May 9, 2017
Okay. Big topic! Yuuuuuuuge topic! Only many, many thousands of words, pages, and books have been written on this one. So why am I writing yet another one? Well, are there still any atheists out there? Yep. Even after all that has been written on the subject. So why not add a few more words to the mountain of words that have already been written? Why not, indeed?
Let me begin by saying that I came to the conclusion that God definitely exists, late in life. The reason for this is that although I had been churched in my youth, no one had ever taken the time to lay it all out for me in the way I’m going to do here. Furthermore, I did not want anyone to lay it out like this. I did not want to know the truth, because I feared that the truth might give me sufficient reason not to live my life the way I darn well pleased. In short, I was willfully ignorant. Blissfully ignorant. Until one day, I wasn’t.
Then, I wished with all of my being that I had not ignored the truth for so long. So many years of my life, wasted, chasing personal goals and getting nowhere fast. And more and more miserable with each passing year. Until finally, I could no longer ignore it. I had to get to the bottom of it. No more putting it off. No more agnosticism. No more excuses.
So I did. And here is what I found:
Reason 1: If there is no God, then I am just a bunch of molecules behaving in a highly organized manner according to the physical laws of chemical reactions that were initiated with the Big Bang. And if that’s true, then I am unaccountable for my behavior, I am merely doing what I was bound to do the instant the Universe exploded into being (which means I cannot be judged by anyone for anything I do). Furthermore, I will continue to do what those chemical reactions cause me to do, whether I like it or not. And when I say do, I also mean think. The decisions I make, everything, are just chemical reactions. I have no soul. I have no reason for existing. No one is greater than me. No one’s opinion is any more valid than mine. And finally, there is no right or wrong. No good or evil. Just physics and chemistry doing what the laws of nature dictate.
Now stop and think about this for a moment. It isn’t really an argument for the existence of God. It is more like a reason to want God to exist. Because if God does not exist, and if everyone knew it, imagine what kind of hell this world would be then! Anything goes! If it feels good, even if it harms someone else, who cares? Do it. After all, you are just doing what the laws of physics and chemistry dictated you would do long before you ever came into existence.
And if this is true, then why do so many people choose to aim for being, at least to some degree, good? Why do the concepts of good and evil exist? Why are children born with an innate sense of justice? Chemical reactions again? And where do we get the desire to live from? Why do we care? Chemical reactions? And what about one of the fundamental tenets of Evolutionary Theory, the desire to reproduce? Where did that come from? Chemical reactions, again?
This last one is particularly difficult because if there is no God, then there never was any reason for any cluster of molecules to “want” to reproduce. Go check your chemistry and physics books and see if you can find any of them that say anything about molecules or matter “wanting” to do anything. You won’t find it. Matter behaves according to the laws of physics. Molecules behave according to the laws of chemistry. Period. Done. There is no law in either of these disciplines about anything “wanting” to do anything.
While Reason 1 still does not prove the existence of God, let me just say that it provides a very compelling case in favor of hoping God exists. The existence of God makes the Universe a whole lot more tolerable.
Reason 2: Back to the Big Bang. The one question that scientists unanimously agree can never be answered is what existed before the Big Bang? It is unknowable. No one is even working on it.
So why does this matter? It matters because according to Big Bang theory, the entire Universe was once completely compressed into a single point. A volume-less point. A singularity as mathematicians and scientist call it. In other words, it did not exist. So, from out of nothing, total nothingness, with nothing existing, no God, no nothing to cause the Universe to come into existence, somehow, we are supposed to believe it just did. And not only that, but why it did can never be known.
I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t really sound like something a real scientist who is being honest with him or herself could believe. I would say it takes a bigger act of faith to believe that than to simply believe that God exists and he caused the Universe to come into existence. Even if you go no further than that in your belief.
Reason 3: No one has yet even come close to causing life to spontaneously arise from inanimate matter.
Okay, this reason has only been available to us for the last few decades, because we have only recently achieved the level of knowledge of microorganisms and how they work that we should be able to, in the laboratory, under the most highly controlled circumstances imaginable, cause inanimate matter to come to life. Think about this. We are told, and are supposed to believe, that life spontaneously arose in our Universe simply because the odds were that on at least one planet among many billions of planets in one galaxy among many billions of galaxies, just the right conditions under which the sequence of events necessary for life to spontaneously arise were sure to occur. And furthermore, that those events did occur simply because the right conditions were present.
Okay. Fine. What, exactly, were those conditions? There have been a number of theories postulated on this one. One that most people are familiar with is some kind of primordial soup or muck where the right combination of naturally occurring organic molecules happened to be in the right place at the right time with just the right application of energy and other conditions that suddenly, just the right chemical reactions occurred and something remotely resembling life suddenly came into existence. That thing, whatever it was, was somehow motivated to make more of itself. Furthermore, it had to already have some sort of scheme for doing so, therefore it had to be a pretty complicated molecule or cluster of molecules!
But, supposedly, it was bound to happen due to the incredible number of opportunities that, by the law of averages, existed and yet still exist in a Universe that still, no one, can explain why it exists in the first place, and no one is even attempting to explain, because everyone agrees that it is unknowable. And on top of that, if it could conceivably happen by accident under the right conditions, then why have we not simply demonstrated it in the laboratory? We don’t need to wait for it to happen again in nature so we can observe it. We should be able to simply recreate those conditions in a controlled environment and make life spontaneously arise from inanimate matter. But we can’t. Even with all of the incredible technology available to us in this amazing day and age, we can’t do in a laboratory what we think happened simply by accident in nature! Really???
Right. Seems to me that it is a whole lot simpler, although maybe not nearly as much fun to contemplate, to believe that God made it happen. For those of you out there that are adherents to Occam’s Razor, God is right up your alley!
Reason 4: Geologic time isn’t even remotely enough time for random mutations and natural selection to take us from inanimate molecules to human beings. Sure, four billion or so years is a LOT of time, but it turns out, if you do the math, that it would take many trillions of years just for an extremely simple 200-component organism to evolve by random mutations and natural selection. The math has been done. The jury is back. The verdict is in and the case is closed. The fundamental tenets of Evolutionary Theory are so flawed they don’t even begin to account for the complexity of living organisms on Earth. The belief that eventually all the remaining unknowns and missing components of Evolutionary Theory will be discovered is a vastly greater act of faith than simply believing in the existence of God.
Reason 5: No one has ever managed, under the utmost controlled circumstances, to cause one species of animal to evolve into another. Think about this one. Humans have been using breeding techniques for thousands of years to modify successive generations of living organisms in such a way as to give them certain desired characteristics. So why is it that no one has actually started with one species of animal and continued to modify it through successive generations until the result is a new species? Forget about causing life to spontaneously arise in a laboratory, we can’t even do something so simple as taking an already living organism and accelerated natural selection by using human selection to cause it to evolve into something so different as to be an altogether different species. And yet, we are supposed to believe that it happened millions of times by chance in nature. Brutal.
Reason 6: Ever thought you had a question about God, the answer to which, no one could possibly conceive? Guess what, it has been answered. Yes. Not only has someone already thought of it, but someone really, really smart, and often many really, really smart people, have already done all the work for you and answered it. After thousands of years, rest assured, there are no new questions to be asked about God. And after just as many years, those questions have all already been tackled and answered. Just because you don’t know the answer, and can’t imagine one could exist, doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t know the answer and hasn’t already answered it. The internet is an amazing tool. Google it.
If that doesn’t satisfy you, then I suggest reading the works of some of the greatest minds to ever tackle the most difficult questions imaginable about God and world we live in. One of them is C.S. Lewis, but if you prefer someone more contemporary, try Tim Keller. Or just walk into any Christian bookstore and you will find shelves of books written by prominent Christian apologists who have answered every question of which you can think. The only reason anyone can give for not knowing the answers is not trying (or wanting) to find out.
Reason 7: The proof is out there. Yes. That’s right. If you need proof, it exists. More than one book out there has been written for the average reader that assembles all of the known information about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and presents the evidence in a logical order such that by the time you reach the end of the book, the proof cannot be refuted. At least, not by any reasonable person. And if you consider yourself a reasonable person, then you are left with no choice but to believe that not only is there a God, but that Jesus was God incarnate. And after all, if Jesus really existed and really was who He said He was, then it follows naturally that God must exist. Two books I know of on the subject are: The Case for Faith, by Lee Strobel and Cold Case Christianity, by J. Warner Wallace. I’ve read the second one and seen the movie (The Case for Christ) for the first one. Both are excellent.
There are many, many more reasons than these, but they are reasons that, as time has gone by, I have come to adopt as a result of my continuing search for the truth. Reading about and discussing the teachings of Jesus with Christians that I admire and respect, as well as listening weekly to sermons by pastors who have vastly more knowledge than I, have greatly broadened my understanding of God and Christianity. I would encourage anyone who wants to get to the bottom of this matter to do the same. Discovering God is a journey. You follow a path. Everyone is not on the same place on that path. You don’t have to believe everything all at once. Maybe you only decide one little thing might be true and pursue it. Over time, you gain more confidence in your belief that that little thing is true. Then maybe you start to see other things that you might be able to believe. As you investigate those, in time, you grow in your new beliefs. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes a desire to know the truth.
Maybe you are still not convinced. I get it. Letting go of something you have believed for so many years is a hurdle far too high for most people to jump. Furthermore, it is likely that not only you hold your beliefs, but you also associate with others who believe the same things you do. They are your friends. You love them. Most people don’t want to give up their friends, which is what frequently happens when someone reverses their position on this particular topic (it’s just that hot). This topic is of such a magnitude and of such great import that people don’t just wake up one day and say, “Hey, I think I’m going to believe in God now!” It takes time. For some people, it takes a LOT of time. (And for some people, time runs out first.) Don’t worry. God has plenty of time. He can wait. He is patient. He invented patience! He knows you. He loves you. And He is willing to wait as long as it takes for you to discover Him. He wants you to discover Him. But you have to come to Him. He is assuredly pursuing you, but He is God, after all.
C.S. Lewis once said, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
I wish you the very best in your journey and I am simply glad that maybe, just maybe, you are on the path to discovering the truth.
God bless you on your journey.