Re: Why believe in God? Or, why not believe in God?
I think that it is a very good question to be asked and is the important question to be asked. The question should not be: does god exist? It should be what are the advantages to believing in a god? You see god exists if we create him. God in the middle ages was as real as the United States government is real today.
Telling me that god doesn't exist and that we are here by chance because of a collision of atoms is like telling me that it is possible that all of the letters of the alphabet will come together in the order of a perfect philosophical discussion by a fortuitous collision of the letters. You see I find it foolish the elitist nature some atheists take in their beliefs. They say they don't bow down and worship anything or anyone that they are "free" so to speak. Well free from what themselves? They seem to be ignoring the human condition in which they are as much slaves to their bodies as all of us are.
I ask you is it beneficial when trying to be a sprinter say, to listen to a trainer or listen to all advice? I should think you would answer it is beneficial to listen to a trainer who tells you how to eat healthy and run fast. If you believe in what the trainer tells you than you may become a much a better sprinter, and when you have become a much better sprinter it might be better for your inner self. We don't need to fuss over the foolishness of running in circles or how the trainers advice is all inventions of human thought. Yes running in circle is foolish but so are all things that us humans do. That doesn't mean that they wont help our lives.
God in my opinion is a symbol for the highest form of the human condition. Something that unites us so that we can work from each other to acomplish nothing really but in doing nothing together we might just yet be actually doing something. Many people instead like to boast their intelligence and be miserable as a consequence for it.
Belief in something larger than oneself is central having intelligent thoughts and a worthwhile life. Socrates said he knew nothing and he is considered one of the most wise to ever live. Here is one of my favorite quotations from a sociologist named Emile Durkheim:
“You cannot find a lie you must make it for yourself. False things can be imagined and composed, but only the truth can be invented.” (Durkheim).
You see we know nothing about why we are here and all of the questions that surround our lives. Unfortunately science gives us truths but they are not the only truths. How can I ever trust anything my body tells me. I tell you know that the keys on this computer are real but how do I know that. Because when I put my hands over them I get a physical sensation which my culture has taught my body to interpret in a certain way.
“Did you see the paper today. There’s a really interesting study that was done that seems to suggest that general Mills cookie dough if enough is consumed in a timely manner can lead to weight loss. It appears that there is something in the cyclonite of the cookie dough that helps to break down calories if it is consumed in the right way.”
Is this above statement true or false I ask you? If I were to have told you this statement today before you had gotten your hands on the times what would your response be. An important cultural critic Neil Postman used to do this study with his colleagues and he reported that a large majority of the time they would respond with answers such as “wow really” or “I need to get my hands on the paper than I guess” or “wow how did they go about proving that”.
Usually no one simply laughs at this statement and says that it is false with the utmost absolute certainty. Indeed the gullible nature of our lives today does not allow us to hold on to very many truths at all.
Postman gives us the analogy of a deck of cards. If you were to play a game with a deck of cards in which after seeing one card you are to guess what the next one is it would be much harder to do with a shuffled deck as opposed to a new one fresh out of the box which has been purposely put in order by the manufacturer or the creator of the cards. You find that indeed when the deck is new and was purposely put in order you can say with certainty that following the ace will be the king, and when you have shuffled the deck that your chances of guessing the next card after the ace have no logical or educated guess.
People today who worship science as the only truth in the universe seem to be playing this very game with themselves except with a shuffled deck. They lay clinging as they go through the deck over and over again hoping that one day they will find the “secret of life” which will allow them to finally guess right in the fortuitous deck. That one day, science will finally give them the long awaited reason and truth that is free from the hands of human creation.
The irony of the situation is that Science already did give us the secret to life. It gave us a secret to life with the Manhattan project in the middle of the 20th century. The death of all beings in a formula can be viewed as one of the wonders of the world.
Well anyway just some thoughts I had on your question. I know nothing and these are just some criticisms I have formulated of other people's understanding of life and God. I don't profess to have any answers or solutions to life. I realize my opinions are marginal and that much of what I have said may be false to others. I would love to hear any criticism's of these ideas.