Why Believe in God?
Paul DeanDr. Paul J. Dean's Weblog
- 2008 Nov 14
In a world committed to relativism the question of why believe in God makes sense. At the same time, it really makes no sense to deny there is a God.
Fox News: “Ads proclaiming, ‘Why believe in a god? Just be good for
goodness' sake,’ will appear on
In light of the implication, three questions are raised. 1) Is it rational to believe in God? 2) Can we philosophically affirm being good simply for the sake of being good? 3) Why believe in God?
First, is it rational to believe in God? Quite simply, the answer is “yes.” In fact, it is irrational to deny God. The typical humanist/atheist denies the existence of God on philosophical grounds rooted in naturalism: the notion that all that exists is the physical world we can observe with our senses. The atheist asserts with absolute certainty: “there is no God.” The simple question before him then is this: “how do you know there is no God?” He will cite a lack of evidence; he has never seen God. On his worldview however, he does not know there is no God because he has not investigated every square inch of the universe. God might be hiding behind Jupiter for all he knows. He is being philosophically inconsistent. Therefore, his rejection of God at that point is irrational. He is completely uncertain as to whether or not there is a God or as to whether or not he can know there is a God.
On a Christian worldview we may assert with absolute philosophical certainty that there is a God. We acquire knowledge through investigation, but we also acquire knowledge by way of revelation. God has revealed Himself to us. We can say “there is a God.” We cannot prove God scientifically, but, our worldview is consistent and therefore completely rational.
Second, Can we philosophically affirm being good simply for the sake of being good? The American Humanist Association defines humanism as “as a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.” On what basis can one affirm responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity apart from God? He cannot.
For example, on a naturalistic worldview, we are here by accident and therefore have no purpose, no absolute standard of right and wrong, and cease to exist when we die. Without purpose or a standard, it is philosophically inconsistent to say persons should be good. Moreover, who defines “good” on such a worldview? The relativist has the same problems. If there is no standard, no one can define “good” for another. Someone might say our survival depends on being good. Answer: on that worldview, who says survival is good and again, what is being good?
On a Christian worldview, we are specially created by God with purpose and we are given a standard by which to live. What we do in this life matters in eternity. That alone is a rational basis for being good.
Third, why believe in God? The question has already been answered though a few implications will serve to highlight it further.
1) A belief in God provides the only rational basis for goodness, morality, ethics, or the rule of law. These things make no sense without a universal standard.
2) A belief in God provides the only rational explanation for metaphysical dynamics like laws of logic, the mind, or language. Where do such things come from on a naturalistic worldview?
3) A belief in God provides the only rational basis for the scientific method. Such a method presupposes a universe of design and order, not one that came to be by chance.
4) A belief in God provides the only rational basis for liberty and justice for all. Such things are rooted in the justice of God. Apart from Him, those in power make the rules. Long term freedom for all people can only be sustained in a society rooted in Christian worldview. When the Christian worldview goes, liberty goes with it.
5) A belief in God provides the only rational answers to ultimate questions including how we got here, what the purpose and meaning of life is, how we must live, and what happens when we die. Apart from God, individual hedonism and despair are the only logical conclusions.
6) A belief in God provides the only rational basis to seek salvation for the soul. When one comes face to face with the futility of everything apart from God, he is ready to hear the gospel.
It is the humanist who needs a dose of critical thinking, not the Christian. For in Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3).”
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