Why?

why do some of you people believe in God? what are your reasons? as an atheist the idea of a god is so unjustifiable and illogical. but i want to see theist’s motivations for faith.

I believe in God firstly because I always have, and haven’t seen any compelling evidence or reason to stop. I’ve had experiences that I believe are signs of God’s activity in my life.
I think the arguments for the existence of God are inconclusive, but sound enough to allow for the possibility. I see the arguments against the existence of God as extremely problematic and unsuccessful.
I think that the universe makes much more sense if there is an intelligent mind behind it’s organization, and I think that the belief that blind forces are behind evolution is a self-defeating concept.
I reject the idea that the ‘idea of god is so unjustifiable and illogical’ just on the basis that there are so many rational, honest people who believe in God, including some philosophers who are my betters. This doesn’t mean God exists, but it does mean that theim is a lively issue about which an honest debate exists, and that anybody who thinks theism is ‘so obviously’ false (or ‘so obviously true’!) doesn’t have full comprehension of the situation.

Hi being_gabriel,

I believe in God as the great Mystery behind the incredible Universe, as the source of a vast variety of life, as the giver of principles of life that permeate our existence and as the fascination behind the various Religions of humankind.

I believe that the ancients knew that the Mystery was not accessible like we gain access to people, which is why Religion of old is generally a collection of mythical writings, which strangely carry the spirit of acquired wisdom and insight about life on this planet.

I believe that a great deal of Religion began as Mysticism, and that this was generally accepted over thousands of years - despite the occaisonal perversion of the teaching and rivalry between different schools. We can’t help being humankind.

I believe that the Judeo-Christian Religion was furthered by Mystics and that Jesus himself was a Mystic who fought for a return to the basic direction of Trust in the Torah amongst his fellow Jews - and was killed by those in Power who have always mistrusted Mystics.

He started a movement off that reaches into our day, but is hardly recognisable as his movement. It has become an institution much like the Temple had become an Institution in Herod’s day - and we have all the trappings of such institutions and consequently much of his criticism then fits today.

Shalom
Bob

I believe in God because the world is so perfectly fucked up, I don’t think it could have gotten this way without some sort of divine intervention.

I actually agree with Uccisore, in this area… I too have had very personal experiences that have lead me to believe in god. But I don’t think religion has the single answer for everyone, this is why there are so many religions. (another topic for another thread)

the real question is… what logical reason do you have to deny your humanity and not believe in god?

Where does a conscience come from? Any moral relativist will tell you that one should always obey his conscience no matter his morality. But what caused man to have a moral conscience in the first place? Evolution is highly doubtable to be the cause, for what reason would evolution have in creating morality --spliting a human being into two to condemn himself. I think this is a reasonable argument to consider divinity.

Consciense is a joint knowledge about what is right - therefore it constitutes the agreement of the society in which we live. The less we identify with the society we live in, the less we have a consciense in a literal sense.

In psychoanalysis it is the part of the superego (moral standards of parents and society) that judges the ethical nature of one’s actions and thoughts and then transmits such determinations to the ego for consideration.

Shalom
Bob

Now I’ve always thought that this should be the other way around. It would be simpler and more efficient to assume that a ‘God’ does not exist and plan to accomodate ourselves in those conditions. If ‘God’ does exist, great. If not, well, we already planned for that.

It works like this. If we believe in God we must also believe, as a necessary consequence, that any and all things that happen are permissible. This means that although we might act as if we are responsible for situations that are “in our control,” in the event that we find tragedy, or fail on our own accord, we must assume that this is the will of ‘God.’ This kind of reasoning takes the burden off of mans’ shoulder, where, instead, it should remain.

What happens is, somewhere along the way man stops putting forth the effort, he becomes lazy, too liberal, careless, among other things. Why? Because he’s not in charge. ‘God’ is, or so he wants to believe.

For hundreds, even thousands of years, this one wager alone has been the single most destructive element in our reasoning. I sit here and watch the shit go down, the ‘religious’ and their chatter fills the air like a thick smog.

And no, you haven’t believed in ‘God’ always, Uccisore. There was a time when the only thing on your mind was how to best ride your skateboard. ‘God’ is nothing more than a word representing, quite possibly, the biggest etymological ambiguity ever to grace a dictionary page.

And you learned it at the age of six.

We all do.

de’trop,

Another take is that all things are possible, and that we must make choices and live with the consequences. This allow’s for the possibility of a creator and personal responsibilty isn’t compromised.

I realize that the conventional ‘father in heaven’ view of Christianity is used as an excuse for bad choices much of the time, but it does not follow that there is inconsistency between a belief in a creator and the personal responsibility to express the best of humanity within us.

JT

Hi de’trop,

I hope you don’t mind, but I can actually find good sense in what you have written here. There is a distinct problem in our world today to place the blame on some form of ambiguous ‘evil’ or be blandish about God having everything under control. The fact is that it is a small delegation humankind that rules the lives of the rest on this planet - and very often merely because they were lucky to have been born into rich and influential families.

The suffering of millions of people is regarded as collateral and in accordance with God’s will - since he doesn’t do anything to stop it. It even supports the idea of some that poverty is the ‘own fault’ of those suffering it and that piety would free them from suffering. It is a message free from compassion and from behind a television screen.

Having said that, I believe that the responsibility of countries and politicians to change this - especially as ‘believers’ - has grown within the 19th and 20th Century and was probably not possible earlier. Until then the responsibility of humankind was generally within social systems and towards ‘neighbours’. The promotion of a particular ethical teaching as the indicator of affiliation to a certain group who obviously thrived on that teaching might have been warranted then.

But in the modern age, as the world seemed to shrink, the outreach of missionaries behind the armies of the colonialists and the under the screen of exploitation tended to ensure that the ‘savages’ could be turned into reliable workers, rather than give them a real perspective for their lives. Many of the ‘savages’ had a better chance within their ‘strange’ social system than the people caught up in the urbanization and industrial revolution in Europe.

The christianisation was very often a means to an end and therefore without obligation - and is still to this day, despite the heroic commitment of individuals, who are often the exception that proves the rule.

Shalom
Bob

Ah, the omnipotence argument at its weakest. This is very simple. With the existence of ‘God’ all is possible so long as God allows it to be. This means that nothing can happen that ‘God’ did not want to happen. Misunderstanding this, you might believe that ‘evil’ is a human creation, when in fact it is the work of ‘God.’ We then assume that ‘God’ can prevent ‘evil’ and he will not, which makes him an asshole. Or that he wishes to prevent ‘evil’ but he cannot, which disqualifies his omnipotence.

Its a lose/lose situation.

If something unwanted should happen, then ‘God’ is not omnipotent. So there is nothing possible that can exceed the will of ‘God,’ such as an ‘accident’ or a ‘chance’ or what you call “human choice.” Therefore if 'God exists, there is no room for ‘freewill’ in a universe where every precise detail is predetermined. ‘God’ cannot possibly create man and not know what was going to happen with man. Likewise, man cannot choose what ‘God’ will not allow.

Bob, I don’t see what you are getting at.

de’trop,

Absolutely. And one of the possibilities is that “God” gave us free will, without knowing the outcome of our choices. There is nothing compelling in the argument that a creator would have to know the outcome of every possible choice made by the being he/she created.

While omnipotence could choose to know ‘all’, it could just as easily choose to not know ‘all’, and there is no way to know if or which choice might be made.

It is in the suspension of judgement about what the creator is or isn’t that we find the ability to entertain the presence of a creator and still be responsible for our choices.

The real lose/lose scenario begin’s the moment that we attempt to define creator. We confer all the various power attributes on our concept of what ‘God’ ought to be, and then become disillusioned and cynical when our ‘perfect’ concept doesn’t match up with our obdurate reality.

I have no idea what the creator is, or what characteristics he/she might have. I can fall into the trap of defining all the things that a creator might/must be, or I can accept that I cannot and never will ‘know’.

I am still left with the responsibility to make the best choices I can to express my humanity. I cannot and will not use a creator as an excuse for making bad choices.

JT

    Well, if I was a computer with absolute control over my beliefs, then perhaps that would be an option.  But we all come to our "Age of Reason" with certain beliefs we've carried forward from childhood.  I find myself a theist. There's enough rational theists in the world that I didn't feel compelled to drop the belief [i]automatically[/i], like I did my belief in Santa Clause so long ago.  Even in the adult world, even in the world of philosophers, theism vs. atheism is an active debate.  In other words, from the perspective of a born theist, atheism has a certain burden of proof to meet in order for me to consider it, which hasn't been met. 
   Now, certainly, I've investigated theism, found arguments for and against it, and changed some of my views to make them more coherent and rational.  

All depends on how you think about free will.

What possibilities exist that could happen without God knowing about it? You think a human being can step out of the causal chain and do something undetermined? It is as Sartre once put it, “mankind would be determined in one single gesture” if God existed. There would indeed be a human essence and we would follow that design, regardless of what we “choose.”

You just can’t create a being and say to it: “now you choose something…but I want you to suprise me.” In creating that being you would have also created its potential and everything it is capable of. It couldn’t do what it couldn’t do, that is, what you didn’t design it to do.

Yes it is, and I think I understand it the ‘right’ way, as in the correct way. Alright, well at least I think I’ve got the important stuff figured out, anyway.

I also want to add that if God did exist it would still be possible for the illusion of freewill to exist, only that God could not put any responsibility on a human being that exceeded his/her capacity to reason what he/she believed they ought to do. In other words, when I make choices, the degree of moral integrity with which the choice is made is determined only by what I believe is ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ God cannot expect a foolish person to make the right decisions all the time, but neither can he place the responsibility of the consequences of the choice on that person who makes that choice. If God wanted humans to be ‘responsible,’ as it pertains to what God thinks is moral, he would have made the ‘right’ choices evident and there would be no irresponsible choices or moral negligence.

Again, God drops the ball.

[boooooo]

So responsible, yes, but as far as “you’re doomed to burn for eternity if you choose wrongly” responsible…no.

Not hardly.

You know I’d like to remind you that running a universe is serious business. You can’t give the God(s) any slack or they flounder.

Well, first of all, I don't think the 'casual chain' is what you seem to be implying it is.  And yes, I think the future is undetermined.  
  This is a circular argument, in that it makes perfect sense if you assume determinism. But, if the assumption is that the Creator of the universe is Itself a being with free will, in other words, that Free Will is a part of the structure of everything there is, then God being able to create creatures that can 'surprise' Him isn't so hard to understand. Certainly our powers and capabilities are limited, and the number of options we have may be fewer than God's, but even a coin-flip can surprise.

Not if it can only land on heads or tails.

Right?

de’trop,

Exactly what I said. You’re locked into your own definition of ‘supreme being’ attributes. You want to say that God has to know everything. I’m saying that the ‘creator’ can do as he/she damn well pleases, including choosing to not know everything.

JT

 Well, if you take "It's going to be heads or tails" as your prediction, then you'll never be surprised, that's true.  But if you actually try to pick the specific result, and things change. It seems insignificant to us, but start staking important things on coin flips (like money, belongings, lives), and I'm sure you'd get a huge appreciation for how unpredictable and surprising they can be. Dice are a perhaps a more clear example.
  And of course, I know God could figure out the results of a coin flip. And I don't mean to suggest that human behavior is random.  I'm talking purely in terms of number of possible outcomes here.

i am always amused by the way that god’s definition always changes. He has omnipotence, but oh no it’s a different kind. or nothing is caused…but god because - he’s a special case! he’s omniscient but he chooses not to know things. amazing. thank you theists.