Why do people believe in God?

Image from Apologetics 315

I’ve been told my style of confronting religious issues is, uhm, brash, I guess, too aggressive and not constructive. It has been suggested I ask people why they believe in God. I’m assuming the popularity of the design argument puts it up there as a prominent reason, and the word tricks in the ontological argument make it an unpopular reason, but not completely absent as a reason.

To get the ball rolling, I’ll blog my way through Peter Kreeft’s 20 arguments. It seems fair, and should keep me occupied for a while. I’ll also offer my opinion of some of the reasons atheists give for not believing in God, although the common one is a lack of a good argument, or evidence, to believe in God.

While some of the arguments speak to some generic kind of deity and could be used to support any creator being, like Allah, Yahweh, or Bramanah, others speak specifically to an Abrahamic type deity, like the ontological argument. I will of course entertain other possibilities when the arguments could point towards other possibilities.

Some sites on the web claim to have far more than 20 arguments. If one of the ones you particularly find convincing, or struggle to get around as an atheist, is not among Kreeft’s 20, please post either the complete argument, or a link to it in the comments section of this post. Because in general, I’m not going to bother with arguments from belief and so on, unless someone expressly claims their validity.

Also, any atheists who have any arguments against god’s existence they particularly like should also put them in the comments, and the debate can begin.

These posts are fair game for debate, even if it is just for the sake of exercising the muscle in your head with the most nerdy and oldest debate in History. Please join in, as it’s unlikely I will find every possible rebuttal or supporting claim for all the arguments in question.

The “God’s existence” category will be broken into two sub categories, for and against, to make it easier for people to navigate. While doing this I intend to get back to reading through the Bible, and hopefully the Quran, Bagavad-Gita and the Upanishads.

I may ask commentors here to write guest posts outlining the arguments hey like in order to minimise me straw manning the arguments. If you are a believer, here’s a chance to say why, and if you aren’t, here is your chance too.

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2 thoughts on “Why do people believe in God?”

  1. There is no real proof that any deity or sky fairy exists. However if you teach a child something right from birth – it is hard for that child not to believe it. It doesn’t have to be religion – its just the basic thought process. So in fact teaching religion to a child under the age of 6 may be a socially acceptable form of child abuse. Christianity probably would not have as many followers except for the one thing all humans fear the most – death. And what is more frightening than the concept of hell? So believe believe just in case rather than fry for all eternity (even though this is totally made up by some sadistic sod). As this concept is extremely well indoctrinated into all children – the trap is set. Now if you just offer then the sugar coated bit you have them hooked. If you try to debate with them all you will get is some drivel about the big bang theory – as if it was the only option or thought process. As science is an ever evolving concept and unlike religion is open to change – there will never be a solid big bang theory but rather an ever expanding one as more about space is discovered. Even then – it is not the only theory open to none believers in the abrahamic books. The flying spagetti monster has ever right to be up there with Jehovah, Zeus and Horus. Gods are a reflection of humans – current thought patterns, politics and culture. Gods change with the times. The only difference between religion and myth depends on whether the religion is yours or somebody else’s.

    1. There are people who are brought up atheists and then convert later. What interests me is how this happens, it’s clearly not indoctrination, and one would expect them to have put more thought into it.

      Incidentally, I noticed in the SDA church, many of the more prominent evangelists (Vieth; Woodman; Assherick, Bachelor) were themsleves adult converts to the movement. Is this because they have put more thought in, and thus have a better grasp of the arguments.

      To make it a bit clearer, I don’t know Veith’s upbrining, but as an adult he was an atheist and a staunch supporter of evolution who lectured on it at a decent university. Assherick I also don’t knoq much of the early days, but as a teen he was a “purple haired punk rocker” who hated religion. Bachelor was brought up without God, and converted while living in a cave in the mountains and reading a Bible he’d found there. They all make good money from their beliefs, except Woodman, who is dead, and who was brought up in the New Apostolic movement and dabbled in New Age for a while. I’m not sure if the money is relevant, but it is interesting.

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