Sunday, January 27, 2013

Why God? (Part 1)

Many of us believe in God. We are taught by our parents and culture that there is a supreme being who is the cause, designer, maker, and moral force for all of us. Rarely do we stop to consider on what basis we believe this is so.  Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3

To ask the question “Why do we believe in God?” and many will answer from the power of authority “Because the good book told us to.” We may use other authorities like “God told us.” or “my Sunday school teacher said so”.

As a child, my dad said “Take out the garbage.”
"Take out the Garbage!"

Being curious by nature I innocently asked “Why?”

“Because I said so.” was his initial answer.

Being unsatisfied with an argument based purely on the power of his authority, I pressed on “But why do you say so?”

The intent never was to challenge his parental prerogative, rather to come to understand. Eventually he helped me realize that living in garbage was not good for my health, so taking the garbage away was a small effort in order to help myself. Knowing why we do something helps us to be motivated to do it better.

We grow up taking arguments from authority for granted.
Is the argument from authority sufficient for a mature, thinking person? Can we really stop with the use of authority as our basis for the belief in God?

 If a person in authority has made an error, then accepting their word is not enough. If a person in authority can not explain their reasons, then perhaps they are not an authority at all.

 By not exploring further, we may too make an error.

To me a part of faith is trying to understand why I believe what I do. Wisdom can grow from questioning one's self. A deeper understanding and appreciation of my faith merits its further consideration.

Ignorance, although it can be blissful, is never a virtue. With such an important question, we are called to do better, know more, to test ourselves and become stronger.

Getting closer to heaven.
I do not hope to change your mind, rather to help clarify why it is we believe what we believe. Many people may believe that one can not even ask the question about the existence of God. That the very question itself should not be argued. You may be one of those people. If so, you probably do not want to read further.

If you do not wish to challenge your belief and wish to only consider “because you were told so”, stop now. Read no more. If, however, you wish to understand yourself and your belief better, go forward, read on with an open mind.

There appear to be four basic arguments for the existence of God, from design, from being, from cause, and from morality. There have been many attempts to prove and refute these basic approaches.

These attempts have engaged more people that we can know. Their arguments for and against often vary with their culture and wisdom.

In the next two posts, I will try to summarize each of these arguments for the existence of God in simple modern terms, giving briefly an outline of the arguments for and against. May they test your faith and move you forward renewed.

Why God? (Part 2) - Why God? (Part 3)


  1. I'm am very glad to see you writing about this. I have freinds who are devout Christians and have this conversation with them all the time, but they hold on to the notion of faith and that they were raised to believe that.
    Can't wait to read the next to parts.

  2. Sounds like your father was a bully. Instead of saying, "because I said so" he should have explained why and how we do it. Build a person up, not knock them down. I had the same problem with my parents. Then they ask why their sons and daughters are running away and would rather live on the streets than at home. Authority, when I grew up was more prevalent than it is today. As they ruled the government with Iron Fists. Not like today. More Limp Wristed, and I don't mean Gay, I mean gutless. But, I'm in Canada, Eh!