Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the certainty of things not seen. Some people approach faith blindly. They presume faith has no real basis in evidence, it’s just a feeling. But faith is so much more than a feeling. And the faith the Bible calls for is certainly not blind. You can see in Hebrews 11:1 that the Bible is calling for faith built upon assurance and certainty. Where do we find that assurance and certainty? We find it when we look for the evidence. Faith built on evidence will be able to withstand all of the cultural attacks we face in the classroom and the workplace. So, let’s explore how faith can be built on evidence.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Many years ago, I sat on a jury. It was a long week. I won’t go into the details of the trial, but I can tell you it was a criminal trial. One of the interesting things I observed as part of this process, was the expectation that some of my fellow jurors had about the evidence.
You know that the job of the juror is to listen to all of witnesses, consider all of the evidence and then make a decision. The prosecution must convince the jury that there is no other reasonable explanation that can come from the evidence presented at trial. In other words, the jury must be virtually certain of the defendant’s guilt in order to render a guilty verdict. Jurors must make conclusions about evidence presented that would be logical by reasonable people in light of their experience in life.
Our job as jurors was to listen to the evidence, make reasonable conclusions about that evidence, and decide if the evidence led us to be virtually certain of a verdict. Now, here was the interesting thing about some of the jurors. Several of them had a hard time doing this. I kid you not, they wanted a video of the crime. Which brought some levity to the room when it was suggested. Yes, they said out loud, “Why can’t this be like TV where we see a video of the crime?!”
Following Evidence in Everyday Life
I tell you this story because, even if you’ve never served on a jury, you are familiar with this process. You follow evidence in your life daily and make important decisions. We make reasonable conclusions in light of life experience all of the time. You may not be 100% sure, but there is enough certainty to move forward. Take for instance all of the times you approach a green light at an intersection. It is reasonable to expect that drivers to your left and right will stop at their red light. So, you proceed through your green light because you are virtually sure they won’t plow into you. My point, we are very familiar with making these types of decisions. We are comfortable with this process.
How Much Evidence Does It Take To Believe?
So, how much evidence does it take to believe in Jesus? Do we have problems with those two terms, reasonable and virtually certain when it comes to believing that Jesus is the Son of God? Some people will blindly believe because Christianity was the tradition at home. That’s not the best approach and I expect that’s why we are seeing so many young adults leave Christianity. If evidence is overlooked or ignored you can’t really make a reasonable decision. Then there is the other end of the spectrum, where people are looking for the video. They want to be 100% certain before they will believe. These folks have a problem being virtually certain. They are unwilling to make a decision until ALL of their questions are answered.
The gospel writers encourage us to look at the evidence. They don’t want us to blindly follow, because they know the stakes are too high for that. Remember, many early believers were martyred because they wouldn’t recant their faith. That’s the kind of faith that we all want, and the kind that keeps young adults from turning away from Christianity when they go off on their own.
We must learn to make reasonable conclusions, based on the evidence we have been given, so that we can be virtually certain of Jesus. We don’t have the video, so we have to use our brains! And we may need to be ok with a few minor questions remaining.
Take Time To Examine The Evidence
It is a worthwhile endeavor to take the time to examine the evidence we have regarding Jesus. The effort you make will establish strong faith roots that will keep you grounded in times of cultural shift. And to be sure, if you are serious about equipping your children with strong faith roots, this is the place to start. There are a variety of ways to go about this.
You can take the DIY approach. Make it your new years resolution to read through the gospels with your children. Have pen and paper in hand as you sift through all of the evidence. Some of this evidence will include:
- Eye-witnesses, people who actually knew and interacted with Jesus.
- Miracles and signs that speak to Jesus’ authority over natural processes and our world.
- Old Testament prophecies fulfilled.
- Claims that Jesus made about himself.
All of these are pieces of evidence that will come together to help you and your children make reasonable conclusions. And you’ll both come out of the experience knowing why you believe and being able to articulate that to others. You’ll have a faith built on evidence. That’s the DIY version.
But if you feel you need a little help, I’ve found a great resource for you and your children!
If you are little intimidated ty the DIY version, then I would encourage you to check out Forensic Faith and Forensic Faith for Kids by J. Warner Wallace. Wallace is a retired homicide detective who, as an atheist, decided to approach the claims about Jesus using the skills he had acquired as a cold-case detective. The result? He came to believe in Jesus because the evidence was overwhelming. He came to a reasonable conclusion based on the evidence and came to the point where he was virtually certain that Jesus not only existed historically, but really is the Son of God. That’s pretty amazing, no blind faith here! And that’s how our children are going to need to think in order to withstand the cultural shifts taking place today. You are going to love reading the adult version and your children will enjoy the kid’s version. The children’s version has some companion materials online that help guide them through scripture as they solve the Jesus case. You’ll want to take advantage of these free resources to help them in their investigation, click the Academy button below to access the free files. Your children will graduate the Cadet Academy with a faith built on evidence, along with thinking skills that will serve them well in live in general.
And here are links to the adult and childrens versions.
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