Evidence for Christianity

‎”When I am collecting arguments for my case, I make it my practice not so much to count them as to weigh them.” – Cicero

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I’ve collected below what I believe to be a few of the “better” arguments for Christianity. This is by no means a complete list, but I hope it serves as a useful starting point. In many cases, I’ve provided links to articles, essays, and other sources for further reading (from this blog and elsewhere). Taken collectively, I believe this evidence – considered along with what God has revealed through Scripture – provides a compelling case for the Christian Faith.

1. Fine Tuning: There are a number of fundamental physical parameters (I discuss four of them HERE, and you can watch another cool example HERE) which fall within the exact range of values necessary for stars, planets, and life to exist. Theoretical physicist Lee Smolin has estimated the likelihood of this occurring randomly to be 1 in 10…to the 229th power. Most skeptics attempt to explain this phenomenon by hypothesizing a multiverse (which runs into issues with Occam’s razor, and actually creates an entirely new set of fine tuning questions) or by citing other variations of the anthropic principle. Since each of these alternative explanations ultimately appeal to non-falsifiable faith-based claims of their own, it can be compellingly argued that belief in a Creator provides the most elegant solution to the question of our universe’s existence. Read more HERE and HERE.

2. The Argument from Morality: This argument shows that God must exist in order to provide a rational foundation for objective moral values. My inaugural blog post actually addressed this topic (HERE). I also highly recommend this essay by William Lane Craig.

3. Religious Experience: Taken collectively, the sheer number of reported religious/supernatural experiences provide a reasonably strong argument for the existence of God. Specific cases are also supportive of Christianity in particular, but J.W. Wartick explains why it can be more difficult to defend these narrower claims.

4. Beauty and Nostalgia: The Christian narrative offers the best explanation for mankind’s appreciation of beauty and sense of nostalgia when beholding beauty.

5. The Historical Case for Christ’s Resurrection: Neil Shenvi’s outstanding essay on this subject can be read HERE (along with a response to common objections HERE). A 90-minute lecture from Dr. Craig can be viewed HERE. I also summarize the “Minimal Facts” approach from Dr. Gary Habermas HERE.

6. The Success of Mathematics: This could actually be considered one of several sub-variants of the Transcendental Argument. It addresses the question of why mathematics, developed by man, apparently coincides with the mathematical structure of nature. Read more HERE.

7. The Preservation of the Jewish People: This argument is probably best summarized by the following quote (most often attributed to Pascal, which would date it hundreds of years before well-known 20th-century attempts to eradicate the Jews): “[The Jewish people] are not eminent solely by their antiquity, but are also singular by their duration, which has always continued from their origin till now. For, whereas the nations of Greece and of Italy, of Lacedaemon, of Athens and of Rome, and others who came long after, have long since perished, these ever remain, and in spite of the endeavors of many powerful kings who have a hundred times tried to destroy them, as their historians testify, and as it is easy to conjecture from the natural order of things during so long a space of years, they have nevertheless been preserved (and this preservation has been foretold)”

8. Archaeological Evidence: Numerous archaeological discoveries support historical claims made by the Bible – claims which had previously been dismissed by mainstream historians as myth or legend.

9. Fulfilled Prophecy: Dr. John Bloom explains HERE how fulfilled prophecy lends credibility to the claims of Scripture. He specifically explores Ezekiel 26 in light of modern liberal skepticism. In THIS POST, I present Isaiah 53 as an example of fulfilled messianic prophecy, and contrast the Jewish and Christian interpretations of the passage.

10. The Emergence of the Early Church: The explosion of Christianity in the 1st century A.D. was contingent on a belief in the resurrection. Had the body of Jesus simply been produced, the movement would have been killed in its infancy. If the resurrection was a hoax or conspiracy, we must ask why the apostles were so willing to die for their beliefs. A common objection is that modern-day suicide bombers are ALSO willing to die for their beliefs…but this objection fails for one obvious reason. Unlike modern-day suicide bombers, the apostles – as alleged eyewitnesses of the risen Christ – were in a position to KNOW if the resurrection had actually occurred. Why would all of these men endure torture, persecution, and martyrdom for a claim they knew to be false?

11. Jesus: It’s been said that Jesus, himself, is the most persuasive case for Christianity. Assuming one has already read the New Testament, I would strongly recommend C.S. Lewis’s “Liar, Lunatic or Lord” argument.

Finally, to bring everything together, I want to recommend Neil Shenvi’s essay on Faith, Doubt and Certainty.

[Note: I’ll probably be adding to this page over the coming months and years. In the meantime, I’m open to comments and feedback.]

26 thoughts on “Evidence for Christianity

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    • I’m glad you mentioned these. I need to do some reading first, but I’ll likely add them in the next few weeks. 🙂

  2. Ok, didn’t have much time earlier so here goes: St Thomas Aquinas wrote “the 5 arguments for the existence of God” based on a combination of philosophy (mostly Aristotle), physics, metaphysics, observation of the natural world and rational speculation (good old reason).
    1. Motion- nothing can move by itself, each thing or being has to be moved by something else, this “Unmoved Mover” is God.
    2. Efficient Cause- there is a sequence of causes that make up the Universe, we can’t go back in time to a time when nothing existed because that would lead to a time (now) when nothing existed and obviously stuff exists cause here we are….. Existing! A first thing must exist or nothing exists, we call that first Efficient Cause God.
    3. Necessary Being-we are contingent beings as are all things in nature. There was a time I did not exist and there will come a time I will not exist ( at least in the temporal order). All existing things depend upon other things for their existence, therefore Some Being must exist of its own necessity, a Being on which all other beings are contingent, we call that Being “God”
    4.Gradation-some things in nature are considered “good”, some “bad”, we compare qualities in degrees and there must be a reference for goodness and beauty and truth and perfection. That reference is God.
    5. Intelligent Design (my personal favorite)- all beings work toward a good even if they don’t cognitively understand,such as a bee who pollinates flowers and goes to beehive to make honey etc, it is not by chance that all bees know how to do that. Similarly, the Pieta is not just a piece of rock that randomly took the shape of a grieving Madonna holding her dead son, an intelligent creator, Michaelangelo, chiseled the stone in that shape, it’s ridiculous to think it could happen any other way. Therefore, the intricate design of all things in the natural order implies a Divine Architect, we call him God.
    And if none of that helps in understanding proof of God, just watch a baby be born or a sunset or stand by the ocean……. Sometimes the answer is wonder. And if course it wouldn’t really be faith if we could perfectly prove every answer, it’s just trust and hope and surrender.

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  5. I can see that you and I are diametrically opposed, with regard to religion. However, I respect that you’re presenting arguments and from what I understand, you’re at least open to cordial debates. I am more than familiar with these arguments and believe both of us can learn a thing or two from one another. I’ll review some of your posts and respond with my own. That is, if you’re interested. Cheers!

    • Great! Give me some time as I’m working on some other projects. However, I already have an Ontological Argument started, so if you have a post, I can reference that when I publish. My refutation is specific to Anselm and William Lane Craig. Let me know!

    • I actually don’t have any posts on the Ontological Argument, but thanks for asking. 🙂

      I personally have a much stronger background in the natural sciences than I do in philosophy, which is part of why I left the O.A. off this list. I don’t feel entirely qualified to defend or reject it, and I generally try to limit myself to areas that I’m at least *somewhat* competent in.

      So I would definitely be interested in reading your response, when you finish.

    • Fair enough, Matt! I’ll bump it up the list. I’ll also select one of your articles and then we can move from there. That seems reasonable considering you’ve already done the work. 🙂

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  8. First off, I’m Christian and I appreciate your comments. But I have a minor issue with the premise of this article. I think the evidence Jesus Christ Himself would want people Christian, and non-Christian to see of Him and His redeeming Grace will be based off of Faith and witnesses of HIm from the Holy Ghost. That which is tangible doesn’t produce lasting faith which leadeth to salvation (Hebrews 11:3 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.). A firm testimony of Jesus Christ and His divinity that will last through the ages and through torture and death, will only be brought by witnesses from the Holy Ghost as an individual repents, puts their Faith in Christ, and strives to be obedient in following Him. As an individual does this, the evidence of Christ will be manifest in the individual as they see the Grace of Christ change and transform themselves. This is why the Apostles and early Saints endured through so much persecution because their hearts had changed and every being of their body knew beyond any doubt that Jesus is the Christ and that He Lives. It was never based off of science nor would it ever be. The evidence of Christianity is founded in Christ himself and his redeeming power to change us human beings from our fallen state.

    Christians, can look to science, philosophy, and logic all they want for evidence of what we deem to be TRUTH, but for me the evidence of my Faith as a Christian has been manifest to me as I’ve felt the redeeming love of my Savior and felt the burden of sin being lifted off my shoulders as the Lord has forgiven me as I’ve sought to repent and follow Him. Nothing can persuade me otherwise because I know what I’ve felt and feel. I cannot deny it. I’ve felt the Holy Ghost on multiple occasions in personal prayer and scripture study bear witness of Christ’s very reality. The same way those that listened to Peter and the early Apostles felt the Holy Ghost as the Apostles bore witness of the resurrection of Christ and then chose to forsake their former life’s and follow Christ. Atheists may not like this argument, because it doesn’t provide something tangible they can hold. But I KNOW what I’ve felt, I KNOW the changes I’ve seen in myself and the lives of thousands of others and an Athiest can never argue against that, unless they try it themselves. That’s the invitation I provide to atheists, and those not of our Faith, and even within our Faith. This is the invitation of the entire New Testament. To repent, have Faith, and follow Christ. Just my thoughts…

    • Apologetics is meant to work alongside the witness of the Holy Ghost.

      The entirety of apologetics, or arguing for God, can be summed up in the idea that, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). This seems to apply directly to the non-believer as opposed to the Christian. But it can be a great help to the believer in understanding God. We are called to “test the spirits” and see if they are from God or Satan. You cannot test the spirits with feeling, but with reasoning with scriptures.

      These arguments for God’s existence, and more centered, the arguments that this God is indeed the God of the Jews and Christians, are necessary for many reasons, mainly that we may, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling…” (Phl 2:12). Working out our salvation should require quite a good deal of soul searching. If done to its entirety, a few conclusions arise from scripture and observations of our world (neither of which disagree with the other). We see that (1) we are so small and God is so big, (2) even though we are so small, God has made us to play a main roll (even above the angles) in reflecting God’s glory to all creation, and (3) we see that in the end, its really all about God and his glory. Continued reflection on scripture and life only servers to deepen these core ideas of Christianity, as it did with the early church fathers, many of whom became the predecessors to modern science and philosophy.

      And finally, to go back to the first point that applied to unbelievers, all of this should work towards reaching new people, who will in turn glorify God willingly.
      “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3:15-16

      For this reason, Paul, when he arrived at Athens, was key to reasoning with them when he said:
      “For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.” Acts 17:23
      I find it interesting, that rather than beginning by preaching salvation through Christ, and praying for them to receive the Holy Spirit, he instead reasoned with them about the true God they did not know first.

      All of this reasoning really works in hand with the Spirit of God to bring about His purposes:
      “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” Rom 10:14

      So we begin to see a picture of salvation that very often looks like this:
      (1) Proclamation of God and his existence.
      (2) The working and pulling of the Holy Spirit on a person’s conscience.
      (3) Calling on the name of God and believing, at the same time receiving the Spirit of God, the very existence of God, to live with us and in us throughout the rest of our lives, and living with Him in eternity after.
      (4) Living the remainder of our life on this Earth as a search for knowing God more, never truly getting enough.

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  10. Typically I can’t read write-up with weblogs, but I want to state that the following write-up quite forced us to see plus implement it! The way with words have been surprised me. Many thanks, very excellent post.

  11. My favorite argument for Christianity is the genealogies from the kings of Europe to Noah. (After the Flood by Bill Cooper is free online.) If Noah was a real man, you’re already half way to Jesus, whose lineage was mapped to Noah in Luke 3 and sort-of Mt. 1.

  12. Let’s start at the beginning, the argument, in a short form, goes like this, correct me, if I am wrong:

    “The universe with us in it is very unlikely. Thus it is almost impossible without someone creating it.”

    First of all, the most simple answer is: So what? Being unlikely doesn’t make it really impossible. We could already stop here, but of course, there is much more.

    You postulate that a creator is an elegant solution, but there is one problem with that: This creator has to have very specific attributes. He must be able to create a universe. He must want to create exactly(!) this universe, etc.etc.. If the creator would prefer thinking birds, then, well bad luck for humanity, welcome civilization of intelligent pigeons. So, I think you can guess where this is going… The chances for this creator to exist are not automatically better than the chances for the universe itself. You are just moving the question of “How unlikely is the universe” to “How unlikely is the creator”. Were your argument valid, we would now have to assume that such a creator was to unlikely to exist and thus, a creator-creator has to exist. And… Well, you see where this is going.

    Anyway, one problem of the argument is also, that you don’t have any clue about the possibilities. The universe could, for some reason we simply don’t understand yet, be the only POSSIBLE universe. Or it could be a one in three chance. Because quite simply, that there exist a theoretical number of permutations doesn’t imply that all these permutations are actually possible. We don’t know to what extent all these factors can be varied or not. You already mentioned the possibility of a multiverse (which is effectively “no matter how unlikely winning the lottery is, if enough people play, someone WILL win”) and anthropic principle, so I won’t repeat them.

    So, the conclusion is simple: We don’t know. But from this you cannot make a valid argument for god, sorry. In the end, “We don’t know” is the only valid answer we can offer. We cannot claim that there has to be a multiverse and we cannot claim that there has to be a god. We don’t know. This argument for god or anything else simply doesn’t work and as I have written, claiming that a creator is the most elegant solution is simply not true, because it shifts the question for fine-tuning to the creator instead of solving it. So, this argument is not quite compelling, sorry.

  13. The 2nd argument is even more easy, as for it be even valid, would require that there actually ARE objective moral values. As nobody was able to prove that yet, it isn’t quite compelling. Even Christians among themselves aren’t able to agree on which rules are now the right ones, making the argument for the existence of objective moral values even harder.

  14. Probably the best book I have read that was most convincing for me was “The Resurrection of Jesus, A New Historiographical Approach” by Michael R. Licona. It has raving reviews, even from those who disagree with its conclusion. I would recommend to anyone of any belief.

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