What if I admitted to you that I can’t prove that God exists?
I believe (as I’ve previously discussed) that it’s not about 100% accuracy it’s about providing the best explanation for the available evidence.
So think with me; list out the reasons that you believe what you do about God. Christian or Buddhist or atheist, my challenge to you is to list why you believe what you believe about God. It’s easy to argue against something. In our culture arguing against something is actually valued; doubt itself is now a virtue. So be it. But in your doubting you still have a responsibility to be reasonable, right? And so even if you don’t believe anything in detail about God, take a few minutes to list out why you believe what you believe.
How’s it going? This will be fruitful.
But what if you believe nothing at all? Well, if you’re an agnostic person with a stance in the unknown in regards to God’s nature, you may have one or a combination of any of the following responses to the idea of God description being described in the first place. I have some responses for you to consider.
1. “God is unknowable therefore I don’t have an opinion on God.” Really? Let’s rethink. You can’t KNOW that God is unknowable unless you know EVERYTHING there is to know. That’s impossible. This is claiming that you have superior knowledge than all other people who are religious without providing evidence of such superior knowledge. It’s an assumption and it comes across as arrogant. It’s a claim about the nature of God himself (that he is unknowable). It is more accurate for you to say “I do not know whether God is knowable or not.” At this point we can see that, if nothing else, it is possible to know who God is.
2. “I don’t care enough about God so I don’t have an opinion on God.” Really? Do you care about the people who do? Do you believe they are crazy? Do you believe I am crazy? Would you consider at least engaging in something that I and others have dedicated their lives to? I think empathy alone leads every human to consider the question of God’s nature. To put this bluntly, if you don’t care about who God is and who Jesus is, you don’t care about me. I’m not trying to guilt trip you. I’m simply hoping to engage in a non-confrontational dialogue around why you believe what you believe. I hope we can think about these things rather than writing poorly crafted facebook comments.
3. “There is not enough available evidence for me to have an opinion on God.” Okay, I get this. I like having evidence for big decisions too. However, if we’re honest with ourselves we don’t live our day-to-day lives based on evidence. The evidence that exists is very limited. Why are you in your current field of study or occupation? Why do you choose to work at what you work at? There may be evidence related to this like the salary potential but that data itself is only as relevant as the value you give to that evidence. Is money really that valuable? Evidence needs to be valued in order to have meaning and your own values are subjective. This point is worth repeating: evidence itself is only as relevant as the value one ascribes to it. Therefore, using evidence itself is value-driven instead of simply “evidence-driven.” This means that you often make decisions based on very little evidence and instead make decisions based on your subjectively derived value. And when it comes to God’s existence you’re likely setting the bar so high that no fact could ever be proven. I’m not asking you to prove anything. It’s simply figuring out what opinions are there and the underlying factors which lead to those opinions. Be a little more humble than your aim to reach 100% certainty; be willing to engage in thinking about the nature of God and your underlying influences for determining the nature of God.
Rationalize. Consider evidence. Use logical deductions and use inductive reasoning.
Be honest with your list. There will be family influences, cultural persuasions, and just plain gut-feeling type things. A good researcher is aware of their own biases for the sake of the validity of the experiment. Be a good researcher. Explore all the influences that brought you to your particular belief about God’s nature.
Okay. Your list is made.
What you may find in reflecting on your list is that some things are not at all relevant to proving a particular view of God’s existence. Some reasons are better than others. Embrace the unknown and consider whether your reasons are even that helpful in finding an answer to the “who is God” question.
Feel free to share your list of reasons with me (I’d be curious). In my next post, sometime next week, I will begin exploring reasons for and against the Christian view of God (including his existence and his nature). I believe that when we consider the available evidence it is more reasonable for us to believe in the Christian faith than the alternatives. I believe the available evidence points us to that. What does your evidence point you towards?