Sunday, September 28, 2014

Does God Exist? A Prelude

The question "Does God exist?" is answered simply enough. There are three choices: "yes," "no," or "I don't know." Thus, no matter what your answers is, it immediately prompts the question "How could we know that God exists?" If your answer to the first question was "Yes," then of course the questioner will want some sort of proof or reasoning or sign. If your answer was "No," then the questioner may well respond, "What makes you sure?" If your answer was "I don't know," the questioner will ask, "How come?" The first question is never the last on this subject.

My answer, as you might guess, is yes. God does exist. Naturally, you will ask, "How do you know? What makes you say that? Can you prove it?"

Well, yes and no.

The question "Can you prove it?" always has an additional two words implied at the end: "Can you prove it to me?" This is a bit of a different task. Believing or not, assenting to an argument or not, is ultimately not an act of the intellect, but an act of the will: you can have all the evidence before you, you can have the proof laid out systematically in front of you, and you can still choose not to believe. As evidence of this phenomenon, I give you Holocaust deniers, moon landing hoaxers, and people who think Elvis is still alive. If we have some vested interest in maintaining a certain position, we can go to great mental lengths to hold our ground, even if that means keeping ourselves blind to the bleedin' obvious.

You may respond, "You're saying others might not believe in God because, for some reason, they don't want to. Well, couldn't we say the same of you? Maybe you believe in God because it suits you in some way."

Maybe. Maybe not. Let's see. Next time, we'll look at some of the evidence, arguments, and proofs for the existence of God.

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