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Author Topic: Why Do You Believe In God?  (Read 6783 times)

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Offline MasterMischiefTopic starter

Why Do You Believe In God?
« on: March 19, 2011, 11:22:31 AM »
Some ground rules, if I may.

This thread is not for debate.

I fear that opening this thread to debate might scare off some of the very people I wish to hear from.  I realize, even without debate, some people may still not want to share their own personal feelings on the subject.  I understand that and I do not hold it against them.

I open this thread to any theist.  Christian, Jew, Hindu...there are too many to name.  If you believe in one or many gods, I want to hear from you.

I am not interested in hearing from atheist.  I already share your view and, at this time, I do not wish to probe any deeper from this perspective.  It is not fair, and I am sorry for that.

I struggled with how to phrase this question.  “Why do you believe in god?” seems a very straight forward and innocent question.  However, over the internet where inflection can be perceived, the simple question may seem accusatory.  Again, I very much want to make this a welcoming thread where people can feel comfortable exposing their beliefs to someone who is genuinely curious.

As I mentioned earlier, I am an atheist and I fully admit I have been hostile to believers.  I am trying to mend my ways for my own reasons.  I am not expecting anyone to convert me.  I am not looking for god.  I simply want to better understand a certain group of people who have a very different belief than I do.

So if you are willing to share, why do you believe in god?

Offline Avi

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Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2011, 11:39:23 AM »
First of all, I am a Christian.  Born and raised in a Catholic family, I converted to the Church of Christ a little over a year ago.  So, I've grown up with the concept of God and have always believed in Him, regardless of what my personal struggles were.  There are two big reasons why I believe in God, besides the usual "Because the Bible say so".  To just say that is a cop-out in my opinion. 

First of all, I believe in God because, when I look at the universe and see how everything is ordered and placed just so, from the organization of galaxies down to the symmetry of the human body and the structure of molecules, it just screams to me that some force had to put it all in place.  The great "natural laws" which govern physics, chemistry, biology, and geology, among other sciences, had to be set in stone somehow, or everything would be completely different.  To me, that suggests quite strongly that there is some kind of overarching reason for their existence, and to me, that is God.

Secondly, believing in God gives me hope.  Believing in God and in Jesus Christ gives me a reason to believe that things aren't just going to come to an end when I die, that there's a good reason for me to strive and be a better person, regardless of how crappy the world may become and how awful other people might be.  It gives everything a sense of purpose, and it gives me something to look forward to.  It allows me to be an optimist, and hopefully I can encourage others to find that same perspective.  Having that encouragement to keep going and to keep trying to avoid the same mistakes in the future is a great blessing for me.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2011, 11:40:37 AM by Avi »

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Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2011, 11:48:26 AM »
I was taught as a child that God is there.  The dim reaches of my memory touch on a God who has always been talked about and prayed to.  He was there for me as I got older and didn't always have a living person to turn to.  He was a loving parent who gave me an ear for my secrets that I was afraid to talk about with the adults in my life.  He/she is a touchstone to help me center myself and keep my world whole, to stop it from fragmenting and coming apart.

I believe in God because I can't not believe.  My belief has nothing to do with religion it has to do with me. 

I feel these things and hold them dear.  I may come back and add to them.





It's my hope that all who read this thread and wish to post here respect MM's desire to keep this free of debate and argument.  It's meant to be a place for reflection and expression.  Please respect that.

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2011, 12:01:03 PM »
Do you count agnostics as theists or atheists?

Online itsbeenfun2000

Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2011, 12:22:01 PM »
I am a math teacher. I believe in God because the more you look into science and how complicated it all is you realize the odds of everything happening by accident is astronomical. Everything in nature is so balanced something had to put it in motion with the laws of physics.

I believe because if you sit down and read how God created the universe, and no I don't believe it happened in 7 days but what is a day when you have eternity, the order in Genisis is the same order that the scientists have on how it all started. We just have the science now to go into the details.

I also believe because self sacrifice is a purely human trait and with it the world is a better place.

Thanks for the thread, I respect that it was put out there I hope others do as well.

Offline Elayne

Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2011, 12:38:04 PM »
I believe that human beings consist of more than just biological parts.  I believe that there is something intrinsic and valuable to a life that makes it seperate from a similar mass of rock or amino acids or even a really well programmed computer with a vast store of data and the ability to answer questions like Watson or Deep Blue.

Having no better term for it, I choose to call that element a soul, a fundamental property possessed by life that makes us alive, gives us creativity, emotion, and morality.

I believe that that property that I choose to call a soul isn't something I alone possess and that is universal.  I think that property is what makes all humans have something in common, despite differences in culture, language and upbringing.  I think it is why seeing an animal in pain makes us feel pain, despite there being no biological reason for it. 

I think that that universal commonality is important enough to warrant a label.  I've heard people call it alot of things.  I chose to call it God.

Offline Caela

Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2011, 04:11:42 PM »
I agree with a lot of what has already been said. I look around me and I see such staggering complexity in everything from the human body, to the way the universe itself is ordered that my mind simple boggles on the idea that it is merely all chance. I'd find it easier to believe that the Pyramids at Giza simply evolved into the structures they are, all on their own,  over time, then that the entire Universe is just a chance happening. To me, both ideas sound a bit ridiculous.

Also, there are a lot of holes in science. So many questions it can't answer, and for every answer we find, it seems ten more questions appear to go with it. Granted we may simply not know the "right" questions to ask yet, but for me it seems there must be something at the center of everything, something that set everything in motion, that set the stage, wrote the rules, and set our little Universe spinning.

As Elayne already mentioned, I also believe in the soul. Believe in that small bit of ourselves that holds our emotions, our conscience, our very sense of being. That piece of ourselves that makes us more then just fancy, fleshy, machines with our own biological supercomputer. It is this part of us that I believe God made in his image, not so much our physical bodies.

Holding no particular religion close to my heart, I have a very broad view of Diety and believe that God is not only the power at the beginning of the Universe but that a piece of God resides in each of us as well which is why (just my own personal theory here) so many people, spend so much time looking for Him/Her/It.

Offline Jude

Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2011, 04:45:10 PM »
To be honest...

I have an incredibly weak, faltering belief in something greater than myself because accepting that I am nothing more than an electronic pattern jumping between the neurons inside my skull is a thought that I find utterly terrifying.

I can think of post-hoc rationalizations to back it up (pi is in every circle, e describes so many aspects of nature beautifully, the universe is elegantly ordered), but that's all they are.  It's a strange, transient belief that will stick with me until I learn to accept that I'm going to die some day or find more evidence for the existence of a higher power (in which case it will strengthen into something else).

Offline Lord Drake

Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2011, 04:59:04 PM »
I have an incredibly weak, faltering belief in something greater than myself because accepting that I am nothing more than an electronic pattern jumping between the neurons inside my skull is a thought that I find utterly terrifying.

This - I think - is an explanation that goes deeper than one could think at first, although I personally take away the terrifying and put "uncomprehensible" or even "impossible" instead.

I don't know how to explain it. It is probably what I think "faith" is.

I feel that I am something more than a bunch of nerves made out of curves in space-time. I feel that there is something above matter because I cannot associate my self-consciousness with simple matter. I feel like there is something "sitting" in my head and driving my body. Call it intelligence... call it soul. I think there is an abstract part of me that is very concrete.

Don't know if this makes sense because it is a sensation that cannot be explained. Either you feel it or (I guess) you don't.

Now if I am that way... this mean that the most important part of me is... abstract, again. And since that abstract part has to come from somewhere... I think that there must be a God.

I am Christian and I could have told you why I do believe in the Christian God... but since I speak with an Atheist, I think my take about the "feeling" of the presence of a higher being would be more interesting to you.

Hope this helps. :-)
« Last Edit: March 20, 2011, 07:16:06 AM by Lord Drake »

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Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2011, 05:13:15 PM »
As much as I am a growing skeptic and have quite the scientific mind, there are some things that just cannot be explained by science. Science to me is how humans explain the world from their perspective. However, we are limited in many ways so that fuels my belief (which was instilled in me at a very young age) of God. I went through a brief period of not considering myself a Christian and lost my way in life in many different ways as a result. Having regained the active part of my faith has not only given me direction but hope in a better life...not just for myself, but for others as well. And that is but a small reason for my belief in not only "a" God, but "God".

Not sure exactly how clarifying this explanation is, as I just wrote what I felt at the moment of posting. Hopefully later, I'll get back to it when I feel that I have a lot more time to devote to it.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2011, 05:16:12 PM by Xana »

Offline Shjade

Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2011, 05:25:44 PM »
This is probably going to come across as snippy, but it's not intended that way. It's just a very simple, straightforward description of my mindset on the subject:

Why not?

Offline Sybl

Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2011, 06:22:39 PM »
I believe in God. Reason being, I have had too many life "occurrences" in my life time not to believe.

At the age of 10, while ice skating on a lake with friends I fell through the ice, several feet away from safety.
A kind gentleman helped me up, and took me to my Mom. I was the only one who saw him.
This place was packed with people, trying to find something to "save me" with.
All they saw was me coming up out of the ice, walking on my own.

Shortly after age 17, I tried more than once to end my life, when I found out that I have a
multiple personality disorder. I am a duo.
I tried several ways to end my life, none of them worked. There has to be a reason it didn't.
I believe God wanted me to live.. for whatever His reason was, I was not going to give up living
after the last attempt.

After a bad fall down a flight of stairs, 7 months pregnant with my 2nd child, my daughter was still born.
A Miracle happened that day, 10 minutes after pronouncing her dead, she breathed on her own.
No brain damage. Today she is a well known Photographer for several Newspapers.
She is a college graduate, and graduated with honors, both from high school and college.
 
at age 35, I struck from the rear, while on my bike riding in a park. The driver who hit me
was drunk, she hit me so hard, I flew about 30 ft. landing on a granite curb. I couldn't walk or
stand for several months. The only bone that broke from that incident was my tail bone, numerous
muscles, cartilage and tendons torn. That was it.

I have no reason not to believe in God.



 

Online TheGlyphstone

Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2011, 06:59:55 PM »
This is probably going to come across as snippy, but it's not intended that way. It's just a very simple, straightforward description of my mindset on the subject:

Why not?

Honestly, that's rather my attitude - I consider myself a semi-agnostic general theist*. I've never seen any firsthand conclusive evidence that God exists, but I've never seen any evidence against Him either. Since it can't hurt to believe, I do.

*I also happen to energetically and enthusiastically reject being included in any sort of organized religion, but that's not relevant here.

Offline MasterMischiefTopic starter

Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2011, 09:03:00 PM »
I thank everyone who has posted.  You have all shared something deeply personal, perhaps more personal than any O/O, and I think that takes a lot of courage.

Quote from: Shjade
This is probably going to come across as snippy, but it's not intended that way. It's just a very simple, straightforward description of my mindset on the subject:

Why not?

Not snippy at all.  It is a perfectly good question and one which I like to think I apply to most questions.  However, to respond to this here would, I fear, open up debate and take this thread in a direction I do not wish to.  In short, that is probably a thread of its own.

Offline rick957

Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2011, 10:56:35 AM »
I've been very struck by much of what I've read in this thread.  I have a slightly different take on the question, which I'd like to share here.

I'm a Christian.  I believe that Jesus was God; that there is only one god, and that god is all-powerful and absolutely fair (or "just" or "good").  My reason has to do with my conviction of the unfairness of life.

I believe that, like most or all other people, I was born with certain faculties or senses -- specifically, a sense of reason or logic, and perceptory senses -- which tell me that life is unfair.  Life is incredibly unfair for lots of people, and my own life, in spite of all my privileged circumstances, has still been unfair in many ways.  Actually I think that's true for everyone, regardless of their circumstances.

My conviction of life's unfairness is not merely an intellectual belief, but something I feel deeply.  It's based on a lifetime of personal experience.  It's something that makes me very, very upset, and I believe it's supposed to -- the unfairness of the suffering in the world around us ought to inspire not just sympathy, but anger, and even despair.

My senses of reason and my perceptory senses tell me that in a world of such unfairness, there cannot be an all-powerful and just god, because no such god would allow such unfairness.  (In my opinion, that's the answer to the "why not believe in god?" question that others have mentioned here, at least with regard to the God of Christianity.)

I believe Christianity tells me that ultimately, I cannot trust my in-born faculties and senses; I cannot trust my own logic or reason, or the evidence of my senses, which tell me again and again that life is unfair; in essence, I cannot trust myself, because I am defective, broken.  (In my opinion, many of the reasons for belief presented in this thread are based on logic or the evidence of the senses, which is why I personally disagree with them, even though I strongly sympathize with the explanations others have presented here.  I believe that trusting in logic or the evidence of the senses will ultimately lead me away from the truth, not towards it.)

I choose to believe Christianity -- to believe in Jesus, in the Christian God -- because to do otherwise would be to trust in my own senses and faculties, which tell me life is horribly unfair for most, if not all of us, and there cannot be a just god in a world that's so unfair.

Offline Shjade

Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2011, 11:16:07 AM »
My senses of reason and my perceptory senses tell me that in a world of such unfairness, there cannot be an all-powerful and just god, because no such god would allow such unfairness.  (In my opinion, that's the answer to the "why not believe in god?" question that others have mentioned here, at least with regard to the God of Christianity.)
Just wanted to clarify 'cause it looks like I may have been confusing: by "Why not?" I don't mean "What indications are there that there might not be a god?" I mean "What is the downside of believing in god?"

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Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2011, 11:21:38 AM »
Just wanted to add to this in that some in my family have had pretty unexplainable moments of faith, things that cannot be explained nor expressed scientifically, thus furthering my belief in something greater than oneself and the whole of humanity.

Offline rick957

Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2011, 11:59:41 AM »
Shjade -- thanks for the clarification, I may very well have misunderstood your post (sorry!).  :)

I'd like to add that I wasn't attempting to debunk anyone else's beliefs in my post.  I mentioned certain alternative perspectives because they seemed persuasive to me in some ways, and I wanted to mention why I ultimately don't share those perspectives, though I might have at one time. 

No disrespect was intended towards anyone, nor was I meaning to engage in debate, since MasterMischief said that was not the aim of the thread.  Sorry if I gave anyone those impressions.

Offline Soran

Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2011, 12:28:22 PM »
I was born into a Christian household, but I'm not a Christian or anything else. I do believe in God, but what I don't believe in is the intrepretations by the various religions very simply because all of these holy books are written by flawed human people written from a certain perspective and clouded by personal agenda...we all have an agenda of one type or another. I believe because I have seen and experienced... well I can't put it into words, but I have no doubt in the human soul and a different reality awaits once we move on from our corporeal bodies.

Online Serephino

Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2011, 02:34:00 PM »
I am a spiritual Pagan, and agree with most everything that has been said.  I wasn't really raised in a Christian household.  My dad was Christian, and we went to a nearby church a few times before he decided he didn't like it.  Then I just went to sunday school there for a while.  After my dad died my mom started taking me to my Aunt's church for a few years.  Her religious streak didn't last though.

In my life I have questioned a lot of things, including many beliefs and practices of the Christian church.  The existence of God was never one of them.  It's not something I think or believe, it's something I know; just like I know if I throw a rock up into the air, it will fall back to the ground.

The world is just too perfect for it to have happened by accident.  Before humans fucked with the ecosystems it all balanced out perfectly.  All living things are made out of the same stuff, but look at the biodiversity! 

Then there is individuality.  A brain is a mass of nerve tissue.  Sure, chemicals can effect mood, and abnormalities can effect behavior, but that still doesn't explain why everyone is different.  Why is my favorite color teal?  Why do I love Italian food?  I hate the color yellow, but there are people who love it.  Olives are disgusting to me, but there are people who put them on everything.  You can examine my physical brain all you like, but you'll never find the answer.  There are billions of humans out there, but you'll never find another me.  Even my pets have distinctive personalities.  That is why I think our souls make up who we are, and our bodies are a physical home that keeps us here. 

There are my experiences with ghosts.  I have experienced strange things all my life.  When I was little it used to scare me.  It doesn't anymore.  I have experienced everything from being suspended mid-air for several seconds and the laws of motion being broken, to an object that had sat quietly for years on a shelf flying past my head.  I have seen things, and heard things...  There have even been experiences that a few others shared with me.  This suggests to me that there is at least some part of us that survives physical death.     


Offline MasterMischiefTopic starter

Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2011, 03:20:55 PM »
Thank you for your post, rick957.  Your perspective is rather unique to me.

Thank you for your clarification, Shjade.

And thank you to the others who have added to this thread.  I do appreciate you giving fresh perspectives.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2011, 04:22:41 PM »
Believing gives me the strength to keep going.  That faith in something beyond me and beyond this life helps me get up in the morning and do what needs to be done.  A belief that somewhere the suffering is rewarded, justified or at least noticed gives me some comfort.  Knowing that when I tell someone it is ok to let go, to not be afraid of what comes next; I believe those words.  When I have to talk to the family and give them comfort, I believe that there is comfort to be found.  I guess I believe in God because it gives me hope and I can give that hope to other people.

Maybe that sounds sappy or a cop-out.  All I know is that when I first started, I used to wake up with horrible nightmares.  Just dreams of nothing, just endless nothing.  I would cry and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I started to pray, just wanting strength.  I’ve been able to sleep since then. 

Anyway, my two cents and what its worth.

Offline Belle33

Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2011, 06:24:30 PM »
I believe in God because my mind, body, and soul won't allow me not to.  My faith just is - I don't have a rational explanation for it.  I've seen and experienced enough that if I were going to stop believing I would have done so by now.  I am as certain that God exists as I am that tomorrow will come.  Even when I've raged against a God who would let tragic things happen, I've always known that benevolent or not, there is a God. 

I do believe, and I mean no disrespect to anyone in stating this, that organized religion has blurred and damaged the relationship many have with God - or the concept of a God.  I expect gaps in the science of the universe we know will continue to gradually be revealed to us as we evolve.  But, I believe elements of the soul can only be attributed to God.


Offline Noelle

Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2011, 06:46:10 PM »
I was baptized Lutheran, confirmed Presbyterian, moved on to a short stint in Paganism, jumped to militant atheism, and now I'm a faintly theistic agnostic much in the same way Jude has already covered. I'd prefer to think there is a god because I'd like to think the sum of my experiences is more than just the constant upkeep of bodily homeostasis. I just don't know for sure, though, and I don't think I will ever ascribe to any religion ever again because of that.

My idea of god is pretty far removed from the typical Abrahamic one because I find that it's difficult to believe in a god as told by the Bible/Qur'an/Torah, but that's kind of an idea that requires a whole different thread in of itself.

Offline sesshomaruartist

Re: Why Do You Believe In God?
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2011, 01:37:55 PM »
I do believe in God, but I have to admit it was more due to culture and upbringing that paved the way. Although as such disasters take centre stage it just goes to show in my opinion just how fragile our lives are. Although I dislike people whom become believers just because they believe something bad will happen and fear of it, namely talking of doomsday predictions. If you want to believe in god no matter what the religion do it so for the right reasons sorry if I ventured out if topic.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 03:52:53 AM by sesshomaruartist »