Do You Believe in God?
Are there good reasons to believe in God? Do you just believe in God because everyone else does? Is that a good reason to do something? The obvious answer is no, we don’t do something just because most people do it. The classic example is the parent asking their child if they would follow their friends off a cliff. But the answer you would give would depend on the situation. Are you being chased by dangerous people? What if you have a parachute? Maybe the cliff is your safest bet. What is at the bottom of the cliff? Is it a cement sidewalk? Is it a hole full of Skittles? Well, that one sounds like fun. Sometimes the crowd knows what it’s doing.
The great majority of people in history have believed in God/gods. Some have suggested that belief in a transcend being was necessary for primitive people because they did not have the advancements in science and technology like we do today. It was just their way of explaining the world around them. That is one possible solution. The other possible solution is that we have been created by a God in His image with the purpose to seek after Him. Therefore, most people do just that. Now if a friend of mine claims that he now believes in a god named Sherman and Sherman is invisible but also a turkey, I would rightly be skeptical. But we’re not talking about a strange belief that is out on the fringes, I’m talking about Christianity, which has more adherents than any other religion in the world, and therefore carries some weight.
Others have suggested belief in God is more like wish fulfillment. It is merely a psychological state to keep us from going mad. Many philosophers of the past have advocated this including Fredrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud. Men like these seem to indicate that belief in God is purely psychological, and therefore illusory and unnecessary. Freud would argue that religious people can only be motivated by irrational human desire and therefore, cannot be swayed by logical reasoning.
If we were to step back and think logically, would that remove our need for God? If we hope to think logically, it may help to know how to do so. First codified by Aristotle, the first rule of logic states, “Nothing can both be true and not true at the same time in the same respect.” Either I am a Super Bowl winning quarterback, or I am not. In case you’re wondering—I am not. This law of non-contradiction raises the stakes for anyone choosing to believe in Jesus Christ or not. While many might like to just shrug off the claims of Christ with a “whatever” and a yawn; if true, the implications of the Christian faith will matter to you whether you choose to believe or not.
The laws of logic also hold to the principle of the excluded middle. This rule states that any factual statement and its denial cannot both be true. I cannot both be a man and not be a man. Either Jesus was God, or He was not. Either Buddha was enlightened, or he was not. Jesus used this type of logic when He stated, “You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24). Some multiculturalists have claimed that these rules are indicative of a very Western or white way of thinking. Is that true? Aren’t Buddhist and Islamic arguments based on these same principles? Anywhere you travel around the world, you will find people using these same lines of reasoning regardless of culture or religion. Two plus two is always four and will never be five, whether you are in Oregon, Argentina, or India.
Lord willing, over the next several months, I would like to start a series of articles defending the truths of the Christian faith. The starting place for any type of argument is that there is indeed truth to be found. If you are in a courtroom, the objective of both sides of an argument is to ascertain the truth—what exactly happened and how do we know it to be true? If money is stolen from a bank, the goal would be to find out who did it. Any argument would require use of areas such as logic, philosophy, psychology, science, and history. It’s a multi-faceted approach. The term proof is used when you have an argument that is secured by deductive reasoning to draw a conclusion, which is secured beyond reasonable doubt. Unfortunately, there is no way to remove all doubt conclusively because there will always be an element of faith, so we do our best and choose the course of action that makes the most sense. If Mr. X had a motive to steal, and he matches the description provided by witnesses, and we find extra money in his bank account—it is most logical to assume that he was indeed the thief.
So how does one go about proving God has revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ? Well, I will invite you to jump off the cliff with me. Stay tuned…