Sunday, October 12, 2008

Following the Evidence...

"Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him."

- Psalm 34: 8 (NIV)

"'Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.'"

- John 14: 10-12

"In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead. When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, 'We want to hear you again on this subject.'"

- Acts 17: 30-32

Peace and blessings,

Aside from
  • Heroes,
  • my favorite show on television is CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (the Las Vegas team). In fact, CSI has been my favorite show since my undergraduate years, long before "Heroes" entered the television scene. Among the many things I like about the show (e.g., the fact that everyone has a distinct, yet inter-related role to play in the collective whole, the various depictions of man's inhumanity to man, etc.), the bedrock of the show has to do with the high value the team gives to evidence in their relentless search for the truth.

    Typically the idea is that everything is guided by evidence, therefore regardless of how good an idea sounds or how plausible a theory appears to be, the final arbiter of truth is the evidence. It determines who did what, with whom, where, when, how, and why. Of course there are those rare occasions when "the evidence doesn't add up," and cannot provide the full answer to a particular questions (there have been episodes when this has been the case). Despite these rarities, however, the general consensus among the team is that the best path to take in the pursuit of truth is the one that follows the evidence.

    In my opinion, one of the prevailing misconceptions about Christianity is that to have faith in Christ means to believe "all things Jesus" just because the bible says so, or because someone was told that they have to if they want to go to heaven. Even those who can clearly and cogently defend their faith in Christ are at times perceived as crazy, irrational, and close-mined. Even as a Christian, there were times when I held similar views. How much of this "Christian stuff" is really valid? Do I truly understand why I believe what I believe, or is my "assurance" just a cover for what it really is: speculation with conviction? Furthermore, does being a Christian mean that my relationship to the truth is devoid of evidence as it is used in non-Christian contexts?

    Thankfully, God has and continues to work with me as I pose these questions from time to time. Through speaking to me personally and through other people and life experiences, God has provided me with answers to these questions that I needed to hear. One of the more recent answers came from a sermon I heard by Bruxy Cavey of the
  • Meeting House.
  • While talking about the misconceptions that atheists and Christians have about each other, he used the example of Doubting Thomas to illuminate a misconception that atheists often have about Christians: that to be a Christian is to not value evidence. He said that Jesus' decision to ask Thomas to touch him so that Thomas would believe is not only proof that Jesus Himself was not against the use of evidence, but that evidence has a role in Christians' pursuit of truth. We believe not because faith is what's left when evidence is lacking, but because our faith is a result of us getting our "CSI" on and following the evidence. Whether it's the works of God (as the above scriptures refer to), present day miracles, prophet dreams, fate encounters, unexplainable coincidences, answered prayers, physical, mental, and emotional healing, or seeing the bible coming alive thousands of years later, the evidence is abundant for the believer.

    As Bruxy noted, Jesus could have responded to Thomas' "I have to see dude to believe he's alive" orientation by rebuking him for not believing, but he didn't (although he did bless those who believe without seeing Him physically). He have Thomas the evidence he needed, and allowed Thomas to follow the evidence to his own conclusions. Regardless of what type of evidence we may need (e.g., physical, spiritual, relational, mental, financial, etc.) God is faithful to meet us where we're at. I encourage everyone who may be unsure about this God thing to ask Him to provide you with the evidence you need to believe in Him, and then follow where it leads...

    What do you think? For Christians: What is your evidence that Jesus Christ is Lord in your life? For non-Christians: What type of evidence would have you consider/seek God more? Take care, stay blessed, and speekonit...

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