In Part 2 I respond to the age old question of: Where is your evidence?
Well the evidence is in the results, if you want to see it, just follow the scientific method and see.
If atheists are truly seekers of truth they will perform an experiment to see whether God is real. How can that be done? As Christians know, God reveals himself through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which the faithful receive upon the forgiveness of sins by Jesus Christ.
Jesus said that if you have faith as a grain of a mustard seed, you could say to the mountain “move,” and it would be moved. What he meant was that even the smallest amount of faith can produce results. What is the barest minimum amount of faith one can have? Suspension of disbelief.
We make use of this all the time when we watch a film or read a novel. We suspend our disbelief that things are not possible so we can enjoy these things. It even has a practical purpose. The Wright Brothers suspended their disbelief that man could fly and were able to build the first airplane.
Can we use this mustard seed of faith to see whether God is real and follow the scientific method as well? Yes and I will show you how.
The scientific method consists of a few basic steps.
1. Begin with a question. In this case we are asking, does God exist?
2. Do background research. Christians say He does, so to determine whether or not they are correct one must examine what they say and which steps they take in order to arrive at that conclusion. They say that God proves himself through His Holy Spirit which indwells the believer, which is received when one accepts the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. The steps taken are 1) faith/suspension of disbelief, 2) self-examination as to what one’s sins are and that they need to be forgiven, 3) hope that one can be cleansed of them through faith in Jesus Christ, 4) prayer to Jesus asking forgiveness.
3. Construct a hypothesis. In this experiment the hypothesis will be: That if the steps Christians take are followed, it will lead to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and this personal experience will be evidence that what they claim is true.
4. Test the hypothesis by doing an experiment. The experiment will be conducted in the following steps. 1) Begin by suspending disbelief. This can be as simple a mental acknowledgment that “anything is possible”. 2) Self-examination that identifies ones sins. These can be things readily acknowledged sins such as having stolen something or can be things left undone, like not helping someone when you should have. 3) Have hope that Jesus Christ can cleanse or remove those sins from you. If you can hope that the store has your favorite kind of ice cream, you can muster the hope needed for this step. 4) Prayer, after having gone through steps 1-3 say this prayer aloud: “Jesus Christ I believe you are God and that you became a flesh and blood man who died upon the cross for my sins and I believe you rose from the dead. I beg you to forgive me of my sins, I have sinned against you and I have sinned against my neighbor and I have sinned against myself. I have (name all sins you have committed). Forgive me Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”
5. Analyze the data and draw a conclusion. Using self-examination, determine if you experienced any emotional catharsis of your sins being forgiven as well as any other experiences you may have felt. Did you follow precisely steps 1-4 of the experiment and as a result did you have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ and his Holy Spirit? 1 Corinthians 12:3 says: “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” So if you able to say the following “I confess that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior” you have the gift of the Holy Spirit. Can the experiment produce the same effects when repeatedly done? After a few days repeat the experiment, do you again have a personal encounter with Jesus? Is it different that the first time? Why would that be?
6. Communicate the results. What did you conclude after performing the experiment?
Well there you have it, using the scientific method to test whether God is real or not. I know a lot of atheists will say that the personal experience is not valid, that one cannot touch or see what goes on in a one’s mind. Well if that is your attitude, I challenge you prove that your friends or parents exist without relying on personal experience. Isn’t it true, that after all the evidence is examined, the simplest answer is often the correct one?
Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? What evidence of salvation is the Holy Spirit producing in your life?
Read Part 1 of this series here.