Faith is not a leap in the dark, it is consistent with logic, and based on an abundance of evidence and justified by the experience of many. Any belief must be both true and justified. Hence, the question, Is the belief in God logically Justifiable?
One of the crucial questions that we ask is: where does knowledge come? Many philosophers have supposed that knowledge comes through reason. Thus, humans can reason, and, therefore, have the power to know. Conversely, other philosophers have contended that humans only become knowledgeable when they experience life situations, such as watching a movie or playing an instrument. These philosophers insist that man can only learn when he experiences life through his senses.
Further, there is a theologically-driven concept of knowledge, which suggests that knowledge is a God-given condition. This suggestion pertains to divine revelation and tends to blur the line between belief and knowledge since there are many different religions. To further clarify, today’s presentation will be focusing on the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible.
To begin to attempt to answer the question, Is God Justifiable? The presentation will look through three main conditions, which are Truth, Belief, and Justification.
What is the truth, and how can we know if something is true? Truth occurs when false propositions cannot be discerned. In other words, for something to be considered as knowledge, it must be valid. Also, the truth must originate from reliable sources and based on fidelity to the standard. For example, a lie cannot be the truth because it is not factual and false. For something to be true, it must be consistent logically; that is, it must make sense at least common sense.
That leads to the question, is Life a Purposeful design or Mindless process?
It is common sense to assume that there must be intelligent design behind the complexity of nature, life, and the Universe (and if you wish, the multiverse). If there is a design, there has to be a designer.
For centuries, humanity, through science, has tried to solve the puzzle of nature. Be it the laws of physics, evolution, or the mind-boggling complexity of the biological processes responsible for the complicated existence of life on earth. The Universe reverberates with facts that there is a cosmic code responsible for the creation of the Universe.
The earth is right where it should be to sustain life, such as ours here on earth. Not too close the sun, so that it fries, or too far so that it freezes. The moon so happens to be just the right shade and size to give the perfect tides and seasons to support life on earth. It appears as if the Universe knew we are coming, and so it was well-fashioned like the work of an intelligent being who knows what He is doing.
We, humans are the only creatures on earth with the ability to control and shape our destiny. As simple as that may sound, yet that is the very thing that gives us purpose and meaning in life. We are not mere animals but unique creatures made by God in His image. It makes common sense to wonder if our complexity is an expression of Mother Nature itself – whom the Bible calls God.
In the first book of the Bible, Genesis 1, it says, in the beginning – before time as we have it began – God, Jehovah, created the Universe (the heaves and the earth). God, revealing Himself to His creations, proving that He is not an impersonal force or detached first cause, but a loving, merciful God, powerful enough to create the Universe but accessible enough to become part of (its history) His creation in the person of Jesus Christ.
For this very reason, His words are different from all others. These are words that give us more than blind rules to follow but provide instead, loving instructions on how to live life to the fullest.
He said to humanity, be fruitful, multiply and dominate the creation so that we can share in His beautiful nature as an intelligent being and creator. He was the first to hint us that we are not in the same class with the rest of the animals because He said we ought to dominate everything else created except ourselves.
Well, one may say, that makes sense, but what is the proof, or the empirical analysis to support such a notion. One can argue that psychological factors, such as prejudice, desire, emotional need, and bias, are still the basis of these notions. Well, to resolve that, we will turn to history.
No man questions the authenticity of the source of the Bible. The original Dead Sea scroll has passed every archeological test to establish itself as a reliable source of information on the past we did not know.
As we have established, when sources of belief, such as memory, reason, and testimony, are reliable, they are forms of knowledge. An individual’s common sense is real, and if such an individual is truthful to himself, then his common sense tells him the truth. That truth is authentic to him as long as he does not dismiss the validity because that would mean to deny one’s very own existence.
Nevertheless, God did not leave us to speculate for the rest of our lives; He reveals himself through ancient history as recorded in Jewish history and experience. We find the material of proof for belief in God in the stories of the acts of God in the Old Testament of the Bible, where He pulled the curtains of the heavens and showed himself in visible form. And the eventual and final revelation of Himself in the person of Jesus Christ as God in human form. Upon resurrection, Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples to provide them with evidence of their belief of which they painstakingly documented for those of us who were not there.
The substance and evidence of the material we find in the Bible as a reliable source of history is substantial material upon which to base our belief.
So now, we have truth and belief, but we are still missing the third ingredient to crown this jewel of knowledge. A notion is justified when a person has evidence to support his or her claim. When you take a look at the world around us, one will see how Christianity, when in it is in the purest form, has transformed and shaped our world and has stirred the course of civilization. Belief in the God of the Bible stirred many believers to navigate the most significant challenges. Informed and armed by its truths, many have fought for freedom, truth, and justice. The desire for freedom from oppression founded our nation America. Our founding fathers knew that all men ought to be free. The Bible taught them that freedom is the will of God.
Missionaries were inspired by the scripture to risk their lives. They took the good news of freedom and liberation from the elements of nature and man to the remote parts of Africa, Asia, the Native American lands, and the Amazonian Jungle. Men established centers of learning from which we have men like Sir Isaac Newton, Albeit Einstein, Corpernicus, Galileo, and the list goes on and on.
Indeed, as the Apostle John wrote in John 1:1-6
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him, all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the civilization of all humanity. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
John 1:1-5 NIV
Time will not permit to write about Mother Theresa. The catholic nun, whose devotion to God led her to dedicate her life to caring for the destitute and dying in the slums of Calcutta. She looked after abandoned babies and helped the poorest of the poor, and when asked: what is the point in trying to keep them alive? she said: “they lived like animals, but now they die like angels.” In 1979, she received the Nobel Peace Prize.
Mary Slessor, a devoted missionary in the late 1800s to early 1900s, with nearly 40 years dedicated to the nation of Nigeria. She transformed whole communities with the love of the Gospel and started orphanages. Mary spoke boldly about her faith. She stood up for women’s rights and saving innocent twin babies from the barbaric acts of Twin Killings in Calabar, Nigeria.
Today, hospitals, schools, orphanages, and churches all stand because of the impact left by the likes of Mary Slessor and all the unmentioned believers in this reality in our world. The world could not be as it were today if it were not that God revealed himself and inspired men and women to tell the truth. These have led to the establishment of a thriving society and democracy as we have it.
To close, it is worth reading an account in Bible history found in the Book of Hebrews 11:32-40
“How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories (should I say histories) of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith, these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were cut in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.”
Hebrews 11:32-40 NLT
How do we distinguish Christianity from other religions?
No other book or faith or hopes or aspiration carries such impact and power it has to transform the human soul, to change men’s hearts and not their acts. It is not a behavioral modification, but the spiritual transformation of a man into an entirely new being such that man is not merely reformed but transformed like a caterpillar is wholly transformed into a new creature, the butterfly.
Christianity requires a revelation from God. To be saved, one must have the truth revealed to him personally. Jesus taught His disciples that true knowledge comes from God in heaven (See Matthew 16: 17).