sense to me.

    But you bring up a good point that gets to the heart of faith. We all have religious fervor. Those who believe the bible is 100% accurate in all ways (people such as Mary and me) are much more likely to believe a report about a historic biblical artifact being dug up by archeologists. And those who are religiously opposed to the truth of the scriptures will much more quickly believe such things as intelligent alien lifeforms almost certainly exist, but warns that communicating with them could be "too risky," as stated by noted gullible scientist Steven J. Hawking.

    It's all a matter of where you put your faith--in the truth of scripture, which has tremendous corroboration and huge evidence of truth, or in the theories of man, which has little evidence and must be updated in new editions each school year to try to plug the holes discovered by last year's fourth graders.

  9. Richard,

    You have an interesting way of putting things. In fact you almost snuck of few things by me in that last post. I like your description of non believers as "those who are religiously opposed to the truth". Think about that a second. Do you really believe that someone like me, who has serious doubts about the Bible, is simply oppossed to the concept of truth?

    When you say that it's a matter of where you put your faith "in the truth of the scripture" or in the "theories of man", you're jumping to the conclusion that the scriptures are the truth. You're also assuming that the scriptures aren't just the words and theories of men. If scientists were to test a bibical artifact and varify it as being authentic, you would probably believe them. Right? However, 93 percent of scientist support the theory of climate change. But I would guess you would choose to put your faith in the 7 percent who reject the theory.

    Finally, based on research and evidence, Steven Hawking has come to the conclusion that there is "almost certainly" intelligent alien lifeforms. You describe him as being gullible. So what you're saying is that if a scientist concludes that a galaxy exists that will support life, based on his years and years of research, he is gullible. But if a person believes that there is a God who wasn't created but ALWAYS existed, who created the world in seven days by commanding it, who sent his son to earth by having a virgin give birth to him, who died on a cross and then rose again, who loves us so much that he's willing and ready send us to burn for eternity in a lake of fire...THAT PERSON IS NOT GULLIBLE, BUT BASING THEIR BELIEF ON SOLID FACTS???

    Do I believe there are aliens? Honestly I don't think so, but at the same time I can't tell you for sure. I don't have a crystal ball. Do you think Steven Hawking would be smart to tell those who disagree with him that they are scientifically opposed to the truth?

    I'm on a roll. Sorry for being so wordy. Lasty, IF God is really answering me, then why is it that the more questions I ask, the less I believe in his existence? Or am I somehow not "reacting favorably" to his responses as I should.



  10. We've been through the apologetics of what I believe, Tim. You have chosen to reject my evidence, my explanations, and the testimony of scripture. So rather than rehashing all of the same old arguments, I will simply answer your questions:

    1) Do you really believe that someone like me, who has serious doubts about the Bible, is simply oppossed to the concept of truth?

    No. I don't think someone who has serious doubts about anything is simply opposed to the concept of truth. Nor did I ever say or imply that. I do, however, believe that someone who has asked questions, received reasonable answers, rejected those answers with now superior alternative and then continues to ask the same questions over and over again has recognized the truth and is rejecting it anyway.

    2) If scientists were to test a bibical artifact and varify it as being authentic, you would probably believe them. Right?

    No - I don't much care what scientists have to say. Archeology has consistently proven the historic truth of scripture and has never been able to refute any of it, and I do enjoy hearing those regular archeological discoveries. And a biblical artifact proven by science (were such a thing possible) would probably bring a smile to my face. But frankly I don't really care. The bible says it. The bible is all the evidence I need. Further evidence is required by others, and I will give a serious ear to any evidence that apparently contradicts scripture because my God is not illogical and he was the inventor of nature (science's god), so I need to consider such things to find out what it all means. But I need no corroboration whatsoever to the things that scripture claims.



    4) Do you think Steven Hawking would be smart to tell those who disagree with him that they are scientifically opposed to the truth?

    No. He wouldn't be smart to do that. Nor is he smart. And he has already told us that.

    5) IF God is really answering me, then why is it that the more questions I ask, the less I believe in his existence? Or am I somehow not "reacting favorably" to his responses as I should.

    2 Timothy 4:3,4 3For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

    Romans 1:25 they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator

    2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

  11. I could go in so many different directions.

    A few points...You claim that this scientist isn't smart. How do you know that? What proof do you have that there are NOT lifeforms on other planets? Have you done more research than he has.

    While you label this scientist as being dumb, you manage to support people in the Tea Party who hold up signs that call the President a Communist. What facts about Obama do these people have to support that?

    What drives me crazy Richard is that when I ask questions you answer me with Bible verses. It would be like you questioning someone about the data in a science textbook, only to have that person respond by quoting from the same book you doubted. It doesn't help.

    I appreciate you taking so much time to try to answer my questions, but honestly I don't feel like you've told me anything that would sway me to believe. Instead you use the trick of trying to shame me by claiming that I've recognized the truth and rejected that. I've done no such thing. Frankly that ticks me off when Christians do that. It's a crutch. Obvisouly you don't believe something to be the truth just because the Bible says it. You're a smart guy. What I've been trying to get to is how you know with 100 percent certainty that the Bible is the truth? Can you tell me what evidence you've provided me of that.

    My theory, which I don't know as fact, is that people CHOOSE to believe in the Bible. They choose to believe because it provides them with purpose. Without it life is empty. I think there are people who resist the Bible for a long time, but when the emptyness gets to great they turn to God for comfort. Not because they have all of this evidence that you claim exists. NO They believe in order to get through life and to feel like there is a greater power who loves them.

    I've told you this but I see it in my 12 step group. People choose a God and decide that they're going to submit to it. And in their mind that God becomes so real that they actually believe he/she is guiding them. But if I were to ask them for proof they have nothing. And you have nothing to support saying that it's possible for me to believe with 100 percent certainty that Jesus was anyone but a carpenter or a character that was made up to support a money making industry like religion.

  12. Tim, did you actually type this?

    And you have nothing to support saying that it's possible for me to believe with 100 percent certainty that Jesus was anyone but a carpenter or a character that was made up to support a money making industry like religion.

    A made up character for whom there is no evidence?

    I'm sorry. You're not even trying anymore. It's always quite clear when someone recognizes that they have nothing to stand on so they resort to the lunatic fringe of the debate.

    Tim, you're better than this.

    I must use scripture - it is truth. Whether or not you or I recognize a truth makes no difference. Truth, as I said before, is truth. And scripture is truth. There is nothing whatsoever to make you question the bible. People have been attempting that for 2,000 years and no one every has come up with anything that holds up under scrutiny. In fact, although it makes no difference to me whatsoever, archeology contributes new evidence of the accuracy and truth of the bible about once every 10 years. And that evidence usually is in direct contradiction with scientific and historian's theories. But I truly do not need that evidence--not because I'm not smart, as you have implied, but simply because I recognize the truth. I encourage you to do the same.

    You have heard our responses to these exact same questions, accusations, and misdirections already. Bringing them up again is not furthering the conversation. If you accept the truth, we are in agreement. If you reject the truth, you do so at your own peril.

    I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.

  13. Richard, There are so many different religious and non religious beliefs in the world, that for anyone to claim that they know THE truth is just crazy. Whether you recognize that what I'm telling you is the truth makes no difference. The Truth is Truth! And what I'm telling you is the Truth. (See, I can use the same argument)

    You've done a great job of trying to answer difficult questions I had about specific Bible verses. Thank You! Whether you are willing to admit it or not, you still haven't provided me with the "overwhelming" evidence that you claim exists. Instead you do something that another lunatic fringe does. Remember that crazy radio guy I told you about, Todd Friehl. He did the same thing when I asked for evidence. He said "Tim, the fact that you don't find truth in the Bible doesn't make it any less true" WHAT??? And people listen to this guy.

    BTW...I can't believe someone whose gone to a Tea Party has the guts to call another group a "lunatic fringe" On the Today Show this morning I saw that a Facebook group, made up of mostly Christians and Tea Party members has just surpassed 1 million members. The purpose of the group is to pray for the death of President Obama. And to think, when I critisized President Bush I was told by my friends on the right that I hated America. Well, i certainly never wanted President Bush to die.

    Okay..I'm done pushing this conversation. Sorry for upsetting you.

  14. Tim - You have not upset me in the least. I just think you're trying to avoid interacting with the answers we've already given you. You keep bringing up peripheral issues that can only distract from the topic at hand. For example, my attendance at TEA parties. I have, in fact, not ever attended a TEA party rally as a participant. The photos you saw and the blog post that first brought you to this blog were the result of a photography assignment. I was at the TEA Party in Lynchburg as a journalist, not an attendee. Your obsession with the TEA partiers shows that you have a strong difference of opinion from theirs. So it would be great to engage some of them in conversation regarding those issues. But those are not the issues this blog primarily deals with. I certainly do know that I would not participate in a group praying for the death of Barack Obama. That is antithetical to my understanding of the Christian faith.

    With regard to "knowing the truth." You have said for anyone to claim that they know THE truth is just crazy. I disagree, obviously. There are folks who are searching for truth. And there are folks who, in their minds, have found the truth. If someone thinks they have found the truth, it would be crazy for them to say, "I think this is the truth." If they say it that way, they are probably not convinced and are actually still in the group that is searching.

    Because you, Tim, are part of that group that is searching for the truth, your paradigm is governed by a perspective that does not recognize an absolute truth (at this point). That's perfectly fine. However, I am not part of that group. I have found the truth in Jesus Christ. And I proclaim it to be true--not because "it is true for me," but because it is absolute truth. If I had doubts that it was absolute truth, I would be part of your group and would be searching along with you.

    The "overwhelming evidence" that you're asking for will be subjective. I don't know how much evidence it would take to convince you. And quite likely it will take much more to convince you of the truth of the scriptures than it did me. I must admit, I never have come from a perspective that would consider any degree of truth in such totally unscientific concepts as man evolving from a tadpole. No evidence, in my mind, proves that such a "theory" is simply a foolish and poorly grounded hypothesis.

    I am considering doing a series of blogposts on the evidence for the biblical Jesus, or possibly evidence for the historical accuracy of the bible. It would take a lot of research to be able to present it well, but perhaps that is something I should commit myself to.

    Please continue to visit this blog - and continue to ask your questions. But please do not toss out the answers we give. Consider them and disagree with them not on emotional grounds or preconceptions, but with the facts as you see them. In that way we can have an ongoing interaction.

    ... (continued in next comment - I ran out of space)

  15. ... continued

    You said, Whether you recognize that what I'm telling you is the truth makes no difference. The Truth is Truth! And what I'm telling you is the Truth. (See, I can use the same argument) and you are absolutely right. You certainly can use the exact same argument I use. And I will respond in much the same way to how you've responded to my use of scripture. I will tell you that I have no interest whatsoever in what man says if it goes contrary to the Word of God. Science will not contradict the Creator of the universe, so if a scientist says that his research leads him to believe that the bible is wrong about something, I know that his research is faulty. And thus, I reject it.

    You have rejected the truth I have presented to you. So you're absolutely right that we both can make the same argument and can return the same response--"I reject this." The difference is that you are putting your faith in men, including a man who has claimed that he will not even consider any evidence of intelligent design in the universe because that would mean there is a God and that is one possibility that he will not even consider. This admission by Hawking is definitional proof that he is a poor scientist. Perhaps he's a good naturalist, but a scientist does not come to the experiment table with preconceptions. If he does that his methodology is flawed and his research results will be skewed.

    I am not putting my faith in men. No men. I am putting my faith and trust in the God who created the universe and all living things and in the son he sent to die for the sins of all who will believe.

    My hope is that at the end of your search for truth you find yourself at that same place. I am no better than you, Tim. Not in any way whatsoever. And I am no better than anyone else either. I am a sinner in need of a Savior--just like you.

  16. Wow! My head is starting to hurt now. Thanks for taking the time to respond. I sincerely appreciate it.

    I have to correct one thing you said, because I fear that if I were to agree with everything you said, you may go into cardiac arrest..

    You said of me; "The difference is that you are putting your faith in men, including a man who has claimed that he will not even consider any evidence of intelligent design" That's not true. I believe what I said was while I have doubts about Hawkings theory on aliens, I couldn't say with 100 percent certainty that he's wrong Personally, if someone put a gun to my head (which under Obama, they have a legal right to carry in a federal park) and asked me if Hawkings was right or wrong on aliens, I'd guess that he's wrong. BUT I don't know that for sure. That's not faith. It's uncertainty.

    I know you'll hate this, but I'll say it anyway. I don't think there is much difference between us. You claim that I'm putting my faith in men, while you put yours in God. First of all, I don't put much faith in men. Secondly I would agrue that you put more faith in men than I do. It was men who wrote the Bible. You believe that they were inspired by God. Why? Because the men who wrote the Bible SAID they were inspired by God. In my eyes you're putting a lot of faith in people who lived so long ago, that even Larry King wasn't born yet.

    There is one thing I've been thinking about. Does God have free will? I know that you and I have free will, but does God?

    And why is there a brail pad for blind people at my bank's drive up ATM.

    Have a good night!



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