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Poll
Question: Why Do You Believe In God?
The Lives of Saints - 17 (8.7%)
The Witness of Martyrs - 19 (9.7%)
Historical Evidence - 18 (9.2%)
Science - 7 (3.6%)
The Bible - 17 (8.7%)
Miracles - 9 (4.6%)
Nature/Fine-Tuned Universe Argument - 13 (6.6%)
Other Philosophical Arguments - 16 (8.2%)
I Just Believe - 30 (15.3%)
A Personal Experience - 50 (25.5%)
Total Voters: 84

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Justin Kissel
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« on: October 17, 2009, 03:56:04 AM »

What reasons do you have for believing in God? What are the strongest reasons that make you believe that God exists? Note that this is not asking why you believe Christianity or Orthodoxy is the true path, but it's just about God's existence. I've set the poll so that you can pick your top three choices. 

Also, this is not part of the poll, but if someone asked you to defend your belief in God, how well do you think you would do?

The reason I'm asking this is rather personal, in that I find myself believing in God even though I don't really have any concrete reason to. I know about this and that argument for the existence of God, and I also know about this or that rebuttal to those arguments (which I usually find to be as persuasive as the original arguments). I'm also rather skeptical of things like miracles and the like. So I'm left not really having anything solid that I hang on to, and yet I still keep coming back to believing. So I was curious to see why others believe. I feel like at this point I could argue against God's existence better than I could argue for His existence, in spite of me believing that He exists. It's a rather strange place to be, intellectually speaking.
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2009, 04:42:32 AM »

For me it was more that I couldn't accept the existential implications of a world with no transcendent moral law. I wanted to be an atheist, but reasoned that it could only lead to nihilism and that ultimately any complaint I had about the "wrongness of wrong" had no teeth behind it.

I've also come to the conclusion that believing in God is an attitude of the heart. Should science prove that a yearning for the divine is genetically encoded is not a problem for someone like me; rather, it only proves that God wants us to be in communion with Him.

Also, I believe in the power of prayer to effect changes that are external.
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2009, 05:44:27 AM »

I believe in God probably because I've always believed and because a thought of godless Universe feels quite distressful. So no, either I have any concrete reason to believe.

I've been trying to justify my belief by gut feeling that there seems to be no reasonable explanation to the existence of Universe, life etc. Which of course may be due to my ignorance of scientific theories but for now I don't find secular explanations convincing. And since for me it's easier to believe in God of gaps than as irrational beliefs that Science will work out everything or that Universe has always existed I choose to believe in God. But that's pretty thin and personal argument so it won't probably convince anybody but me. But hey, I've born into the post-Enlightenment Western world i.e. I can't believe anything without a reason so I just had to work out something. Tongue

Actually I'd like to be an Atheist since it would be so much easier. But since I was blessed/cursed with pious Christian parents I have to bear the burden of religion.

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Still he desires to praise thee, this man who is only a small part of thy creation. Thou hast prompted him, that he should delight to praise thee, for thou hast made us for thyself and restless is our heart until it comes to rest in thee.
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2009, 06:28:28 AM »

What reasons do you have for believing in God? What are the strongest reasons that make you believe that God exists? Note that this is not asking why you believe Christianity or Orthodoxy is the true path, but it's just about God's existence. I've set the poll so that you can pick your top three choices.

I found the choices a bit difficult, but I think I have come closest with 1: the Bible (something that has been constant, though not fanatically so, since childhood), 2: the witness of martyrs (probably because of my admiration for people willing to die for what they believe, even if that doesn't actually prove it to be right... if you know what I mean) and 3: I just believe. (Can't explain that one, I just do believe; always have and couldn't imagine not believing. Probably something to do with the "god gene".  Grin)

Quote
 

Also, this is not part of the poll, but if someone asked you to defend your belief in God, how well do you think you would do?

Looking at my answers above, I don't know that I would do all that well in an intellectual debate.  Undecided

Quote
The reason I'm asking this is rather personal, in that I find myself believing in God even though I don't really have any concrete reason to. I know about this and that argument for the existence of God, and I also know about this or that rebuttal to those arguments (which I usually find to be as persuasive as the original arguments).

I'm not sure that we, any of us, have concrete reasons to believe. I wonder if it all comes down to simply accepting like a little child and that is something we have to learn to do. If one learned that from a child, perhaps it less difficult that later in life. I have noticed that people who were brought up in atheist/agnostic homes (I'm not suggesting that is the case with you) don't have that lifetime of acceptance. I'm not saying they don't make good believers when they turn to God, but for the lifetime believer there is that something that is so familiar, a comforting backup system even, about always having had God in one's head, so to speak. It's not proof, of course, just an emotional reliance or brain pattern that simply is there. Does that make any sense? Of course, this isn't always the case and people do give up a faith that has been theirs since childhood.

Quote
I'm also rather skeptical of things like miracles and the like. So I'm left not really having anything solid that I hang on to, and yet I still keep coming back to believing. So I was curious to see why others believe.

I'm the world's greatest skeptic when it comes to miracles. I'm not proud of it, but I really find it hard to simply believe all the stories I hear while others seem to lap them up without reservation.  In a way, while some might call it gullibility, it's an innocent acceptance that I sort of envy, because I have found myself reading lives of the saints to my kids and thinking "Oh geesh, like this hasn't been embellished", even though I do accept the concept of miracles and always have. 

Quote
Again. , I feel like at this point I could argue against God's existence better than I could argue for His existence, in spite of me believing that He exists. It's a rather strange place to be, intellectually speaking.

I suppose that's something I just wouldn't let happen. I don't consciously prevent myself from doing it, but perhaps, if I'm honest, I simply would not go there. In everything that I read, and I'm sure you are familiar with my interest in science, I always see God reigning supreme. I think that's a "work" part of faith; staying on the path; never veering no matter what seems to suggest otherwise.

I don't suppose any of this ramble has helped.  Grin

God be with you, dear brother.
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« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2009, 08:42:45 AM »

I really don't know why I'm a believer. But I suspect that if there was a "concrete reason" to believe in God, then it wouldn't be faith, it would just be knowledge. I did choose personal experience though because I experience faith as a personal encounter.
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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2009, 09:22:13 AM »

"I believe, so that I may understand", rather than "I understand, therefore I believe".
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« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2009, 09:55:10 AM »

I don't think I believe in some abstract God. Since early childhood, growing up in an atheistic and even anti-theistic atmosphere, I became drawn to the beauty of the Orthodox liturgy and to the "greatest story ever told" about Christ Who, being God, lowered Himself to a humble human and gave His life for the salvation of the world from sin. These two things, the liturgy and the "story," were back then my refuge from, and alternative to, a mundane life in the former USSR that I did not like and did not fit into. It's the same today, except it's not the USSR but the USA.
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« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2009, 09:55:10 AM »

I really don't know why I'm a believer. But I suspect that if there was a "concrete reason" to believe in God, then it wouldn't be faith, it would just be knowledge. I did choose personal experience though because I experience faith as a personal encounter.

Same here.
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« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2009, 10:34:18 AM »

Because He also believes in me. And I can't let Him down.
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« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2009, 10:37:40 AM »

To believe really means to love, to hold dear.

From the OED:
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Early Middle English bileven, from bi-, 'be'- + leven; leven from Old English, Anglian léfan, shortened from geléfan, West Saxon gelíefan, gelýfan, a Common Teutonic verb; Old Teutonic *galaubian 'to believe', probably, ‘to hold estimable, valuable, pleasing, or satisfactory, to be satisfied with,’ from galaub- ‘dear, pleasing’; cf. Gothic liuban, lauf, lubum, lubans, Teutonic root *lub-, Aryan lubh-, 'to hold dear, to like', whence also LOVE.
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« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2009, 11:57:27 AM »

I have a few reasons. I've always believed in God just by looking at my surroundings in nature or looking up to the stars and just pondering the universe. I could never accept that everything just all of the sudden appeared on its own out of nothing so we had to have a Creator. Reading the lives of the Saints and the martyrs only strengthened my belief that God exists since so many people gave their lives for Christ. Think about it. If there isn't a God then Christ would never have rose from the dead and then ascended to Heaven. If He wasn't raised from the dead the Apostles would have just gone back to their trades but did they? No, all of the Apostles who knew Christ and witnessed the Resurrection went out to proclaim Him to all the peope of the world and all of them (with the exception of St. John) were martyred. I thought, if they just made up the Resurrection and miracles of Christ then why would they choose to face death? Why would they die for something that was a lie? They wouldn't and therfore, I came to the conclusion that God exists by reading about how they witnessed for Christ.
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« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2009, 12:13:31 PM »

Love and peace are the only items that one can acquire that bring true happiness.  Love and peace are the cure for all problems. Jesus Christ is the “Teacher” that provides us with this awesome instruction and was living proof of God’s great love for us.
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« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2009, 01:19:10 PM »

I believe in a combination of "science" and "other."  It seems to me that the laws of science calls for something intelligent beyond the universe (or multiverse if this becomes a fact).  Now this is quite an assumption, but that's why it must be combined with this "other" that I have, and that is that I believe "vain existence can never exist."  Atheists may argue as to the fact that having no God doesn't mean life is vain  In fact, they take their lives much more seriously knowing that they will cease to exist at some point in life (I find this ironic, since they also find the idea of a God "damning" people to hell eternally quite abhorrent).  But to me, that is vanity.  I am brought to existence only to find myself in the end no longer exist.  The means to non-existence is simply bringing others to exist so that they too may not exist.

This to me is a powerful indicator that there's more to it to life than a cycle of existence and non-existence.

Interestingly enough then, there are those who believe science will solve everything.  Assuming science does bring humanity to some sort of physical immortality and powerful technological advances that make us avoid parts of the decaying world/universe.  What would the purpose of an immortal life mean, especially after and because of the deaths (and subsequent "non-existence") of millions of generations before them?

Perhaps the idea of an "infinite and eternal" God allows one room to grow forever, whereas the idea that science may one day solve all things allow one to ask, "now what?"  Still a vain pursuit, imo.
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« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2009, 01:28:10 PM »

What reasons do you have for believing in God? What are the strongest reasons that make you believe that God exists? Note that this is not asking why you believe Christianity or Orthodoxy is the true path, but it's just about God's existence.

I was raised in a Christian home and from my infancy God has been as real to me as my mum or dad.

Quote
Also, this is not part of the poll, but if someone asked you to defend your belief in God, how well do you think you would do?

Probably not very well I'm afraid. Arguments to "prove" God or to "prove" Orthodoxy or what-have-you have never impressed me (and I suspect they don't impress the majority of folks... just those intellectual types who love to argue religion and throw around hundred-dollar theological big words. I believe what I believe and I'm willing to share this with others. BUT I'm definitely NOT going to try and prove my beliefs. That is the Holy Spirit's job.

Quote
I'm also rather skeptical of things like miracles and the like.

I hear you on the skepticism relating to miracles (and in particular the lives of the Saints which I find stretching my credulity to the limit. I know there's a kernel of truth in there, but I certainly don't cotton to the idea of some elder being carried on the back of a demon to celebrate the liturgy in Jerusalem). There have been personal experiences, however, that have confirmed for ME that God is real. I generally do not share these since I see little point in it.

 
Quote
So I'm left not really having anything solid that I hang on to, and yet I still keep coming back to believing. So I was curious to see why others believe. I feel like at this point I could argue against God's existence better than I could argue for His existence, in spite of me believing that He exists. It's a rather strange place to be, intellectually speaking.

It seems to me that a life that is pious (as much as is possible) and filled with peace is the best argument one can give for one's belief. Intellectual arguments, arguments from science or from the bible... for the most part turn the majority off. But a life that is filled with peace is one that cannot be easily blown off. Folks want peace and they are attracted to those who possess it. St Seraphim: find peace and those about you will find their salvation.
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« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2009, 02:48:27 PM »

Love and peace are the only items that one can acquire that bring true happiness.  Love and peace are the cure for all problems. Jesus Christ is the “Teacher” that provides us with this awesome instruction and was living proof of God’s great love for us.

Absolutely agree.
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« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2009, 04:49:33 PM »

My parents and grandparents taught me to pray.  I've always felt God's presence.  As I grew, attending Liturgy and Sunday School, I learned about God and His Faith.  Upon graduation from Sunday School (as a high school junior), my parish priest gave me a book about the Divine Liturgy (by Fr. George Papadeas
-Patmos Press), that brought together all I had learned, but maybe didn't quite understand.  Soon, I attended a newly developing parish nearer my home where the new young priest said the Consecretion in English.  Only the organ played "We Praise Thee..." until after the three "Amens."  Hearing "Send down Thy Holy Spirit upon us and upon these Gifts here spread forth..." made it real to me, beyond imagination.  That same priest gave a tour of our newly constructed church.  I was fascinated about what the symbolism meant. During my 20's, I couldn't find enough to read to satisfy my thirst for knowledge about our Bless Faith. Today, I've been chanting in that parish for 38 years and God has blessed my life beyond anything imaginable. 

Praise God for our Blessed Holy Orthodoxy!
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« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2009, 06:29:47 PM »

I really don't know why I'm a believer. But I suspect that if there was a "concrete reason" to believe in God, then it wouldn't be faith, it would just be knowledge. I did choose personal experience though because I experience faith as a personal encounter.

I thought of choosing "personal experience", but hesitated because personal experience can be so subjective. I can definitely look at incidents in my life and say that I believe God was involved, but my problem is, how can I be sure that I'm just not allowing my emotions to rule my head - or presuming to count the mundane as divine intervention, and risking pride in the process? Or is personal experience something else? I know of so many airy-fairy Christians who truly believe that God arranges parking places for them when they are running late to an appointment, whereas I might be thankful to get the parking place, I don't necessarily think that God arranged the cosmos so that I did. I guess I'm asking what is really meant by "personal experience".  Grin
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« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2009, 01:52:20 AM »

John 20:28-29 (NKJV) sums it up for me:

28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”


I voted: just believe, lives of saints and witness of martyrs.

Edited for context
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« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2009, 02:28:55 AM »

I apologize that I didn't have more voting options. It was only after I submitted the poll and saw some of the responses that I realised that I left some significant ones out (at the very least there should have been an "other" option). It has been interesting reading the responses, though.  I actually expected a higher vote count for the Nature/Fine-Tuned Universe argument. I wonder how different the poll results would be if it was on an Evangelical forum. Thank you for all of your comments. I feel silly saying that, as I know it wasn't just for me that people responded, but I did get something out of the thread, so I wanted to thank you all anyway.
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« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2009, 02:57:50 AM »

Re. REPLY #16, Riddikulus, I find myself always wondering about whether God has chosen to influence the mundane things that impact life.  I do not know.  Obviously, in the larger picture, I have a sense for when God is guiding me, in both pleasing and non-pleasing circumstances, but I always question the mundane things, good and bad, as to whether they are Godly inspired, or directed,  or not. 
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« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2009, 06:32:29 AM »

I guess I'm asking what is really meant by "personal experience". 
In this case, and for me, "personal experience" is an encounter of Persons- my person with the Person of the Man-God. I have met Him, broken and suffering on the streets and in hospital beds. He has smiled and placed a comforting Hand on my shoulder when I've been afraid. He has waited patiently as a Loving Friend when I strayed off and embraced me with joy when I returned. I have been able to do seemingly impossible things despite my fear and instinct for self-preservation because I love Him.
No simple "idea" or "philosophy" can explain these things. The only explanation is that Christ is not an "idea" but an actual Person.
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« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2009, 08:47:38 AM »

I guess I'm asking what is really meant by "personal experience". 
In this case, and for me, "personal experience" is an encounter of Persons- my person with the Person of the Man-God. I have met Him, broken and suffering on the streets and in hospital beds. He has smiled and placed a comforting Hand on my shoulder when I've been afraid. He has waited patiently as a Loving Friend when I strayed off and embraced me with joy when I returned. I have been able to do seemingly impossible things despite my fear and instinct for self-preservation because I love Him.
No simple "idea" or "philosophy" can explain these things. The only explanation is that Christ is not an "idea" but an actual Person.

Oh, yes - I do see. That is very beautiful, George. I feel shamed that I didn't think of "personal experience" in those terms.  Cry

God be with you, dear brother.
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« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2009, 11:34:10 AM »

I agree. This is very well expressed ozgeorge. Thanks.
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« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2009, 03:55:41 PM »

Does anyone know of an essay or article online that deals with believing in God based on religious experience (the argument from religious experience)?
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« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2009, 04:25:27 PM »

I first had to believe that there was an Afterlife. Once I accepted that, it became necessary to prepare. The best way I found to prepare was Christianity. The Christian Church teaches the existence of God. I trust the Church based on it's history and the examples it has set for us to follow. I also later came to believe that the Bible was reliable as well as beautiful.

 
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« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2009, 05:11:20 PM »

As ridiculous as it may sound, I just cannot see myself not believing in God.  Granted, I have gone through spurts where I have not cared whether I believed in Him, but I simply cannot fathom living my life without HIm in it in some way.  I suppose it was just instilled in me since I was young by my parents and reinforced.  It wasn't because of evidence or philosphical proofs or miracles.  In short, I just don't know why.  And I don't think we have to know the answer either.
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« Reply #26 on: October 20, 2009, 05:42:29 PM »

A great topic!

I was confronted by a person with this very question. He asked me "Why do you believe in God?"

I was dumbfounded because I did not know how to answer. His eyes were beaming into me waiting with anticipation for an answer.

I looked at him sheepishly and replied "I just believe." His reaction to my answer was one of disdain because I did not give him a logical or scientific answer.

Going home that night I was troubled because I still could not honestly answer that question sufficiently. Other thoughts started entering my mind such as, Does God exist? Have I been misled by the Christian Faith? Am I fool for believing in something without explaining why I believe?

This constant torment of thoughts went on for days. I tried to pray but even started to question the power and effect of prayer...

Eventually I gradually started to realize for myself that I believe in God because He is real!

I believe in God because every day He is calling to me!

He is calling me to repent and change my sinful ways!

I believe He is calling everyone to Himself and in most cases we just do not listen!

We do not listen because we are too busy with other facets of life and His calling is overwhelmed by the constant clatter.

I believe if everyone on earth makes an effort to listen they will hear the calling as I have and continue to have everyday of my life.

Lord have mercy on me a sinner.




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« Reply #27 on: October 20, 2009, 06:10:24 PM »

I believe becaue the existence of God can be demonstrated by reason.
I believe because I think that the order of our universe demands a creator.
I believe becuase there is a strong historical case for the ressurrection of Christ.
I believe because no philosophy but the Christian faith can answer the deepest longings of the human heart.
I believe because when I see people who truely live a life of sanctity I see happiness but when I see man try to satisfy his own desires with hedonism, then I see unhappiness.
I believe because Christ has revealed himself to me in the Blessed Sacrament.
I believe because God loves me and calls me to himself everyday.
I believe because of the beauty of the Catholic faith.
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« Reply #28 on: October 20, 2009, 06:52:00 PM »

Does anyone know of an essay or article online that deals with believing in God based on religious experience (the argument from religious experience)?
Here's a good one.
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« Reply #29 on: October 20, 2009, 06:56:14 PM »

Does anyone know of an essay or article online that deals with believing in God based on religious experience (the argument from religious experience)?
Here's a good one.
That is a good one.
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« Reply #30 on: October 20, 2009, 07:05:59 PM »

Quote
Here's a good one.

Thanks. Smiley Do you know of one that is more philosophical/general, and isn't based on the Christian Scripture?
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« Reply #31 on: October 20, 2009, 07:52:12 PM »

Quote
Here's a good one.

Thanks. Smiley Do you know of one that is more philosophical/general, and isn't based on the Christian Scripture?
Check out The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis and If There's a God, Why are there Atheists?, by R.C. Sproul
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« Reply #32 on: October 20, 2009, 08:02:19 PM »

I don't really know if there is a reason; my religion is not a preference or a belief but a relationship. To me, the idea that God could not exist is just as silly as if someone tried to convince me my father doesn't exist. I don't need to be convinced he exists, because I have experienced enough with my father that any argument toward that end would be futile. Same with God; the experience speaks for itself.
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« Reply #33 on: October 20, 2009, 09:12:53 PM »

I would say that I just believe.  If I am in danger, my heart automatically cries out to God for help, therefore I know that I believe in Him.
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« Reply #34 on: October 21, 2009, 02:08:58 AM »

I believe in God for the same reason I believe in air. I breathe, thus I know that air exists. I exist, thus I know that God is.

BTW, in regards to the poll, can I vote "all of the above?" Smiley


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« Reply #35 on: October 21, 2009, 08:32:03 AM »

BTW, in regards to the poll, can I vote "all of the above?" Smiley
I had the same problem!
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« Reply #36 on: October 21, 2009, 11:36:52 AM »

What reasons do you have for believing in God? What are the strongest reasons that make you believe that God exists? Note that this is not asking why you believe Christianity or Orthodoxy is the true path, but it's just about God's existence. I've set the poll so that you can pick your top three choices. 

Great question! And those were hard choices. In the end I went with; Historical Evidence, Nature, and a Personal Experience.

Historical Evidence in particular of 1st century Judaism, along with, especially the evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Now, technically a guy rising from the dead doesn't "prove" God's existence, as it could have been a string theory once ever 3 billion year event, (though a scientific explanation of course doesn't rule out God's intervention either), but the historical evidence for the Resurrection is pretty solid. People don't think it is because they try to apply the scientific method to history.....which is incorrect. Historical methodology is totally different than the scientific method of say, biology or geology. Most laymen atheists (and apparently most professional atheists) don't know this however (or choose to ignore it) If we required history to be tested by the scientific method we wouldn't know anything about history beyond the oldest living person's lifetime. Anyways, the historical method has pretty strong evidence for Jesus Resurrection.

Second for me is Nature....though not the "fine tuned universe" argument exactly. I accept that idea to a degree, but not the extent that Creation "science" would argue, or God of the gaps or any of that. For me the "God in Nature" is in part based on my 3rd choice, which is Personal Experience. It's not so much that I see a fine tuned echosystem and simply assume an intelligence is behind it, but I see a fine tuned, echosystem and simply perceive something beyond what we can physically see. Definitely arbitrary and definitely more of an experiential thing that "science"....I guess you could say I "see" God's existence reflected in Nature.

Quote
Also, this is not part of the poll, but if someone asked you to defend your belief in God, how well do you think you would do?

I probably wouldn't do that well...LOL! I'm but a laymen in any areas that could be used to reasonably defend God' existence, though on the historical front I'm probably more well versed that just your typical run of the mill atheist on the street. So I might hold up ok with the historical aspect (which I feel is the strongest evidence).

I also think Science itself kind of supports God's existence IMO, particularly cosmology, but also biology and just how there simply is not scientific explanation for so many things, like sapience, love, altruism for other species, or for example how our gene sequences can be SO darn close to other primates and yet we build cathedrals, create art and music, rocket ships and other primates do not. From my limited study there is simply nothing in our DNA sequences that make sense of what makes us "human"...maybe a God of the gaps argument, OTH even if it is simply a "gap" in scientific knowledge, the aquiring of that knowledge in the future doesn't mean God still isn't behind it all.

Quote
The reason I'm asking this is rather personal, in that I find myself believing in God even though I don't really have any concrete reason to. I know about this and that argument for the existence of God, and I also know about this or that rebuttal to those arguments (which I usually find to be as persuasive as the original arguments). I'm also rather skeptical of things like miracles and the like. So I'm left not really having anything solid that I hang on to, and yet I still keep coming back to believing. So I was curious to see why others believe.

In the end, considering I've come through a period of agnosticism once again, I'd say that for me, it boils down to Personal Experience, being the clincher. Historical Evidence put me on the fence leaning towards belief, but it was the personal experience that put me on this side of the fence again. (for the time being...lol!)

I know, not a good answer for say Dawkins....OTH, there is a lot more "evidence" out there that just personal experience. And while these evidences may be scattered over many different disciplines, and in areas most people simply are not familiar with (history, cosmology, etc) well it only "seems" like there isn't much....to me there as someone who remained more agnostic than atheist, there is just as much evidence to believe as not to believe.....but then if you weigh in history, and certain sciences (including string theory of multiple dimensions which makes things like Jesus "walking through walls" scientifically possible, well....I don't think belief in God is "blind" faith......but it DOES seem to always come down to personal experience in the end. And in fact, for me, it was the experience, or LACK of experience that lead me towards doubt, despite evidence to the contrary.


Quote
I feel like at this point I could argue against God's existence better than I could argue for His existence, in spite of me believing that He exists. It's a rather strange place to be, intellectually speaking.

I'm sort of there too. And in fact, I've found myself defending atheists and atheism even as a believer because Christians in particular usually misrepresent atheism just as atheism misrepresents religion. Even people like Dawkins aren't all we make them out to be. (he seems to be someone I could hang out with as long as we didn't debate religion, he's certainly not a raving lunatic or mad scientist bent on killing religious people as he's often taken out of context and made out to be by us Christians) I disagree strongly with his approach, and he can be abrassive, I think Michael Shermer is far more easier listen to or read and he doesn't bash religious people per se....

Ironically, Carl Sagan is another skeptic who's teaching and books have actually helped lead me away from agnosticism, and in the end, he wasn't an "atheist" but an agnostic, and even his widow has implied he may have believed in God, just not in any of the interpretations of God the world religions have put forth. (which is kind of where I usually end up in my periods of doubt....flat out atheism when I truly contemplate it, has always seemed just to rediculous to me)

For the record I was not raised in a "religious home" per se.....I never even set foot in a Church until I was 19 at a friends wedding....we "believed in God" and I was baptized in the Catholic Church as a baby, but the extent of our religious practices were of course Christmas and the baby Jesus, and Easter where I was vaguely aware of Jesus dying on the cross and "rising" from the dead...(though I never took the Resurrection as literal, or I don't think I did)....so I wasn't indoctrinated as a kid and if I "returned to the religion of my childhood" it would be what I described at not what I am now. Smiley

Anyways great question....and timely for me as well.


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« Reply #37 on: October 21, 2009, 12:25:20 PM »

Ironically, Carl Sagan is another skeptic who's teaching and books have actually helped lead me away from agnosticism, and in the end, he wasn't an "atheist" but an agnostic, and even his widow has implied he may have believed in God, just not in any of the interpretations of God the world religions have put forth. (which is kind of where I usually end up in my periods of doubt....flat out atheism when I truly contemplate it, has always seemed just to rediculous to me)

I have always loved Dr. Carl Sagan's works.  You are definitely right, he seemed to be an Agnostic that had more Spiritual Naturalist leanings now and then.  I find his views to be some of the healthiest of the "skeptic" field, since he truly sticks to scepticism and doesn't fall into the illogical trap of strong atheism.
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« Reply #38 on: November 03, 2009, 01:47:37 AM »

Ran across this quote in a document I have on my computer and thought I'd post it in this thread...

"The so-called logical evidence for the existence of God is: the cosmological, theological, psychological, historical, ethical proofs, and many more, which, through the passing of time have been formulated into philosophical rationalism. They cannot, in the Dogmatics of the Orthodox Church, have a value of real evidence because they are based on the principles of the relative, limited, sinful minds and senses of humanity. To the Church and the Revelation, the truth about the existence of God is an illogical and irrational hypothesis, which has the need of proof with the basis of logical reasoning, the truth which God has revealed to us, and is therefore the unquestionable, true evidence. As a divine and given reality, this truth is not dependent on proof and arguments from rational functions of the mind." - Fr. Justin Popovich, Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ, p. 202
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« Reply #39 on: November 03, 2009, 02:21:47 AM »

I love St. Justin. He captures it perfectly.
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« Reply #40 on: November 03, 2009, 05:45:06 AM »

Ran across this quote in a document I have on my computer and thought I'd post it in this thread...

"The so-called logical evidence for the existence of God is: the cosmological, theological, psychological, historical, ethical proofs, and many more, which, through the passing of time have been formulated into philosophical rationalism. They cannot, in the Dogmatics of the Orthodox Church, have a value of real evidence because they are based on the principles of the relative, limited, sinful minds and senses of humanity. To the Church and the Revelation, the truth about the existence of God is an illogical and irrational hypothesis, which has the need of proof with the basis of logical reasoning, the truth which God has revealed to us, and is therefore the unquestionable, true evidence. As a divine and given reality, this truth is not dependent on proof and arguments from rational functions of the mind." - Fr. Justin Popovich, Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ, p. 202

Excellent quote, and I couldn't agree more!
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« Reply #41 on: November 03, 2009, 07:10:25 AM »

What reasons do you have for believing in God? What are the strongest reasons that make you believe that God exists? Note that this is not asking why you believe Christianity or Orthodoxy is the true path, but it's just about God's existence. I've set the poll so that you can pick your top three choices. 

Also, this is not part of the poll, but if someone asked you to defend your belief in God, how well do you think you would do?

The reason I'm asking this is rather personal, in that I find myself believing in God even though I don't really have any concrete reason to. I know about this and that argument for the existence of God, and I also know about this or that rebuttal to those arguments (which I usually find to be as persuasive as the original arguments). I'm also rather skeptical of things like miracles and the like. So I'm left not really having anything solid that I hang on to, and yet I still keep coming back to believing. So I was curious to see why others believe. I feel like at this point I could argue against God's existence better than I could argue for His existence, in spite of me believing that He exists. It's a rather strange place to be, intellectually speaking.


A combination of Experience & Intuition






But I would like to ask you:

Why did the family from which the exorcist movie was based believe in the existence of demons?


Why did the family from which the movie "the exorcism of Emily Rose" believe in the existence if demons?


Why would anyone believe in the existence of something they can't see?








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« Reply #42 on: November 03, 2009, 07:23:39 AM »

jnorm888,

Quote
Why did the family from which the exorcist movie was based believe in the existence of demons?
Why did the family from which the movie "the exorcism of Emily Rose" believe in the existence if demons?

They read the New Testament and took it seriously and literally, I would wager.

Quote
Why would anyone believe in the existence of something they can't see?

Oh, I'm sure we all believe in things we can't see. Gravity, for example. However, I would say that there's a difference between believing in something we can't see (gravity), and believing in something we have little to no evidence for (demons). While we can't "see" gravity, we can still see the consequences of it, and it is my understand that scientifically-inclined folk have a well-evidenced theory for how/why it works. The evidence for demons, on the other hand, has not done as well over the past 2,000 years.
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« Reply #43 on: November 03, 2009, 10:48:26 AM »

jnorm888,

Quote
Why did the family from which the exorcist movie was based believe in the existence of demons?
Why did the family from which the movie "the exorcism of Emily Rose" believe in the existence if demons?

They read the New Testament and took it seriously and literally, I would wager.

Quote
Why would anyone believe in the existence of something they can't see?

Oh, I'm sure we all believe in things we can't see. Gravity, for example. However, I would say that there's a difference between believing in something we can't see (gravity), and believing in something we have little to no evidence for (demons). While we can't "see" gravity, we can still see the consequences of it, and it is my understand that scientifically-inclined folk have a well-evidenced theory for how/why it works. The evidence for demons, on the other hand, has not done as well over the past 2,000 years.
I don't know. Some acts of grave evil in our world seem to be so evil that they deny natural explanation. Of course this is a subjective arguement.
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« Reply #44 on: November 03, 2009, 11:10:26 AM »

Oh, I'm sure we all believe in things we can't see. Gravity, for example. However, I would say that there's a difference between believing in something we can't see (gravity), and believing in something we have little to no evidence for (demons). While we can't "see" gravity, we can still see the consequences of it, and it is my understand that scientifically-inclined folk have a well-evidenced theory for how/why it works. The evidence for demons, on the other hand, has not done as well over the past 2,000 years.

But it's only in the last century that scientifically-inclined folk have had a 'well-evidenced theory for how/why it works'; and it was only for a few centuries before that that they had an even rudimentary description of how it worked (other than, 'stuff falls'). That doesn't mean that a first-century individual (or a 16th century Aborigine or a pre-Dynastic Egyptian) didn't *know* that gravity existed. Even if they couldn't begin to explain or even really describe it.

Yes, it's an imperfect anology to the existence of God (and yes, I'm ignoring the fact that this part of the thread was actually revolving around existance of demons), because gravity is a physical force and my first-century individual could *see* things fall. And while most of humanity survived without one, as a physical force, scientists were able to come with an explanation, whereas, by definition, a truly transcendent Deity will never be circumscrible or rationally explainable to contingent minds such as ours. But still, just as I know, in my body (without reference to any scientific textbook) that if I step off a cliff, I will fall, I know, in my soul, that there is a numinous reality beyond what I can see.

Logic, historical study, individual experience, etc went into my determination that that reality is the revelation of Christ, but I could no more disbelieve in God than I can disbelieve in the existence of my body.
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