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