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Most apologetic arguments for theism/Christianity are probabilistic (i.e. they are abductive in nature, rely on premises that are not necessarily true, etc.), meaning that a rational person who is exposed to these arguments would at best be able to rationally conclude that Christianity is probably true. And this "probability" would be a subjective estimation of how convincing a given person finds these arguments to be, which obviously varies from person to person. For example, testimonial arguments (i.e. arguments based on testimonial accounts) can be quite controversial, and there seems to be no agreed upon way to objectively establish "how convincing" a specific argument is.

A rational person could reach the conclusion that Christianity is "probably" true. Similarly, a rational person might/might not reach the conclusion that Mormonism is "probably" true, that alien abductions are "probably" true, etc. Again, this "probability" would be subjectively estimated.

However, is there any way for a rational person to reach the conclusion that Christianity is definitely true?

  • Have any Christian epistemologists discussed the reasons that may lead someone to believe that Christianity is probably true but fail to be convinced that Christianity is definitely true?

  • Similarly, have any Christian epistemologists discussed the reasons that may lead someone to be fully convinced that Christianity is definitely true?


Related:


Answers to questions

Q. When you say "Christianity" is true - what are you covering here? Is it every claim in the bible? Is it a specific set of laws? Is it the existence of God? Is it a particular sect? Is that "truth" allowed to be partial? If one line of the bible could be proven untrue would that mean the whole thing doesn't qualify as true? How binary are we talking?

A. Good question. At the very least I mean something like C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. My own version of Mere Christianity would include the following minimal facts:

  • God exists
  • God intelligently designed the universe
  • God has a moral code for humanity
  • The resurrection of Jesus was a historical fact, as part of God's plan of salvation for humanity
  • The spirit realm exists
  • Human beings have spirits/souls
  • Angels exist and may sometimes intervene in supernatural ways
  • Satan and demons exist, influence people to do evil, and may sometimes intervene in supernatural ways
  • The Holy Spirit exists, influences people to do good and may sometimes intervene in supernatural ways

Other optional facts:

  • Miracles still happen
  • Supernatural encounters with Jesus/God still happen
  • The Bible is infallibly inspired (not everyone agrees with this)
  • Noah's flood was a historical fact
  • The Exodus was a historical fact
  • The Earth is about 6000 years old (not everyone agrees with this)
  • etc.

Q. I think "Definitely true" needs to be more specific. Are you asking for an argument for the truth of Christianity that is completely irrefutable logically?

A. By "definitely true" I mean an extremely high degree of confidence, regardless of how a rational person might specifically get there. In my understanding of rationality, being rational does not rule out the possibility of being convinced of some fact through non-argumentative, non-inferential ways. In this sense I'm influenced by William Lane Craig's explanation of properly basic beliefs (e.g. here & here).

Q. I can't tell if you are asking how a person may become certain or how one may convince someone else to be certain. There would be two very different answers

A. Interesting distinction. I'm very much open to and actually interested in both approaches to the question.

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    I think "Definitely true" needs to be more specific. Are you asking for an argument for the truth of Christianity that is completely irrefutable logically? Commented Aug 29, 2022 at 20:49
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    I can't tell if you are asking how a person may become certain or how one may convince someone else to be certain. There would be two very different answers. Commented Aug 29, 2022 at 22:51
  • 3
    There is no way to rationally conclude that anything is definitely true. The question is less "is it definitely true" and more "is it more likely to be true or false": given the evidence, you compare it to other possibilities, and judge what's the most likely to be true. Although you can be more or less confident based on how strongly the evidence supports one possibility above another.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 8:28
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    @Fake Mathematical proofs establish conclusions which are definitely true given a starting set of axioms.
    – JBentley
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 13:13
  • 1
    @JBentley "Mathematical proofs establish conclusions which are definitely true" ... except when there's a flaw in the proof, which we sometimes discover, but we may also be incapable of spotting a flaw, even in the simplest of proofs. And "given a starting set of axioms" means it's purely abstract knowledge (which is knowledge nonetheless, but knowledge about reality tends to be a lot more useful). Even if this allowed for absolute certainty, once you start applying that knowledge to reality, you lose the capability for absolute certainty.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 14:16

13 Answers 13

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Preliminaries

Having no philosophy / theology degree, but as an amateur aspiring to be a Christian epistemologist, I will share in this answer a way for a rational person who, after intellectually deciding that the objective facts makes Christianity (of a certain denomination) is probably true, to determine whether Christianity is definitely true.

First, let's agree on what it means to be "rational". As a Christian epistemologist who places a high value on the right contribution of science, philosophy, psychology, and theology, I would have to include ALL of the following factors into my determination and sort them out properly using reason (all factors have their place and use):

  • Factors from human nature (faculties of rationality):

    1. reason: faculty that can do abstraction from concrete to universal, that coordinate the other human faculties, that is also driven by intellectual appetites for beauty, etc.
    2. critical thinking & logic: part of reason called discursive reason
    3. conscience: moral faculty for right and wrong, judged internally by natural law
    4. desires: all built-in instincts, including for procreation, preservation, nutrition, etc.
    5. emotions & feelings
    6. volition: will power
    7. reflections on self, God, and nature
    8. memory
  • Factors from God:

    1. grace (God pouring love, saving faith, fruits of the spirit, gifts of the spirit, deification, etc.)
    2. impression (God speaking to me in a whisper)
    3. providence (God arranging circumstances around me)
    4. special revelation (God revealing something to be personally through dream, vision, etc.)
  • Factors from experience:

    1. influence from beauty (art, music, nature, etc.)
    2. experiences of miracle or near-miracle (such as close calls, seemingly providential coincidences, etc.)
    3. psychology from upbringing and experiences
    4. brain chemistry and neurology as a result of my upbringing / eating habits / environments / genetics
    5. cultural influence: the worldview I'm bathed in by my country, ethnicity, society, childhood religion, and even primary language
  • Factors from other spiritual beings:

    1. demon
    2. angel
    3. intercession of saints in heaven
    4. prayers from other believers living on earth or in purgatory
  • Factors from moral acts of myself / humanity:

    1. the impact of my past sins leading into vices (sinful habits)
    2. the impact of my past good acts leading into virtues (good habits)
    3. "original sin" defined as corrupted humanity in which I share the concupiscence resulting from "the sin of Adam"

Secondly, it is obvious from reviewing the list of the factors above, that this decision can only be made by each individual, that beyond the probability based on

  • objective facts (denominational apologetics), and
  • a guide to sort out all the above factors rationally (the meat of this answer, see next section)

there is a subjective dimension which can make Christianity definitely true ONLY for that person. This Christian epistemologist certainly CANNOT make that calculation for another person because I'm not a Vulcan who can do mind-meld.

Guide to sort out all the factors rationally

The following is a sampler of what an individual's reason can do to lead him/her from the probable stage to a step closer to the definitive stage using rational processes. I deliberately emphasize the non-critical thinking & logical factors since as a Christian epistemologist I want to restore the proper standing of these factors to rationally deciding that God's offer of new life in Christ is a good one for me.

  1. I need to review all my biases arising from my current worldview so I don't neglect important factors to consider. For example:
    • how Western culture evaluation of religion is highly cerebral, but Christianity is about relationship with God
    • we are still under the influence of modernity where we are less sensitive to recognizing miracles
  2. I need to know myself better:
    • If I'm too driven by logic, am I neglecting my desires? I should look into St. Augustine's teaching affirmed for millennia about how restlessness as a good desire for God that cannot be satisfied in other ways, is a rational evidence to match with Christianity as a fulfillment of that desire.
    • If I have been too selfish or driven by pleasure, can it make God seems farther? Can my hardness of heart a form of rationalization / pride? St. Augustine teaches a very powerful consequence of original sin that can become either less/more depending on virtue/vice: incurvatus in se. By following a systematic examination of conscience and repent of the sins found we can better appreciate God's forgiveness and realize our need for spiritual healing in that area, which in turn makes us more humble and more likely to accept God's offer. This is a rational move!
    • If I have a bad father, does it interfere from my expectation or my trust for God the Father? I may need to be guided more by Scripture to realize God's unfailing love and faithfulness.
    • If my parents are too permissive or too demanding, does it introduce a distortion of the kind of God I'm inclined to believe? God is not Santa Claus or a slavedriver (other extreme), but God wants us to have better character through "lover's demand". It's rational because there are many parallels with the best kinds of natural loves.
    • etc.
  3. I need to listen to various ways that God has tried to approach me through special circumstances or impressions in my heart. For example:
    • Since Christian theology of all stripes emphasize God's love reaching out to us while waiting for us to "come to him" (he's not forcing his way), have I ever simply be silent and ask God to bring us nearer to Him?
    • Argumentation is not God's main way to go from probable to definitely, but LOVE. Do I feel God's love? Have I felt God's gaze and attention lavished on me? If not, is it because I have a bias blocking off a lover's approach but tend to want to analyze another person FIRST?

Conclusion

At the end of the day faith is inseparable from accepting the gift of love, so if our antenna is broken in the desires, emotions, and feelings department, no epistemology can help us to take from probably to definitely. Only God's love can, but we have to RECEIVE it!

Receiving it is rational:

  1. Critical thinking can only take us so far, especially when God wants to play hide and seek. We can rationally decide that it is SAFE to invite the Lion of Judah to come into our house (the probably), the definitely maybe can be granted to us as a reward from undertaking the journey with the lion (borrowing from Chronicles of Narnia here, about how only Lucy could see Aslan in Prince Caspian when the kids were lost in the woods).

  2. In Christianity, we are not being asked to discard our reason when receiving love, as though we need to be in a state of intoxication / "spiritual high" when we say "Yes" to God's offer. It is not like how in Pride and Prejudice Mr. Darcy proposed to Elizabeth saying that the violence of his love was such that he was compelled to ask Elizabeth to marry him even though his will, reason, and even his character were against it! Of course he was refused.

    So God does not require intoxicated love as our response. God is patient until we are fully ready to receive his love wholeheartedly (with enough reason and will to take a risk with a tiny mustard seed of faith): "Yes, I will die to my old self, I want to receive the gift of new life and I will try be faithful to you, but help me to trust you more".

As reciprocating love from us as God's needy children grows we will find that the reasonableness of receiving God's love will also grow naturally, as well as our trust in Him. THAT is at least my experience where I have never needed to check my reason / my rationality / my sense at the door. For me, faith and reason are friends forever that grow together. I hope it can be your experience too.

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    The only thing odd about God's "love" is that in our short, innocent lives on this planet, if we commit a "sin" and don't get a chance to repent, we are thrown into hell to burn for eternity. If my parents did that to me, I'd have huge doubts about whether they really "loved" me.
    – Nav
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 10:30
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    @Nav What you said is not what is taught by most (possibly any?) Christians.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 11:06
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    The existance of "hell" in any sort of way that's not "entirely man-made, right now, right here on earth, nothing spiritual or unreal about it at all", is usually enough for me to reject either Christianity or Islam, depending on who's seeking the the argument with me. Interestingly enough, my grandmother had a very real, almost Freudian in a way, concept of "the devil", namely the parts of her subconscious that tried to keep her from walking "the straight path" ... in her world, mostly, from doing the dishes after dinner.
    – Sixtyfive
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 12:53
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    @LioElbammalf Completely agree. Wishful thinking is powerful, and I take Freud, William James, and Feuerbach seriously. That's why the starting point of the OP is probable, and my answer makes the implicit argument that when taking the next step toward decision (for being a Christian means daring to start a journey) the Christian option is at least as rational as Freud/James/Feuerbach. In other words faith is NOT what secularists caricature as taking a "blind step into madness" because the Christian God gives grace that perfects nature, not destroy it. Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 15:57
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    @yters Nope, it's not orthodox to say that God doesn't give people opportunity to repent.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 23:12
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There remains a type of epistemic distance, in the evidence for the Christian faith, that is sufficient but not exhaustive. That distance is there for a reason. It's to avoid coercion.

The evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus is a type of "degreed" proposition. Think of a scale from one to ten and evaluate at what point the probability scale tips into the realm of being "definitely certain."

In doing so be sure to factor in other reasons besides traditional apologetic thoughts for Christianity being true. For example, in the fields of mathematics, computer science and information theory Blaise Pascal is widely regarded to be the "father of modern probability theory. Pascal said:

The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of... We know the truth not only by the reason, but by the heart.

Pascal once had a charismatic experience that was a subjective, but an extremely powerful inner testimony from the Holy Spirit. He writes:

Since that night, I have a fire within me, which I cannot quench. I tried knowing God through reason. But now I must share the truth and the certainty that God has confirmed in my heart. I never thought a sense of peace and the passion of fire could reside in one’s heart simultaneously.

That being said, being "definitely certain" does not mean the elimination of all possible doubt.

One might say, "this is most certainly true" about any number of aspects of the Christian faith. Lutherans, for example, in their Confessions use that terminology. But that is a faith statement that comes from the heart.

Blaise Pascal’s dictum holds true:

In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadow for those who don't.

Or, as Pascal also writes:

There is enough light for those who only desire to see, and enough obscurity for those who have a contrary disposition...

God wishes to move the will rather than the mind. Perfect clarity would help the mind and harm the will.

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+100

Some of the answers above are outstanding. But, I think fail to delineate between two critical points:

  1. Religion - does the question want proof of a religion, Christianity, possessing truthful facts?

  2. Relationship - does the question want proof of the reality of experiencing a relationship with the Living God of the Christian Bible and walk of life?

Almost all the writings above are on intellectual ascent, though a few slight touches about relationship. And, the answers above concede you don't really get proof via intellectual ascent. This is correct.

However, the relationship aspect in the above answers is underdeveloped - yet it is the only proof offered by God.

In the interest of #2, I would offer another answer:

1. Character Witness For starters, scripture is a character witness. You either accept it as that or you are off on the intellectual paths mentioned above.

A character witness is used by God, because He will not bow to an inferior way of life. With God, you can count on His character and His proficiency/competence/skill. Therefore, demands like proof, validating and vetting are for inferior ways of life where the concern is fallibility or malevolent intentions. There is no such thing with God, e.g.

"in Him is no darkness at all", 1 Jn 1:5 & many verses

"For with God nothing will be impossible.", Lk 1:37 & many verses

Including providing an infallible character witness through fallible beings inspired to write and canonize scripture.

God's not using intellectual prowess, nor requiring it, rather deliberately avoiding it:

"when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.", 1 Cor 2:1

it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.", 1 Cor 1:21

Character witness is founded on relationship: you put confidence or assurance in one's character and ability. Intellectual ascent is quite another foundation. While men are without excuse observing nature (Rom 1:20), that is a completely different matter to experiencing the reality of God in a personal relationship.


God's purpose with mankind is a personal relationship. The experience of that relationship is the only proof offered by God.

Most approach God differently,

"but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”, Gen 2:17

This verse is not a call to abandon God-given intellect and reason. Rather, it is a warning that relying on it, "feeding" on it - one eats to stay alive - will lead to death. Life is found only in the Person of Jesus Christ Who -is- God. God offers proof through a Person - one you personally experience in reality.

2. Little Children

"Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”, Matt 19:14

Note 'do not forbid them'. God will not forbid a person approaching Him - relationally - as a little child.

Children lack considerable experience and knowledge. They are limited and dependent on a higher up. They are vulnerable, but generally born trusting.

Regarding intellectual ascent, God has no need of natural ability. He can make donkeys talk, turn kings into cud-chewing animals, grants natural ability via fiat and opens and closes understanding at-will. Intellectual capacity is at best a catalyst to start seeking Him - relationally.

3. Repentance

A seeker must come to a deep realization he/she is limited and in need, like children, but also flawed, broken, weak, subjective and, like a little child, cannot help him/herself. This is called 'missing the mark' or "sin":

"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God", Rom 3:23

We have all deeply offended God by our nature. If one can't be moved by this fact to the point of completely changing one's life proof will never come. This is repentance. Furthermore, it is God that enables us to repent! That is based on one's disposition in approaching Him.

Here's where proof starts via a personal transformation beyond what any other means could do. These are very personalized per seeker, because God is now engaging and manifesting an experience - via personal relationship. Religion can only testify, but not prove. (Back to character witness ;-)

Now, atheists and agnostics abound with high moral character. But, they don't experience God beyond all doubt, because morality isn't the enabler. They didn't seek God, acknowledge their sin; therefore, they have no relationship with Him and, thus, no (starting) proof.

Another obstacle to proof is religion.

"For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light", 2 Cor 11:14

This goes well beyond conventional Catholicism vs. Protestantism vs. non-denomination and other doctrinal derivatives. Well beyond it.

This is why I asked #1 and #2 above, because this is a fact:

Christianity is not ekklesia.

There's overlap and mingling, but they are not the same thing. That's very offensive to many in Christianity. Let the Lord sort it out, just follow Him first and foremost before any preacher, teacher, etc. He is real. He speaks. And, removes all doubt of needing proof.

Satan will settle for anyone between you and Christ, including a well-meaning devout Christian. Only One Man could say, "the ruler of this world comes, but he has nothing in Me" (Jn 14:40). The rest of us, he has something in us, fallen nature. Mainstream Christianity rarely matures Christians, because the onus is on the believer to seek the Lord past the so-called inner court, where feeding on showbread (preachers, teachers, publications) is the highest ground of most. You go alone into the Holy of Holies just like the High Priest modeled. Personal relationship.

4. Invitation

"If a man loves Me, he will keep my words: and My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.", Jn 14:23

'Keep my words' means to continue, persist, abide continuously. Doing this, especially against deep internal conflict and external adversity, God lives inside a person removing all doubt whatsoever. Intellectual ascent has no hope of this level of transformation. Likewise comfortable living. Without the transformation there is no further proof.

"do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?", 1 Cor 6:19

Many get initial experiences, but to keep those experiences going you must catch the last part of that verse, ...

'you are not your own'

You're all in or you're all out. The Lord calls the shots (Matt 7:21), determines your place in the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:18) and determines your inheritance (Ps 47:4). Here's where natural ambition cuts off further proof. And, where religion obscures experiencing relationship with Christ resulting in a testimony to observers how impotent religion really is.

"Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’", Matt 7:22-23

That's the Christian religious. 'Lawlessness' isn't just the Ten Commandments, it's natural ambition and there's plenty of it in Christianity.

5. Yielding

You must invite the Holy Spirit into every part of your person and life - all of it - nothing left out. Christ is a gentleman, He never forces Himself on anyone. You are about to find out what offends God so much in your nature! Everyone has 'soul blockers' like mentioned above: your emotions, will, biases, brokenness, etc. that prevent the will of the Holy Spirit from operating. This is where you die to self day-by-day, yielding to the invitation you grant the Holy Spirit.

Make no mistake about it: God is going to reduce that part of you to ashes, killing it, literally. You will experience the literal death of self - if you want proof on a regular basis by hearing Him, His interventions, His manifestations. (You will not lose your personality and individual uniqueness in this process).

This doesn't fill the pews and offering plates, though. So, Christianity comes up with all kinds of programs around this. Prosperity gospel is true, but in context God wants to prosper you by transforming your nature, not preserving the natural man or its interests. This means you die to this life, not gain more of it.

"Be ashamed, you farmers, Wail, you vinedressers", Joel 1:11

These are teachers being rebuked by the Lord when the Day of the Lord comes. Scripture is full of rebuke of religion, and that religion is most certainly Christianity as generally practiced. Christianity is not ekklesia.

God is not a tyrant denying you a living, but He most certainly has no interest in preserving any of it at the expense of maturity. His interest is quite the opposite, to reduce you to ashes. The burnt offering was all in, reduced to ashes, nothing was left out. Nothing less was acceptable to the Lord.

6. Maturity

Most of Christianity is stuck above, struggling to yield and being distracted and deceived from maturing. One example, is teachers keeping the same students for decades. They failed to mature students when Christ stated His goal with every believer:

"But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.", 1 Jn 2:27

"None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.", Heb 8:11

Following mainstream Christianity is not maturing most in it.

Maturity costs you everything. Including going against the crowd knowing "with most He is not well pleased" (1 Cor 10:5).

"narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.", Matt 7:14

"Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.", Lk 13:24

"I die daily.", 1 Cor 15:31

"but its swamps and marshes will not be healed", Ez 47:11

Few mature, because it costs you everything:

  • c.f. the burnt offering. All-in or not acceptable.
  • c.f. the grain offering: seeds are crushed into fine flower = the old nature is broken or not acceptable.
  • c.f. precious stones: long-term heat and pressure to the point you are changed into something you weren't starting out.

Not being able is due to the seeker hanging on to something against the Holy Spirit's will. This is always associated with the death of the old nature and giving up this life's interests. Christianity has hardly done that en masse. Little wonder so many Christians still want to hear more from God and experience Him. They're stuck in religion, not relationship with Christ.

Few get to this level of proof. God hides it in a personal relationship as proof. Only a testimony, a character witness, is visible to the world.

Christ seeks a bride. Just like He made marriage an analogy, e.g. sexual intercourse is very personal, intimate, you don't share that with anybody. Ditto the mature seeker's experience of Christ in a real, living personal reality. God's not sharing that with observers and certainly not the world. It's His and the seeker's alone.

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  • This. Excellent answer. Fully agreed.
    – user50422
    Commented Sep 10, 2022 at 12:37
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is there any way for a rational person to reach the conclusion that Christianity is definitely true?

Yes. Die and stand before God.

Snark aside, I'd be shocked if there aren't people that would doubt even then. It is human nature (and the action of the Adversary) that we have doubts. We aren't 100% certain that gravity is "true", despite overwhelming evidence. Thomas was an apostle and he had doubts. Even after the invitation to touch the risen Lord, I'd be surprised if he didn't sometimes have the thought that perhaps he hallucinated the whole thing.

So long as our minds and our senses are fallible (which is to say, for all of this life), it would require mathematical rigor to "prove" Christianity, and even that relies on the fallibility of our reason. The idea that we can be certain of any idea whose argument is beyond trivial is simply not viable.

Of course, this applies to any philosophy, including Materialism¹, and even the "hard" sciences. It is highly probably that Christianity is true, but we can't be certain in this life. Gravity is probably not the result of the FSM's noodly appendages pressing on everything, but we can't be certain in this life.

(¹ Actually, Materialists have it worse, because they first have to show that their conclusions leave any room to trust our reason or senses in the first place! Which is a catch-22, because any such argument is necessarily circular reasoning.)

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 18:06
  • The last couple of paragraphs seem unnecessary. Especially wording (in a question about belief by proof) like "it is highly probably that Christianity is true" - it doesn't add to the answer, especially without backing up. I'd argue the answer in general doesn't add much beyond what has already been posted. Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 14:36
  • Gravity's truth is still being revised. Newton thought he had it. Then along comes Einstein. Even now it doesn't work if you want to talk about quantum at the same time. Who knows who'll come next. Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 16:32
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This was started as a comment but I think it is actually an answer, albeit a short one.

I can't help but remark that your question entirely and utterly misses the point of Christianity (and most other religions): It is called faith for a reason.

Christians devote themselves and commit themselves, indeed lay their lives into the hands of God. They trust and believe. They do not and cannot know: That is the whole point. Everything we know is entirely mundane (behold the etymology) compared to our faith. Faith is transcendental, and reciprocated (God loves us back). It elevates us in a way no knowledge ever could.

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    I never used the words "knowledge" / "know" in the OP. Instead, I used the words "believe" and "convinced". Can you please clarify what you mean by "knowing" something? What is your definition of "knowledge"? What is your definition of "faith"? Lastly, what are your thoughts on this article: reasonablefaith.org/media/reasonable-faith-podcast/… ?
    – user50422
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 9:17
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    @SpiritRealmInvestigator "reach the conclusion that Christianity is definitely true" appears synonymous to "know" to me. Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 9:47
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    Christians devote themselves and commit themselves, indeed lay their lives into the hands of God. They trust and believe. - Couldn't a Muslim say the same thing about Allah?
    – user50422
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 10:05
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    It's not a definition of faith though. It's a description of what Abraham had faith in. In your answer you draw a mutual exclusivity between faith and knowledge. If you know something to be true, it is not something to have faith in, according to you. But this is just not correct.
    – wberry
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 21:00
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    If you cannot "know", how do you differentiate Christianity from other religions and from other supernatural claims about auras and ghosts and whatever else? Those can all claim to be "transcendental" and "reciprocated" (by some definition). Do you maintain that objective reality exists (including supernatural reality)? If so, how can you have confidence that your belief that God exists is consistent with reality (as opposed to e.g. simply sticking to a belief because that's what you grew up believing)?
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 13:08
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Apologetic arguments for theism are generally certain. They are philosophical arguments. Think: Aquinas' 5 ways, the Kalam Cosmological, the ontological and modal ontological arguments, etc. These arguments are deductive, which means that they either work or they don't. If they have true premises, and are deductively valid, then they are sound arguments, and they are undeniable.

There is no certain argument for Christianity, or for any religion, for that matter. However, it seems unreasonable to be convinced of theism and yet neglect to seek out which religion might be the True Faith.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 21:15
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Is there any way for a rational person to reach the conclusion that anything is definitely true?

Consider Gödel's incompleteness theorem, which shows that a statement can be true, but unprovable. That statement is "This statement is false." If the statement is true, then the statement is false. If the statement is false, then it's true. It's a paradox. Every system of logic is founded upon an unprovable axiom. This means that even the strictest systems of logic and math require faith at some point.

Also consider that scientific studies which produce statistical data don't seek to prove something to be true, instead they seek to prove that the observed difference is not due to chance. This is called the null hypothesis. There's no way to prove that something is true because there's no way to observe and test everything in all circumstances in all locations. Instead, we show that in a particular case, the observed difference is statistically significant, meaning that there's only a 5% chance that the observed difference was due to mere random chance.

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  • Every Christian and every thinking person should be beg to differ. This is the thought that stops thought, as Chesterton called it... If you honestly believe it, please stick around the site, hopefully you'll learn a few things about truth, both revealed and otherwise.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 19:22
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    The answer is an explanation of the insufficiency of strong rationalism, but isn't to imply that relativism is the only option left. There's also critical rationality. hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/Nave-html/Faithpathh/kelint.html Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 19:55
  • There's a huge difference between accepting the simplest explanation for the evidence, and "having faith" that something is true. Rationality doesn't require faith at any point. And the existence of paradoxes doesn't mean we can't know that any non-paradoxical claim is true (or at least the latter doesn't trivially follow from the former). And one might argue that the truth of paradoxes can trivially be said to be "that is a paradox" - not all knowledge needs to fall into "X is true" or "X is false", or one can also say "'that is a paradox' is true").
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 8:01
  • @NotThatGuy I think. Therefor I am something that thinks. Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 16:39
  • Gödel's incompleteness theorem is inappropriately used here. It is not true that all systems of math/logic "require faith at some point". Mathematicians make no claim of applicability, but rather "from these axioms come these theorems" - so if the axioms are applicable to the real world, so are the conclusions. Also, an axiomization must be at least as strong as PA to fall under incompleteness, but not all are. Moreover, paraconsistent logics and the like can completely sidestep some of these issues. Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 16:56
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The Problem

To rightly understand the solution, we must first understand the problem. The problem is not with the arguments, but with the sinful nature of man, thus the solution is a heart solution rather than a knowledge solution.

20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 1:20-24 (emphasis mine)

Apologetics and reason do not save or bring men to saving faith. We use it instead to remove doubts of those try to hold onto false reasons to disbelieve and to strengthen the faith and show the plainness of the truth to those who believe, but it is always God who saves as He is the one from who they run.

In Proverbs, the book on wisdom, wisdom and understanding are pictured many places, most notably chapters 8 and 9, as a lady who is going out into the streets and pleading with men to come in. It can be understood from these passages that that the truth is not something which requires great study to find, but something which is immediately available to all people.

So, why does it then seem so hard to make a conclusive argument through reason alone? The answer seems to be in Romans:

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Romans 1:19 - 21 (emphasis mine)

Paul doesn't seem to believe in Atheists. The reason why it is so hard to prove the truth is that mankind already knows and has spent much of history running from the truth and has invented new methods to distance itself from it.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 1:7

Most people run away from that fear and they do not want wisdom.

From a perspective of logic and debate, I would say that those who do not believe have framed the debate in a way so as to presume that there is some reasonable bar which should be met by reasonable beliefs, but then expects no other belief to be subjected to it. I suppose that any child will understand some common things. They understand that there is a need for morality, and this must come from somewhere. They understand that all sufficiently complex things which they have seen were made by somebody, and thus conclude that for such things where no maker is known, there must be one. And if there is a Creator and Divine moral arbiter, who has made things reasonably, then He must have also made His will known throughout history. That should be enough to narrow the answer down to Christianity for most people who would be honest with themselves.

Unfortunately, most of us need something more. Modern philosophy begins with Descartes, who showed that the only undeniably true thing is "I think, therefore I am." That is the reason that we say "probably", because from that perspective, all truth is at best "probably" true. For instance, it's also "probably" true that everything we know is an illusion from a demon. There is no way that we can actually prove that it's not. The problem is that a lot of modern Atheists will tell you that if you can't prove God to exist beyond that bar, then they won't believe, but they do not have that same requirement for any other belief that they hold, all of which are at the absolute best only "probably" true. If you argue with them on that, then they will shift the goal post and demand that you prove something to be justified by empirical evidence, or perhaps science, which they will secretly redefine as something like "the consensus of the current scientific community".

The Solution

Attacking Presupposition

Whatever the strategy against Christianity, what you'll find is that, just as the Bible said, the disbelief doesn't actually come from reason, but from an emotional place. So, you may be better off dealing with the heart first. After all, that is how people come to accept truth. But For those who are softening up to truth or who want to know where truth would lead, you have to attack the false presuppositions. People don't want to believe, and so the challenge isn't really proving that Christianity is true, but removing the cognitive dissonance that they have used in their attempt at denial. This may involve things such as showing them that science itself, and even the very ability to reason is founded upon a certain specific set of presupposed metaphysical assumptions which only truly make sense in the context of Christianity (We have a justified ability to reason, nature is sufficiently uniform, truth is an important objective, it is reasonable to rely upon my senses somewhat, etc.) Therefore, their arguments break themselves down at the very beginning. It is a little trickier when the denial is in the shape of other religions, especially the Abrahamic ones, but the approach is roughly the same.

Beyond "Probably"

To go beyond "probably', you would likely need to switch things up a bit. As per Descartes, you won't find certainty in the realm of absolute undeniable truths. However, you can find certainty in what one should believe. Not all truth is the same, and some truths, even if they were true, would hold no value. For instance, it is possible that no time exists and that I am something like an instantaneous Botlzmann Brain. However, while it's at best only probably true that I'm not, it is certainly true that I should not choose to believe that since if there were no time, any attempt to change my mind would fail.

I believe that once we change the question to what we should believe, we can state some much more solid proofs for or against sets of core beliefs (i.e. religions). I would recommend first setting forth all of the assumptions which can be made in the above manner and which are necessary for rational inquiry. Then, for those, rate each system on a set of criteria, such as how descriptive, predictive, prescriptive, coherent, and precise that system is.

What you will tend to find very quickly is that in order to satisfy many of the requirements of rational justification, you will need at least some unified divine moral arbiter who has an interest in what we believe and do, and who has set forth his will throughout the history of mankind. When you begin to put the pieces together, and once you consider the additional evidence, then you will find that Christianity is not only probably true, but that you should certainly believe it to be true.

Truths That Point To Christianity

The proscribed method would rule out many belief systems, such as Atheism, Naturalism, most forms of Mythology, probably Buddhism, and others. From what might remain, you would be narrowing down the field with truth from the following areas:

  • Morality - Requires a divine moral arbiter almost explicitly like the Christian God, with little wiggle room if you want it to be absolute morality (impetus for action) and prescriptive rather than only descriptive.
  • Empirical evidence/History/Cutlture - No religion has had such an impact on the world as Christianity and Judaism. Furthermore, the stories that are told by the Bible have real world evidence being discovered even into our modern time. I don't know of any other religion can make this claim.
  • Prophetic - The quality and accuracy of the prophecy in the Bible are of a superior quality to any other belief system.
  • Impetus to reason - The Christian faith seems to be unique in the way that it handles evidence and our capacity for reason. It uniquely describes the connection of wisdom and reason to the universe around us with truth and then that relationship to us, including our minds, giving us not only direction and impetus, but provides a direct causal link between truth and our minds, and then to the teachings themselves.

Of course, those are just examples and leaves out specifics. One could go on listing things across every field, from the fact that from the field of textual criticism, the Bible is the best attested record of historical events than anything before the printing press, or how it addresses and resolves every modern philosophical movement centuries or millennia before they came into existence, and so forth. Many of these are quite unique to Christianity. Individually, they may not prove Christianity to be true undeniably, but once you've narrowed the playing field to what should be believed and have established our epistemological needs, together these push Christianity far beyond any other thing that one might ask to be believed.

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Your question solicits a definitive proof that Christianity and its doctrine are true, or at least a definitive proof that such a definitive proof exists. There are many arguments that have been advanced by many theologians, historians, archaeologists, and philosophers over the centuries. While a summary of them would certainly be useful, even a summary would take a great amount of time; and I would like to speak to a higher level issue here instead.

What exactly do you mean by "definitely true"? In consideration of any form of argument on this topic, whether historical, archaeological, philosophical, etc., any claim of definitive proof will quickly lead to more abstract questions.

What is proof? And what is truth?

In claiming a definitive proof, is one allowed to assume that academically accepted documentation of an archaeological dig was not falsified? Is it necessary to personally examine evidence recovered at digs? Of course, once pulled from the ground, it potentially becomes a question whether an artifact was forged, or was really found in the time, place and surroundings as claimed. Can the writings of the ancient historians such as Josephus, Philo and the "church fathers" be stipulated as fact? Many academics speculate on whether the writings of Josephus were altered, especially in certain passages.

Even within the pages of scripture these themes are explored. Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, "What is truth?" I can almost hear the cynicism on his lips. Jesus interestingly did not answer him. But earlier that same night, in his prayers, Jesus had answered. He asked the Father: "Sanctify them [the disciples] by Your truth. Your word is truth." But of course, a skeptic will ask, not wrongly, what is God's word? And is Jesus' prayer to be used as evidence of the truth of the Bible?

In claiming a definitive proof, is one allowed to stipulate that the revelations of the ancient prophets are legitimate? In ancient times, there were procedures for certifying a prophet, but this documentation has not been transmitted down through the years to us. In the absence of this certifying documentation, can we trust the writings of the ancient prophets? Can we trust that their writings were not altered after their deaths?

Many skeptics do not accept the exodus from Egypt as a real historical event. There have been archaeological findings that support the exodus as historical, but how much hard evidence is enough?

The loss of historical artifacts, writings, and documents is an unfortunate constant in world history. Can the losses of past wars and purges be allowed to push important questions of truth completely out of reach?

In summary, there must be a reasonable baseline on which to even evaluate the truth of such claims as the Christian faith makes. This is not, I argue, a question of faith, but instead a question of reason. Like it or not, very few things in this world are absolutely proven. But we have no choice but to decide on questions of truth with the imperfect information, knowledge and wisdom we have.

Beyond mathematical and logical theorems, almost nothing is absolutely proven. Even scientific claims, that once seemed proven or disproven, have occasionally been reversed after experimental errors or malpractice were uncovered. And even highly complex mathematical theorems, the proofs of which were once accepted, have on occasion been questioned later. (Mathematicians are extremely careful about this nowadays.)

I believe that reasonable people can and do disagree on the standard of proof for important questions of truth, and on those grounds arrive at different answers to the same questions even having similar or the same information. I find this fact frustrating, and as it regards highly important issues, even terrifying.

But while I agree with the point I have often heard, that extraordinary claims should be accompanied by extraordinary evidence, I also believe strongly that to insist on absolute proof before believing in Christianity is simply obstinate. There is extraordinary evidence at the ready, but too many are unwilling to consider it properly.

There are many particular lines of evidence in favor of Christianity, but I will offer here one that occurred to me recently. A strategy of proof by negation. If the New Testament is an invention, it should be possible to come up with a coherent theory of its invention:

  • Who invented it (by writing it - one or more persons)
  • When it was invented (each book individually or all together)
  • Why it was invented
  • How or in what sequence it was invented
  • Where it was invented (each book individually or all together)

These proposals should account for and be consistent with every verse of the New Testament, every commentary on it, and every historical event relevant to Christianity. Personally, in trying this exercise, I cannot progress past the question of "when". I cannot even identify a suitable time when the New Testament could have been forged that remains consistent with even its own texts. The first century is too early, because survivors would easily debunk the radical claims; the second century is too late, because hostile historians clearly document Christian practices in the first century.

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  • "In ancient times, there were procedures for certifying a prophet" - JFYI, the usual means (which has biblical support, though I don't know the relevant passages offhand) is that genuine prophets carry "God's seal", i.e. a) their prophesies come true, and b) are accompanied by miracles. And you hit the nail on the head with the observation that those who don't accept Christianity are, by and large, doing so out of obstinance rather than reason.
    – Matthew
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 21:12
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    If the New Testament is an invention, it should be possible to come up with a coherent theory of its invention - Couldn't the same argument be applied to the Book of Mormon? Relevant question: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/83901/…
    – user50422
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 21:45
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator Indeed it may be, as well as to any other religious texts, and unlike the rest, the Bible is in striking contrast as having no clear and reasonable alternative explanation, other than perhaps some supernatural delusion. Other sacred texts seem to have easy alternate explanations. For instance, the Mormon texts were produced by a known con artist who benefited greatly from the work, as he could have reasoned he would. That doesn't prove its false, but it's easy to conceive of how and why that work was invented, unlike the Bible.
    – DKing
    Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 17:02
  • @DKing - you should read the rebuttals in the linked question above :-). Check out also this one: christianity.stackexchange.com/q/89274/50422
    – user50422
    Commented Sep 2, 2022 at 1:09
  • 1
    @DKing careful...if you reject Joseph Smith because he was accused of several crimes by people who had an axe to grind against him, imagine applying your standard to Peter, Paul, or even Jesus Himself, all of whom were convicted as criminals. Commented Sep 10, 2022 at 15:32
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A rational person could reach the conclusion that Christianity is "probably" true...However, is there any way for a rational person to reach the conclusion that Christianity is "definitely" true?

I submit that such a transition is, logically, entirely dependent upon the existence and reception of supernatural revelation.

Supernatural: of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe

The answer to “Does God exist?” has only two possibilities: yes or no. And the answer to that question is what it is no matter what any of us believe because that's how existence works: It's binary. Any particular thing either does or does not exist.

Starting with the definition that "God" truly transcends the material universe (that God is supernatural) and with the assumption that the material is ignorant of the supernatural except by some revelation, the honest atheist has no logical basis for claiming certainty of God's non-existence. Prominent atheist Richard Dawkins has said as much in his book The God Delusion:

“I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.”

The uncertainty comes because a non-existent thing cannot reveal it's non-existence absolutely. Now if we limit the parameters, for instance, “There is an Indian Elephant existing in my back left pants pocket.”, then the assertion breaks down and certain disproof is possible. However, since even the now famous Flying Spaghetti Monster is essentially non-disprovable, certainly something as transcendent as God (capital G) would be non-disprovable and would have to self-reveal for us to perceive.

In fact, we know virtually everything by revelation. Our environment reveals it's existence to us, is received through our senses, and patterns are processed in our minds (here is logic and science and all rational thought). If a blind man is severely hampered in his physical perception of physical revelation, how much more are physical beings hampered in their perception of the supernatural (if it exists).

  1. If God does not exist then all theists are wrong no matter how certain they appear (and indeed some of them might be nuts because this is not a logical certainty) and all atheists (again, the honest ones) are correct but unsure. A God that does not exist cannot reveal His non-existence and so the honest atheist and the honest theist must both remain uncertain. Incidentally, this is why there are probably only agnostics and theists.

  2. If God does exist then there are two possibilities: He has either revealed Himself or He hasn't.

  • If He hasn't revealed Himself then the atheist is wrong but must remain unsure for all the same reasons listed above, while theists make a correct claim all the while any certainty is illogical because no actual revelation has been given. Everything here is the same as above except for which party is unknowingly right and wrong. Keep in mind we are talking about the yes or no of God's existence and not the abounding variety of theologies about God.

  • If God has revealed Himself, there are two more possibilities: We either receive the revelation and think accordingly or we do not.

a) The atheist in this scenario operates apart from the revelation (if that is even possible) and he must, again, remain unsure. The person who has but rejects revelation would fall into a different category. This person does actually have ground for certainty but dislikes the implications and any claim at all has no logical ground.

b) The theist, however, now has logical ground for a claim of certainty. He might be making a false claim while actually in non-reception or rejection of revelation but...the theist might actually know for certain: It's logically possible.

And this is the foundational Christian claim:

He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. - John 3:33

There are those within "Christianity" who espouse uncertainty regarding the most basic tenets of theism. These will say that belief in God cannot ever attain certainty "this side of heaven" and they will say that if such certainty were possible then "faith" would be needless.

However, no one who has actually been born from above, who has actually been translated from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light and from death to life, and who has actually been given the holy spirit of promise all based upon the reception of the testimony of Jesus can be other than certain of at least the most basic things.

A Christian can logically be certain that God exists, loves them, and has forgiven them their sin in Christ Jesus for the simple reason that, when that revelation is received for what it is, the Godhead actually takes up residence within them:

At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. - John 14:20-23

According to strict logic such a Christian with such a claim of certainty is either likely insane or correct. According to Biblical revelation such a claim of certainty is to be expected:

If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: - 1 John 5:9-10a

The impartation of such certainty to another one is entirely based upon that one's reception of the same testimony. For the Christian this constitutes the entire necessity of preaching the gospel in word and in deed.

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Simple answer: How do you know anything at all that you know is true? Let's say I give you a statistical study that says "Alcohol causes liver problems", it is impossible for you to go and verify every part of the study to check it's validity, And the study itself may have some oversight that it is false.

It seems to me that whatever thing we think is true there is always an element of leap of faith we have in ourselves where we go from "probably true" to "definitely true". Having more confidence on something doesn't make it objective.

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  • 3
    You do not need to invoke a "leap of faith" to go from "probably true" to "definitely true" because you don't need to go to "definitely true" at all. It is perfectly fine, and, in fact, rational, to remain at "probably true" for any and all beliefs, with your confidence proportional to how strong the evidence is.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 13:28
  • @NotThatGuy - Would you consider the "inner witness of the Holy Spirit" as very strong (subjective) evidence? See reasonablefaith.org/media/reasonable-faith-podcast/…
    – user50422
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 14:06
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1 Corinthians 2:4-5 state "My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power."

When your faith rests on God rather than humans you will be certain. I speak this from experience, although I probably won't go into specifics here.

Additionally, the claims of the resurrection and the claims of creation are basically not probabilistic unless you really want to count 1/(10^500) or something like that as a genuine possibility. Jim Carrey comes to mind here.

I recommend Is Atheism Dead by Eric Metaxas and Cold Case Christianity by J Warner Wallace for evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt, but maybe you wouldn't consider it certainty.

Talk to God. He will prove Himself to you if you are ready to trust Him, although I can't speak to the timing or the manner in which He will do so. He's God. You have to submit to Him. He submits to us too, but you have to be ready to submit to some small degree if you want Him to play along.

When it comes to certainty, just as a point of logic, how do we know we aren't all in the Matrix?

-1

No, and they cannot

In order to prove this true, we need incontrovertible, falsifiable tests. These do not exist, even in science where you might think the rules are better understood. Your major requirements can be trivially shown to be impossible.

God exists

This needs us to observe the actions of something/someone which cannot be modelled with predictable rules. The "God of the gaps" situation has rather caused problems there, as we've achieved better observations and better rules.

Or it needs God to contact us. At which point we have the problem of identifying the entity as God or simply a more advanced organism, and we can't just take its word for it, or rely on "miracles" which may just be technology. See several Star Trek episodes for examples of this.

God intelligently designed the universe

In which case God isn't very intelligent. Just for one simple example, the human eye is a disaster area of incompetence. Octopi have eyes which are similar but are objectively better "designed" by not having the optic nerve doubling back through the retina. Reptiles have nictitating membranes which improve resilience to environmental factors.

God has a moral code for humanity

This is an interesting one, because the Abrahamic religions have a stunningly varied selection of moral codes to call on. The Old Testament does (eventually) give you the Ten Commandments, but it also gives a wide display of God not only disregarding those Ten Commandments himself, but also explicitly commanding his followers to disregard those Ten Commandments whenever it seems convenient. If you presume Jesus is the ultimate expression of that moral code, many of his teachings contradict God's previous actions and commands.

God may well have a moral code for humanity. But if he hasn't explicitly revealed it to humanity, then we're in the Kafka-esque situation of being judged by rules we don't know, and that's fundamentally immoral.

The resurrection of Jesus was a historical fact, as part of God's plan of salvation for humanity

We don't have the physical remains of many people from 2000 years ago, and where we do it's unusual that we know their names. So good luck with that one! Unless he's still alive, of course. Even if we only go back a few hundred years, it's common that we don't have all the historical facts for much better documented events. For example, we don't really know how Harold Godwinson lost the Battle of Hastings.

I could continue, but I think if you've taken out those basic pillars then the rest of the structure is a non-starter.

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  • 1
    and that's fundamentally immoral - according to what standard?
    – user50422
    Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 13:48
  • "the human eye is a disaster area of incompetence", oh, please, this is utter bull that has been thoroughly debunked. If we had "objectively better" octopus eyes, we'd be blind in anything but near-total darkness.
    – Matthew
    Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 14:03
  • This answer demonstrates a lack of knowledge about the Christian faith (knowledge of how God interacts with man, understanding of The Fall, about the nature of the Law and God's nature, or the historical account of the Crucifixion), and so it resorts to a series of strawmen and appeals to non-Christian dogma. It may already be accepted that from the perspective of a different belief system, Christianity, or any other belief system, may be considered incompatible. Therefore this post does not seem to answer the question asked, and provides little to this particular conversation.
    – DKing
    Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 17:22
  • If an entity claiming to be some particular god contacts us, we can't conclusively know that they are who they say they are, but at some point we'd have enough reason to conclude that they are who they claim to be.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Sep 2, 2022 at 9:27
  • Apologists frequently cite the complexity of the eye as evidence for intelligent design. They may have had a point (even though it does little to prove their particular religion), if it weren't for the fact that we have extensive evidence showing various stages of the evolution of eyes. There are plenty of other things that make perfect sense from an evolutionary standpoint, but it wouldn't make sense to create it as is (but I'm no biologist). But that doesn't mean that some god didn't set evolution in motion (which some Christians believe, but that makes the god hypothesis less necessary).
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Sep 2, 2022 at 9:38

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