Intellectual Reasons for the Faith, part 1: Why believe in God?


            Why believe in God? We can’t see Him. We can’t feel Him. We can’t hear Him.  We can’t touch Him. And human emotions and zeal were never designed to establish any universal truth: in fact, I know of at least one Christian who later rejected the notion of God after realizing that when he had believed in Him it was due to his highly charged emotional need/state.  After he came off his emotional high, he asked himself ‘now was this real or just an experience?’ After his emotions subsided and he had time to think, he wondered if it was all real or just an emotional way to cope with life. Apart from reasons (natural, Scriptural and doctrinal), once the energy and excitement of the emotions are gone, many have left the faith because they did not have any intellectually good reasons to continue to believe. This is a well-established problem among Charismatics who constantly have to go back to church to “recharge their faith” with more positive “thinking” (which they call “faith”) only to go home to continue the fight with their doubts by some type of zealous emotional religious activity.  Some end up leaving the faith while others continue the fight with their emotions and religious zeal.  Those who try to work on their faith through their emotions never really get to the place where they believe that Christianity is true beyond any shadow of doubt. By the way a person who stays in Christianity merely for personal practical reasons really does not think that Christianity is all about  absolute Truth—the metanarrative (universal absolute truth that applies to all people at all times regardless of how anyone feels about it)!  A person who stays in Christianity for merely pragmatic reasons really has no confidence that Christianity really is all about the Truth.  What a person needs is reasons to believe— his emotions simply cannot get the job done. Note what Paul said about the unsaved Jew that ‘they had a zeal for the God, but not in accordance with truth.’ Their zeal was as apparent as it was fanatical and it was for the true God.  However, they would still end up in Hell because of rejection of Christ. Truth simply cannot be established on human sentiments.  Zeal was not the answer. What they needed was Truth.  And Truth is what Christianity is all about.  

             Without good reasons for the faith, the person simply either leaves the faith or continues to play the religious game. If he does not leave the faith, the person will sooner or later default to a mindset of faith in faith—which really is a faith that has been bifurcated from truth, a faith that has been separated from truth. I do need to add: once a person believes in Jesus for eternal life, even in the midst of a great deal of emotionalism, he is still save forever, for all it takes is just a modicum of faith/truth to receive eternal life.  However, without reasons the person simply lives by faith in faith not because it is absolute truth, not because it is the metanarrative, but because it works and makes their lives more bearable in some way. Among other things such a person is not a seeker of truth because deep down he has become postmodern and no longer believes in absolute truth that applies to all people. The only “truth” the person is interested in is defending what works for him. He has stopped seeking truth because truth simply is not an issue in his life—look at the average believer today! Considering the fact that Christianity is the only philosophical system that celebrates metanarrative Truth, it is aberrant for any believer not to be interested in truth for truth’s sake rather than a “truth” that only helps him. Christ is the Truth and came to testify to the Truth and for a believer not to be a truth-seeker, i.e. a true philosopher (“love of wisdom”), really speaks of a deep down skepticism regarding the reality and/or value of Truth. Such “faith” of a Christian has been separated from truth! Faith without truth is nothing but nonsense! And nonsense has come and boy has it come both inside and outside of the Church!

            So why do you believe in God?  What are the reasons?  Say you just gave someone the gospel, and he responds by “I can’t believe in Jesus because I do not even believe in God—let alone the Bible,” and he adds “why do you believe in God?  Here are some of the things that an emotional or a postmodern Christian would say (things that have nothing to do with reasons or the Bible):  makes me feel better…. works for me….because I just know it is true…. because I felt Him come into my heart….because you just “gotta” believe man…. because I have seen Him work in my own life….because that was the way I was raised.

            I think we can all agree that the unbeliever does not give a whit about all of that “stuff.” These are not reasons. No reasonable person is going to believe in God because of your experience, background, what works for you, and certainly not because of your emotions. Furthermore, the unbeliever deserves a good answer. The Bible commands us to defend the Christian faith by giving a reason for the hope that is in us and to know how to answer the unbeliever (1 Pet. 3:15; Col. 4:6). The Bible commands us to give answers, and the world demands answers. People want answers to their questions. People have objections to Christianity.  They do not believe everything we believe: they do not believe in God, the Bible, Jesus as God, or the metanarrative of Christianity. Do not expect people to take a blind leap based on your faith.       

            Back to our question: Why should anyone believe that God exists? BECAUSE THERE ARE GOOD REASONS TO BELIEVE IN GOD!!     Let’s look at three reasons:

                        #1 - Because of obvious design factor: every design must have a designer. The anthropic principle tells us that from the very moment that the universe starts it was finely tuned, perfectly pre-adapted for human life. There must have been a mind behind it. Biologists tell us that when they look through their microscope and they look into the cell they see that there is enough information in a one celled animal to fill a thousand volumes of the encyclopedia. Now no reasonable/sane person would believe that a thousand volumes of the encyclopedia resulted from an explosion in a printing shop. There must have been an intelligent being behind the information.

                        #2 – The Big Bang: even scientists tell us that the universe had a beginningOf course everything  that has a beginning had a beginner. If this universe began with a Big Bang (however many years ago) and it has been expanding ever since, and if you contract it back, it contracts down to nothing: no space, no matter, no “nothing.  Once there was nothing and then bang and there was something, just like in Genesis 1:1 where we are told God created everything out of nothing (BARA). Robert Jastrow, the famous agnostic astronomer, wrote a book called God and the Astronomer in which he said that all of the evidence points to a supernatural origin of this world “just like the Bible says.”

                        #3 – The Moral Argument: every moral law has a law giver. Every prescription has a prescriber. We all know there is a moral law. We all know that the killing of non-threatening innocent life is wrong, stealing is wrong, bigotry is wrong, defamation of someone’s character is wrong, lying is wrong, et al.  The fact that there are moral laws means that there must be a moral lawgiver—a source for those moral laws.

            If we just put these three reasons together we have a God who is moral, who is also the omnipotent creator of the universe, and who is also the designer with a plan.  What we have is the God of the Bible! The same God that reason and science points to is the same God that Scripture points to. When a person understands the reasons (both inside and outside of Scripture) then he is able to move out of his shadows of doubt. When a person understands the reasons and the importance of reasons then he realizes how unreasonable, irrational, and illogical it would be to not believe in God in light of the evidence. Instead of having difficulty believing in God, he has difficulty seeing how someone could not believe in God in light of what we know about life and the universe. In other words, by orienting to reasons he would have difficulty not believing in God and realize who irrational (mad, insane, absurd, nuts) it would be to believe that all this came from nothing by its own nothingness which nothingness designed it all and which nothingness gave us moral law. By orienting to reasons it is hard not to believe in God. The only way someone could not believe in God in light of these reasons is to take an irrational (illogical, insane) leap of blind faith for which they have no reasons. Any honest atheist will frankly admit, when confronted with these issues, that he has no reasons for disbelieving in GodAll he has is his irrational leap of faith in atheism that denies the very basic laws of science and humanity. He too has a "religious" zeal - but not according to established body of knowledge/science.   

            While reason and science point to the God of the Bible, how do we know that the Bible is the infallible Word of God?  Once we establish that belief in God is in accordance with reason, and that it would be irrational not to believe in God in light of the evidence, what about the Bible? How can we establish it by reason?  In the next DDR, we will look at the rational reasons behind faith that the Bible is in fact the supernatural inerrant Word of God. 

Doctrine matters!