How do we prove that things exist?

Key terms:

  • Theist: a person who believes in God.
  • Atheist: a person who believes there is no god.
  • Agnostic: a person who believes we cannot be sure whether God exists.

There are three ways that we use to prove whether or not something exists:

  • Personal experience – ‘I saw it for myself’!
  • Reliable Evidence – ‘Such and such told me it had happened and I trust them’, or ‘I have an object or artefact that was left behind by…’ so I must accept it exists.
  • Logic and Reason – ‘While I haven’t seen it for myself it must be real because of a chain of reasoning’.

So, if we’re looking for God then we’re going to have to use one of these three methods.

  • We might see God for ourselves. This might seem unlikely, and many people argue that it is impossible as (if God exists) He is transcendent (unable to be understood by humans). God never really appears in the Bible except through his angels or prophets.
  • We might have reliable evidence that God was there, such as a miracle being performed.
  • We might use arguments, such as the argument from Design, to prove that God must exist in order to explain the way the world is today.

This matters to you because, even if you don’t believe in God (you’re an atheist) then the examiner is going to want you to explain your experiences, your evidence or your arguments to back up what you think.

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