Thursday, September 29, 2011

Trust Vs. Proof: Survey Results


Last week I sponsored a simple, two-question survey on this blog. My purpose was to ascertain whether there was a correlation between people who say they trust in God, and those who say He has proven Himself to them.

Here are the results of that survey. Twenty-six respondents started the survey by answering the first question:

Of those 26, a majority (22) said they trusted in God (with trust defined as believing in his existence and believing what He says about Himself in Scripture is true). Not too surprising, probably, given the kind of people I hang out with, and those who are likely to read my blog.

The second question, "Do you believe God has proven Himself to you in some way?" was tackled by 20 of the 26 respondents. Once again, a significant majority (17) answered "Yes":

My hypothesis was that there was a significant correlation between trust in God, and God proving Himself to those who trust in Him. I believe the results of this survey (even though the pool of respondents is fairly small) bear out that hypothesis.

Finally, I asked those who answered "Yes" to the second question if they'd be willing to elaborate on their answer. Here, for your edification, are the complete and unedited text of all 14 comments submitted:

Through life experiences He has shown that He exists. This is secondary to the proof given in the work/life of Jesus, and the evidence demonstrated in The Bible.
Through the miracles of the human body and answered prayers
Not really any "defining moment".... I just know he is with me everyday and he has blessed me for my faithfulness.
He has proven Himself to me in the same way He has proven Himself in the scriptures, through physical healing, answering of prayer requests, giving me comfort and peace in situations where these attributes are not normally available, changing my heart to love others I could normally not love and I am continually being changed inside by His influence.
romans 1:18-20
The miracles all around me that I see every day! The beautiful sunrise over Puget Sound, the delicate pattern over the clouds in the sky, along with the human choclea and the platapus
Various lines of evidence, but the great questions in life are best answered, by a wide margin, on the theistic view of the universe.
I was born exactly two months prematurely. The doctors said I would be mentally and physically handicapped. This was confirmed when I was four months old and developed a severe lung infection and almost died. Yet by God's grace, about two decades later, I have a very healthy body and am excelling at university.
giveing peace in painful events
I've seen people healed of debilitating injuries. Most notably, I had a friend two years ago whose femur was broken playing football when our friend John (Who's roughly 6'6" and 300 pounds) fell on her. She was taken to the doctor in a lot of pain and, after X-rays, was informed that there was a large crack down her femur. The next day, a large group of us prayed for her healing. 3 days later, she went back to the doctor, had more x-rays taken as part of ongoing treatment, and it was discovered that the crack was gone and there was ZERO sign of any damage in her leg. She actually mentioned that one of her doctor's was *angry* because he couldn't explain how this happened. Personally, meeting Christ (That is, seeing his character and portrayed in the scriptures) has given me hope and peace that's overwhelmingly conquered fear, depression, and hopelessness like nothing else has.
When I pray, I get answers and blessings that are so cooncidential to what I prayed about, that I know it can only be from him.
Two examples, one mundane, and one more, um, extraordinary. First, intelligent design. When you look at the complexity of how all life is interwoven on earth, the sheer magnitude of diversity in animal and plant life, and how all of those interconnect, there's no way it could EVER have happened by accident. Maybe a few species might evolve to survive, but so many of the 'evolutions' are integrated and dependent on completely different species that it's just not possible for it to be accidental. The second was a car accident I was in when I was 16. Just as a car I was a passenger in (front seat) was going off the road and about to hit a manhole cover (raised about 2 feet above ground), I very suddenly went from sitting in my seat to being in a ball on the floorboard (a space not really big enough for me to fit), and I stayed there as the car hit the cover and flipped/rolled several times. After the car landed, right side up, I put my hand on my seat to push myelf up from the floorboard, and found the old school plus-shaped tire iron from the back (car was a Volvo station wagon) sitting on my seat. As I got out, I saw on the windshield where it had hit as it had come from the back - obviously with a great deal of force given the damage pattern - right where the back of my skull would have been if I'd still been in the seat. The car was demolished, but I got out without a scratch. Even the driver had only a few light scratches on his left arm and cheek from where he'd brushed the ground as the car rolled (his window had been down). We'd be going nealy 60mph when we went off the road. 1. There's no way I could have gotten on the floorboard from the time I realized we were going off the road until we hit the manhole cover - a space of less than a second. 2. My instinct would NOT have been to do that regardless, but to brace my hands against the dash, like people tend to do, or cover my head with my arms. But I recall thinking, "In an accident, you're safest on the floorboard" in that split second. I know that's not trues, ESPECIALLY when you're about to hit something. But I had that thought, and was there, in less than a heartbeat. 3. Even if I had the time and the room to fit on the floorbaord,and had overridden my instincts/reflexes, I should not have stayed there while the car rolled and flipped. 4. Not only was I spared injury or death, so as the driver. And both of us were spared the experience of seeing a friend greatly injured or killed. Instead, we both walked away from the experience in wonder, and in my case, not truly appreciating how amazing it was until later (after the shock wore off). Yep, God has proven himself to me. I don't know why He spared me that night, but He did.
As a thinking person, it is incumbent on me to consider the meaning and the origin of the experiences I have had that I would consider to be spiritual. I need to consider and answer the question of which model of the world my experiences best for into. Based on that, the framework of Christianity provides me with a model that explains the experiences that I have had in the most complete, cohesive, and clear way. In this regard, I believe that God has proven himself to me.
He has answered numerous prayers, in a way that I can only judge to be miraculous. For instance, I had a mountain biking accident in 2003. I was completely alone in the wilderness and had had no cellphone signal (0 bars) all morning. After the accident I tried hiking about but after a half hour was nearing collapse. I prayed, "Jesus, please help me!" I looked down at my cellphone and saw the reception indicator go from 0 straight up to 5 (the highest level). After giving a 911 operator my location, it went back to 0 and my cellphone died. But, a half hour later, I was rescued. He has also proven Himself by speaking to me, through prayer and through His Word, and through the miracle of an intelligently designed creation.

I appreciate everyone's great participation, and the encouraging responses!

No comments: