30  Truth, Proof and Evidence


When it comes to discussions of a religious and spiritual nature, those who may be more sceptical of these things may assert they are not true as there is no proof or evidence. However what may be considered legitimate proof or evidence? Is something only true if it can be verified by scientific methods and observation? This session looks at different types of truth and which types of truth are most reliable.


Ask students to write the following two things on a post-it note and stick it on a white board or wall:

Explain to students that there are several types of truth. Ask students to try and come up with a group definition of truth.

Introduce and explain five different types of truth below:


Ask students to consider the statements below. What kind of ‘truth’ or ‘truths’ do they think is being claimed by each statement, in relation to the types of truth above.

Point out that some ‘truths’ appear to be claiming one thing, but may actually be more like another type of truth, or not really true at all – how can we ‘know’?


Ask students to respond to the following question:

Explain that many people argue that the existence of a God cannot be empirically verified. Could science be used to prove God in any way? Explain that for some Christians one sign of the presence of God is the phenomenon known from New Testament times as ‘speaking in tongues’. In a Christian context, this is where a person appears to be inspired by the Holy Spirit to speak in an unknown ‘heavenly language’, that is then often interpreted by another believer. Recent experiments have taken place upon people speaking in tongues and have shown some unusual activity to be taking place in the brain. Could this be evidence of the supernatural?

Show the students the clip below about speaking in tongues and ask them to say whether they think this is empirical evidence of the Holy Spirit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nzbqbajynec


Encourage the students to reflect on the following questions:

A printable (pdf) version of this session can be found here

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