Opinions on why people believe in God
Q1: Why are humans driven to believe in [an abstract] God?
A: God as a notion emerges from the questions that arose from humans since the dawn of sapience: Who am I? From whence did I come? What is the purpose behind my existence? Even though science looks for "how" the world works, it does not look for the "why".
Notional God can be defined as the first cause from which the universe spawned, on the presumption that the past is finite. A point of beginning has made some sense since science took to the Big Bang theory, solidified by Georges LemaÃ®tre, a Roman Catholic priest. The universe is expanding, hence it was once smaller, perhaps infinitely so. His full concept was a "primeval atom" from which the universe spawned. A big bang at the beginning of the universe implies a start. The start of the universe implies a first cause, ergo: God.
Furthermore, we are social creatures, and are hence driven to seek a niche that defines how we participate in society, and this instinct translates easily to existence at large: what is my role in nature? What is my ultimate purpose? Our inherent desire to be part of a greater whole (civilization) has the side effect of creating a desire for absolute inclusion (divine purpose). Maybe that sense of purpose means that a purpose actally exists - that sounds logical to many people. Maybe that 'purpose' is something we want to exist, but does not.
This philosophical belief, called teleology (Greek 'telos' = end / purpose), is a very attractive proposition; we would rather imagine we are princes of the universe than incidental to its nature, and this drives us to make presumptions about God that are not evidenced by observations of nature, such as:
A ii: Whether such a 'divine creator' exists cannot be proved or disproved via hard scientific evidence. Scientists axiomatically believe that the world consists of particles and physical laws governing their behaviour. Taking that for a starting point, it is logical that no hard evidence can be found for the existence of anything spiritual in the cosmos. Any indications (like the ones mentioned above: First Cause, Teleology) are more a matter of philosophical debate rather than something LHC will answer... Q2: Why do humans believe in [a given] God (In this case, specifically Jesus or Yahweh?)
A: The most common reason people believe in the Biblical god is because they were dictated Him in their childhood. As Homo Sapiens is extremely adaptable to clime and circumstance, one of the mechanisms that improves our survival is the open-architecture nature of our minds. We are born with very few instincts, and hence must be taught much by our nurturers (usually, our parents) about how to survive in the specific environment in which we live. Much of Christian dogma is framed in the context of survival: those who toe the line of the Christian faith gain immortality and salvation, where those who do not face the eternal wrath of a vengeful deity. So hereditary religious faith can be explained as a side effect of one of our principal survival mechanisms: our inclination to learn non-critically when we are children. (But note the afterthought, below.)
Humans are also inclined to stay faithful to the religion of their upbringing. In psychology, this is due to a psychological phenomenon called attitude polarization; once humans establish for themselves a specific belief, they seek out and strongly regard new data that confirms this belief, and avoid and disregard new data that is contrary to it. We actually get a mild endorphin rush from hearing someone agree with us, or express an opinion that supports what we already believe. We can see the consequences of this in the wedge partisanship that has run rampant in US politics throughout the Bush administration.
There's a Jesuit saying (either from St. Ignatius of Loyola or St. Francis Xavier) "Give me a child for for his first seven years and I'll give you the man." It usually takes a significant amount of effort and thought or an identity crisis (such as one's sexual orientation being condemned by one's ministry, or a personal betrayal that is not acknowledged by the religious community) to propel a human to change their hereditary belief system at a root level. This is why missionary efforts even to this day seek out children, the downtrodden and the desperate to mine for new converts.
Most people who believe God to be real do so because they were taught as young children that this was the case. They were also allowed to believe in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy, but these beliefs were not indoctrinated and in the fullness of time fell away. Because years of indoctrination, along with the appearance that adults really do believe in God, are hard to eliminate, a child has to be, at the very least, approaching his or her teens before doubts begin to emerge.
An entire industry has been set up to maintain belief that God is real - churches, synagogues, mosques, religious schools, publishing houses, chaplains in schools and in the armed forces, and so on. From cradle to grave, people are exposed to a message that God is real, whatever the evidence.
Several philosophical arguments have been developed over the centuries, to 'prove' that God exists. The fact that new arguments were developed to replace or support old ones, and the fact that new ways of explaining the old arguments, really only proves that these arguments are not proof at all.
Blaise Pascal recognised the impossibility of proving God exists, so he devised 'Pascal's Wager'. He said that belief in God is the most rational choice due to the consequences of being wrong. This is not proof that God exists, but acknowledgement that he may not exist. Indeed, the argument can be reversed in some cases and used to argue for non-belief.
There are tens of proofs for God's existence. These have been recorded for centuries and are easy to look up. However, this subject ultimately becomes one of personal belief, since our possession of free-will mandates that it be possible to put forth arguments (fallacious or not) against every one of the proofs.Link: Is there evidence against Evolution
b) Nothing exists and all is an illusion. There is no reality; there is only nothing.
- This possibility, it should be obvious, is completely self-defeating. In order to even make such a proposition, the subject has to exist in some sense. If all is an illusion, where did the illusion come from? Even the solipsist, who does not believe in the existence of other minds, has to explain the genesis of his own mind.
c) The universe created itself. This is the idea that the universe and all that is in it did not have its origin in something outside itself, but from within.
- Like with the previous two, this makes a logical absurdity. It would be like creating a square triangle. It's impossible. A triangle by definition cannot be square. So creation cannot create itself as it would have to pre-date itself in order to create.
d) Chance created the universe. The odds of winning the lottery are not very good; but given eons of time, everyone will win. While the odds of the universe spontaneously appearing are minuscule, could it happen, given enough time?
- This option is a dishonest sleight of hand that, like "survival of the fittest," amounts to nothing, because it implies that "chance" itself has quantitative causal power.
The word "chance" refers to possibilities. It does not have the power to cause those possibilities. It is nonsense to speak of chance being an agent of creation, since chance is not a force. "What are the odds of the universe being created by chance? Impossible. Chance is no thing. It is not an entity. It has no being, no power, no force. It can effect nothing because it has no causal power within it. It is a word which describes mathematical possibilities which, by a curious flip of the fallacy of ambiguity, slips into the discussion as if it were a entity with real power, the power of creativity." (R.C. Sproul, Not a Chance. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1999.)
e) The universe is created by nothing. Simply put, nothing created the universe.
- The problem here is that it is either a repetition of option "a" (the universe is eternal) or fails due to the irrationality of "d." In our current universe, the law of cause and effect cannot be denied by sane people. While we often don't know what the cause of some effect is, this does not mean that there was no cause. When we go to the doctor looking for an explanation for the cause of our neck pain, we don't accept the answer "There is no cause. It came from nothing."
Now, the other side of the Question: why might people notbelieve in God?
1) Peer influence. In high school, for example, the one or two religious believers in a class may be subject to ridicule.
2) Convenience; desires. No one wants "bothersome" rules, or limitations to their personal pleasure. We see how lack of self-discipline has led to epidemic obesity, drunkenness, divorce rates, violence etc.
3) Lack of proper information. People have inaccurate notions about God, religion and belief. They've picked up tidbits, jokes, and "sound-bites," and on such solid authority they dismiss the entire topic.
4) Unfortunate experiences. Many have had personal hardships, or a harsh religious upbringing or education, and as a consequence may retain an unhappy feeling towards belief, without realizing that emotions and proofs are two different things.
5) Many think that science, and specifically Evolution, have proved that there is no God. They don't comprehend that even if Evolution was an unquestionable fact, it would not automatically follow that God isn't there. They also seem unaware that there are a significant number of highly-qualified scientists who do not believe in Evolution.
6) Intellectual laziness. Many people have simply never delved into the subject, to see if God's existence can be convincingly demonstrated.
7) Stereotyping. People call us "religious nuts," "Bible-thumpers," etc.; so the average layperson may get a negative feeling toward all belief, not realizing that he/she should first look into the existence of God in principle, before necessarily looking into religion.
A:A great many people certainly do believe in God, so the question comes down to whether he is real. I say, on good evidence, that God is not real. At the very least, it is most unlikely that God exists.Some would use even the slightest possibility that God exists to propose Pascal's Wager - that you should believe in God just in case there is any truth to it. However, not only does God not exist, but if he did it strains belief that he would reward or punish people purely based on whether they believe he exists.
Well you have first of got to think is god real or is he fake , for starters i am holy but some things i don't believe in about god and some things i do but people think different things so that isn't for me to say its for you to think and its was you feel it true or not . believe in what you want to believe in
Most people who believe in God, believe that God is against bad choices. Since homosexuality is not a choice, It's hard to support the idea that God is against homosexuality.People believe many different things about God, but most people believe God is against bad choices. Since homosexuality is not a choice, most people believe God is not against it.
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