Why do people believe in God?
Actually the supposition that people only believe in God because
they were brought up to do so is a fallacy proposed by atheistic
writes like Richard Dawkins. There is little real substance to this
argument as it arrogantly suggests that those who believe cannot
think for themselves as adults, and continue to believe what they
were taught as children without questioning it.
The fact is that, where a belief in God is growing (eg in China as one example, where it is growing exponentially,) the existence of God is primarily accepted by discerning, intelligent adults.
There are two main reasons why people believe in God. Firstly they feel that only by belief in God does life really make sense. While science may answer the questions of how the mechanics of the universe work, only by a belief on God can the great questions of love, the reasons for our existence, reality and just why the universe (and hence humanity) bothers to exist in the first place, can be answered.
Secondly, those who believe in God have that relationship with God ratified by their own life experiences. These 'spiritual moments' may range from a simple feeling of overwhelming love to a profound religious experience that cannot be dismissed as 'delusion' as, usually, those people who experience a relationship with God are invariably intelligent and rational.
People believe in God because they just do. It's their religion. (or in a Christians' case, "relationship")
Even Psalms 14:1 says The fool hath said in his heart; there is no God.
PEOPLE BELIEVE IN GOD BECAUSE THEY WERE FORCE FED THE IDEA THAT ONE THING CAN CREATE A UNIVERSE, THAT A MAN COULD WALK ON WATER, A BUSH THAT IS ON FIRE COULD TALK, A MAN CAN BE RESSURETCTED, AND THEY WERE TOLD THIS TO GIVE THEM COMFORT, SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR WHEN IT HAS BASICALLY BEEN PROVEN THAT HUMANS AND MONKEYS ARE RELATED, THE WORLD IS WHAT IT IS BECAUSE OF THE BIG BANG AND EVOLUTION IS WHY WE ARE HERE, PEOPLE BELIEVE IN GOD BECAUSE THEY ARE STUPID
People believe in God because they can't come up with an explanation for their existence.
The latter two answers are precisely the reason why religious people think all atheists are pricks. I, too, am an atheist, but I think its best not to belittle people for their opinions (regardless of how misdirected they have been by those around them). Essentially, it is human nature to question our origins. It is one of the fundamental things that separates us from non-cognitive species. With this in mind, the Theory of Evolution (and note: theory indicates a hypothesis that has been proven through scientific observation and the two are not to be confused: e.g. the Hypothesis of Intelligent Design) is relatively young compared to the entire span of human existence. So for thousands of years, religion was as good as it got in terms of understanding where we come from and what happens when we die. This is actually quite understandable. What is also understandable is that when we did realize the justifiable certainty of Evolutionary Theory, there were many who would not amend their belief system accordingly just as when the Christians adapted the Jewish belief system, the Jews would not amend theirs, nor would the Christians when the Muslims adapted the Christians'. Ultimately, it is human stubbornness that keeps people in their faith considering the overwhelming amount of proof we do have for the Theory of Evolution vs the absolute lack of proof we have for the existence of God. Parents, of course, play a fundamental role in this as, how many things did your father and mother tell you about all sorts of things that you later found out to be absolutely false when you reached adulthood.
There are tens of proofs for God's existence. These have been recorded for centuries and are easy to look up. However, this subject is ultimately 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.
Here are a few:
1) Teleological Argument: The universe has definite design, order, and arrangement which cannot be sufficiently explained outside a theistic worldview. From the complexities of the human eye to the order and arrangement of cosmology, the voice of God is heard. God's existence is the best explanation for such design. God is the designer.
2) Anthropic Principle: The laws of the universe seem to have been set in such a way that stars, planets and life can exist. Many constants of nature appear to be finely tuned for this, and the odds against this happening by chance are astronomical.
3) Sensus divinitatus: The innate sense of the divine exists within all people. People and cultures of all time have, by nature, sensed a need to worship something greater than themselves. No ancient society ever existed that did not believe in a supernatural power.
4) Tradition: There are events in human history which cannot be explained without God. Many people have their subjective stories that bend them in the direction of theism, but there are also historical events such as the Giving of the Torah, which are underpinnings for the belief in God.
5) Pascal's Wager: Belief in God is the most rational choice due to the consequences of being wrong. If one were to believe in God and be wrong, there would be no consequences. However, if one were to deny God and be wrong, the consequences are eternally tragic. Therefore, the most rational choice is not agnosticism or atheism, but belief in God.
6) Why is there reality rather than nothing? Aside from God's creating it, there are only five options:
a) The universe is eternal and everything has always existed.
- Even atheists have abandoned this possibility, especially because it would violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
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 to create. The pre-dated form would then need a sufficient explanatory cause, ad infinitum.
d) Chance created the universe. The odds of winning the lottery are not very good; but given enough time, everyone will win. While the odds of the universe coming into existence are not very good, given enough time, it could happen.
- This option is a 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" is used to describe possibilities. It does not have the power to cause those possibilities. It is nonsense to speak of chance being the agent of creation of anything, since chance is not an agent. What are the real chances of the universe created by chance? Not a chance. Chance is incapable of creating a single molecule, let alone an entire universe. Why not? 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 the curious flip of the fallacy of ambiguity, slips into the discussion as if it were a real 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 restating of option #1 (the universe is eternal) or fails due to the irrationality of #4. 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."