What unique evidence is there for your religion or worldview? Can you prove that what you say is true?

Hindu View

The Hindu Perspective

In our tradition pramana (evidence) is divided into several categories. The first and most important is revealed truth which comes to us in the form of sastra pramana (evidence from the revealed scriptures). Two other categories of evidence which are important as support to the first are called pratyaksha (experiential knowledge) and anumana (logical inference).

Because God is beyond the ability of the mind and intellect and is also not directly percieved by the senses our only hope of knowing him is if he chooses to reveal himself to us.

One can look at historical evidence, forensic evidence and other types of empirical evidence to try to verify claims made in sastra. This is a good exercise and will yield some helpful knowledge, but it will not prove all that is said in sastra.

Also, after having read the sastra and contemplated it's meaning a person can reflect on it and their own life experience and make some judgement as to the legitimacy of what is said in sastra. But that also will not prove everything that is said in sastra. It will convince most honest persons that there is some truth in sastra, but they will not be convinced by such an exercise that everything in sastra is true. Nor will the mere conviction that it is true actually directly yield spiritual vision.

Krsna gives an answer to Arjuna in Bhagavad-gita which is the perfect answer to this question. Arjuna has just been shown the universal form of God and asked to see him again in his original two armed form. Krsna explains to Arjuna that he cannot be seen (understand here proven) by study of the sastra, by penance, by austerity nor by charity. He says he can only seen seen as he is standing before Arjuna by those whose eyes are smeared with the salve of love. Only unto those who have uninterupted and unmotivated love and service to him does he reveal himself.

That brings up an intersting question. How can a person devote themselves 100% to loving service to Krsna is they don't know him? The answer is that a person can get a glimpse of who Krsna is from sastra and from their own intuition and life experience. That glimpse can grow by taking up practices recommended in sastra. As a persons vision becomes clearer they become more and more dedicated and faithful, eventually they will become a fully surrendered devotee. The process is gradual and depends on the sincerity and inner necessity of the practicioner.

Here is a mundane example to illustrate what I am talking about. Let's say someone tells you that they have buried a million dollars. They tell you the exact coordinates of the burial site and how deep the treasure if buried. They, for whatever reason, have no use for the treasure and you are free to uncover it. From such a description you will not know that there is indeed a treasure there. Based on the credibility of the individual (according to your judgement) and your necessity for the treasure you may decide to investigate. If you follow the persons instructions you will eventually know. But first you must have some faith or some necessity that drives you to action. Without that the treasure will be just an idea. In the same way sastra tells us all of the greatest treasure and how to uncover it. According to our judgement of the credibility of sastra and our inner necessity for such a divine treasure, we will act according to the instructions of sastra to uncover our treasure or that treasure will forever remain a mental construct with no verified proof of it's existence.

The proof of the pudding is in the tasting and likewise, the proof that Krsna is God and that you have a unique relationship with him can only be had by devotional service to him, by following the dictates of sastra.

In this age the process Krsna has recommended for finding the proof in your own conscious experience is the chanting of his holy names. By recitation of the holy name of God with sincerity and earnest yearning one will gain some inner experience and will find all the proof they need.

Hindu view Christian view

Christian View

The Christian Perspective

In the words of the late Greg Bahnsen, the most basic proof of Christianity is that if it were not true, it would be impossible to prove anything at all.

If the non-Christian worldview is true, the laws of logic are not valid. Therefore, even though non-Christians use logic to interpret evidence, they have no real justification for doing so. In the non-Christian worldview, logic is not something that can be trusted.

Christians alone do have a basis for recognizing that the law of non-contradiction applies everywhere and at every time, past, present and future. Our basis is the character of our God.

According to the Bible, the Creator of all things is consistently logical. He cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18, Titus 1:2) and He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13).

Further, all truth and knowledge is in Christ (Colossians 2:3), who is God (John 1:1), and who created all things (John 1:3).

As Christians we know that all things have been created by One who is consistently logical, and therefore the laws of logic are both universal and invariant. Because He holds the keys to all knowledge, we also know that logical knowledge is possible.

Christianity, as we see, has grounds for trusting logic -- for claiming that the laws of logic are always true, a claim that other worldviews have no basis for making.

An easy way to demonstrate this latter point, that non-Christian worldviews deny the validity of the laws of logic, is to begin at the beginning.


TIME BEGAN

We see that time past has ended. To avoid infinite regress, we must acknowledge that it also began.

Infinite regress is logically incoherent. To suggest that there have been an infinite regress of past moments is to suggest that we have come to the end of an infinite series. An infinite series, however, is by definition a series with no end. So this would mean that we have come to the end of a series with no end, which is logically incoherent.

Infinite regress would mean that we have iterated, one-by-one, through every single item of an infinite series. But an infinite series always has more items than those that have been iterated through. We would have iterated through something that cannot be iterated through, which is logically incoherent.

If we were to go backwards through each previous moment in past time, and there were an infinite number of past moments, there would necessarily be some moment in the set of previous moments that we would never, ever get to. If that were not the case, it would not be infinite. If there is some supposed prior moment in the set of previous moments that we could never get to while iterating backwards through all previous moments, then, iterating forward from that moment to the present moment, we would never arrive at the present moment for the same reason that going backwards we could never arrive at the previous moment -- namely, the infinite (or unending) number of moments in between the two.

Infinite regress would mean that we have completed something that cannot be completed. We have traversed something that cannot be traversed. We have itemized what cannot be itemized, counted what cannot be counted, spanned what cannot be spanned.

Infinite regress violates the logical law of non-contradiction.

So we quickly see that Time Past is not infinite, and must therefore have been finite.


THE BEGINNING WAS CAUSED

To suggest that time began uncaused, or anything beginning uncaused for that matter, is absurd... it is the same as suggesting that having nothing and adding nothing to it, something results, or in other words:

0 + 0 > 0

I like to refer to this kind of thinking as "Atheist Math". In Atheist Math, zero is not equal to zero, violating the logical law of Identity.

Ultimately, there is some kind of cause of time, and to again avoid infinite regress, there must be an ultimate First Cause of time.


THE CAUSE IS ETERNAL

If the cause of time were somehow temporal, it would require the passing of time to exist, making what's known as a circular dependency, another type of infinite regress, which violates the logical law of non-contradiction.

Therefore, being not bound by time, it is, by definition, eternal (Deuteronomy 33:27).

Since it is outside of time, it does not inherently change over time, which means its inherent qualities are unchanging (Malachi 3:6).


THE CAUSE IS PERSONAL AND RATIONAL

Since it is the First Cause, it must be uncaused.

Since it is the uncaused first cause, it is self-directed and self-motivated and acted volitionally, which, simply by definition, makes it personal (Job 13:8). If it were not personal, it would not be capable of self-directed, self-motivated, volitional action, preventing it from being the First Cause. It would be the First Cause and not be the First Cause, violating the logical law of non-contradiction.

Further, if the cause of our beliefs and conclusions were not rational, there would be no reason for claiming that our own beliefs or conclusions are rationally determined. Every thought we have would be irrational without a rational God!


ATHEISM THUS INCOHERENT

Thus, a personal, unchanging and eternal uncaused First Cause clearly exists because of the logical impossibility of the contrary. This rules out all possibility of Atheism, Agnosticism, Ignosticism, and any worldview that claims that past time has been infinite, or that the Divine Initiator is temporal.

Every temporal action or activity has to have a personal, uncaused First Cause ultimately behind it, from the movement of light away from the sun, to the decision to share your last chocolaty caramel Rollo with the person you love, to our very recognition of right and wrong. Any event that takes time had to begin, since time itself began, and if that event began, then it must have been caused, and if it was caused, then there must ultimately be a personal uncaused First Cause behind it.


POLYTHEISM INCOHERENT

What's more, if there are multiple personal uncaused First Causes, multiple ultimate authorities, there would be no single source of authority. This means that no one could actually justifiably guarantee how things will operate in the created realm. One god may contradict another god, and then things that truly are... may not be! There would be no way for either god to guarantee that this will never happen, making non-contradiction an unreasonable test of truth. This would again render knowledge of any kind absolutely impossible.


UNITARIANISM INCOHERENT

Further, regarding this one God that must exist, since He alone is the source of all things in order for rational thought to be possible, it follows that He alone is also the reason for all things. For us to think rationally, our programmer must also be rational (and eternally so), meaning that He Himself must eternally conceive of Himself as His own ultimate reason for everything that occurs. This conception of Himself will eternally be the exact representation of Himself, sharing divine sovereignty, since this conception is the reason for everything that occurs. This demands that deity be shared between the conceiver and that which is conceived, between God and God's image. Unitarianism denies that deity is shared in any sense, making any imagined unitarian god irrational.


WE DON'T DO WHAT WE OUGHT

We are each keenly aware that this unified personal ultimate authority, or "God", has caused us to have a guiding sense of moral justice which we call our conscience, and we are also aware that we are unable to perfectly obey it.

Man's disobedience to the ultimate authority serves as a foundational problem resulting in the establishment of essentially every religion.

However, non-Christian religions tell us that the solution is that we must do better -- that we must be perfect -- that we must fix the problem of sin.


WE ARE IN DEBT

God has provided us with time in this life during which we ought to obey the moral code He gave us. If any amount of time is spent in disobedience, we have spent that time in a way other than we should have. Since the time was provided to us by the God that also informed us of how we should use it, and since we have not used it all as we ought, to right this wrong, additional time must now be spent the way the wasted time ought to have been spent.

Among other things, we owe God time.


WE CAN'T FIX THE PROBLEM

We cannot create additional time for ourselves. Any time we have was provided to us by God to be used in obedience to Him. Any more time that God gives us will only increase our debt to Him, and, since the ultimate authority is absolutely united, there is no other way for us to get extra time.

Suggesting that we can pay back our debt of time in submission to our Creator "on our own" is really no different than suggesting that we should borrow from our lender to pay him back for money we borrowed from him earlier. The debt would never get paid that way.


ALL REMAINING WORLDVIEWS INCOHERENT

To claim that we can pay off a debt to our Creator is to claim that we own something that He has no authority over. But we have already established, via the necessary perfect unity of all Personal First Causes, that absolutely everything we own comes from Him, and that He has authority over all of it.

Thus, to suggest we can pay Him back for what we have misused is to suggest that the One in authority over everything is not in authority over everything. This again violates the logical law of non-contradiction, disqualifying all remaining worldviews.

Christianity, by contrast, tells us the only possible truth -- that we aren't in charge, and we can't be perfect: we can't fix the problem of sin.


GOD CAN FIX THE PROBLEM

However, self-evidently, the unified One in ultimate authority can fix the problem. (Mark 10:26-27)

In fact, He has.


ONLY CHRISTIANITY

Only Christianity tells us about the God who loves us so much that He took our penalty on His shoulders -- it tells us that, in addition to the Son's eternal and perfect obedience to the Father in our place, He also shed His own blood on the cross to pay the debt of our sin, provided we accept His free gift (Romans 6:23; John 3:16; Acts 20:28; Revelation 1:5; Romans 10:9).

Only Christianity fully recognizes the reality of sin, the inability of man to fix the problem, and the graciousness of a perfect God to solve it for us.

Ultimately, all the clear and unquestionable proofs in the world cannot and will not convince a rebellious person to trust his Creator, because he intentionally suppresses the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).

Some claim that God's existence cannot be proven, since, if we could prove His existence, we would not need to have faith. However, this is simply not the case. God tells us that everyone knows He exists (Romans 1:20). Trusting the God that we all know exists is what the Bible calls "faith". Without this faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

So we see that the Christian has every justification to assert his worldview as absolute truth, while the non-Christian, were his views true, would be incapable of asserting anything at all. If Christianity were not true, the laws of logic would be invalid, and every assertion would be meaningless.

The most basic proof of Christianity is that if it were not true, it would be impossible to prove anything at all.

How Can We Know the Bible is Valid?

Hindu view Christian view