Monday, August 25, 2008

Does God Exist?

I'm posting this in hopes of finding all the proper justification for one of the biggest questions, in my mind, that exists. I do ask that people don't argue and also respect eachothers opinions.

My goal for this post if for everyone to put everything on the table. Why they believe or even know God exists or why they believe or even know God doesn't exist. The "What do you believe" topic was a bit to broad for me and so I'm asking my fellow Theory of Knowledgians a more specific question that hopefully will raise many more.

I will start by saying that I do believe in a God. Perhaps not "The God" as described in the bible but rather a greater entity that created the universe. My reasons for this belief are faith, as I have always felt in a near impossible to describe way that there was something that I couldn't fathom that had to have created the very smallest fabric of space and time that makes up my eyes, ears, hair, pajamas, and keyboard that I type on, and that, while I believe evolution and even string theory, that there logically had to be something that created the strings.

Please respond to this post as I'm very agnostic and very unsure of many of my beliefs regarding religion and God. I'm not asking for someone to preach to me, I'm just curious what other's beliefs are and why they believe that way.

Also please be respectful in your comments as this is a delicate subject.

24 comments:

Sophia said...

I have to tell you that I am very agnostic as well. I believe that there is something out there that is making everything happen, but who am I to say exactly what it is. I don't know if it's a 'god' but there has to be some reasoning...maybe?

Durrie said...

ooh i love this question! i'm agnostic too- word.
And i'd like to answer it with another question.

A power strong enough to create the universe, if there was one, how could it possibly fit in the confines of the word we use for it- God? IF there is a God, how can we possibly with our meager human minds, fathom it? If we aren't equipped to comprehend that higher power, then should we really be so pretentious as to try? Is there a point in which one should not seek knowlege?

Nathan B. said...

Hm. I never thought of it that way. I find that interesting because we've been taught never to give up on our quest for knowledge and to allows at least attempt to seek the truth but in this situation, I can see why it might be better for us not to fully comprehend or even to comprehend at all.

the bee gee said...

If one chooses not to comprehend the existence of "God", then why not renounce faith in "him" altogether? Is it really necessary to believe in a being which you have just described as unfathomable to human existence? If "he" exists outside of the realms of our understanding, then why should we bother trying to seek "his" insight, "his" guidance or forgiveness, if we can not even interpret its meaning? Your above descriptions seem to justify one's choice to be agnostic, but to some extent the choice to be atheist as well. If we cannot rely on whatever being may or may not be the ultimate, omniscient power in the universe as we know it because we cannot understand "his" ways, then why should one believe in "him" in the first place?

In regards to your actual topic question of "Does God exist?", I can honestly say that I don't know. In fact, nobody knows. I choose to believe that "he" does not, but as was repeatedly pounded into our heads today, truth and belief are two separate things. If one choses to believe that "he" does, I have no issue with that whatsoever so long as it does not cause any negativity towards others who do not feel the same way. Unfortunately, there is no way yet to prove or disprove "his" existence as truth, so we are only left with speculation.

Nels said...

Bee Gee (that name works perfectly by the way) brings up what I believe is a extremely good point that none of us know if there is or isn't a god. I mean, we pretty much rely on what other people have said or writen, or what we have experienced. Depending on the experience bit, except for us maybe noticing a bit of order in our lives, have had any experience. None of us I would argue have had any contact with the higher power for a long long time. So we pretty much depend on the people that have come before us.

I choose to believe that there is a higher power and that there is a heaven. However, I believe that a lot of the things got messed up with the radio waves and there transmission to earth. I mean, the messages have to come from a long way away. It isn't like the South Park episode where the devil's assistant is telling Bush what to say from behind his shoulder. Also, I think that some of the ones that may have come in correctly have been mistranslated.

Ian B said...

I find that I fit into the transcendentalist notion that depending on your definition of 'God', either God is nature or there is no God, there is only nature.

I don't believe in a God in the sense that I don't believe that anything is supernatural. In my view, everything is governed by nature, and nothing else.

As to the question regarding life after death, I believe that there is, in a sense - we are recycled back into nature, where the different parts of us go on to create new life.

Taylor G. said...

This isn't the first time I've come across this very awkward and uncomfortable question. Although very intriguing, this is, in my mind, not a question that can be answered by anyone other than yourself. It isn't a conventional question, and therefore cannot be answered accordingly.

I can't prove He exists, but then again, if I could, that would defeat the purpose of faith. Surely others can guide you in your beliefs, but this is ultimately a question that will never have an answer applicable to everyone, and a total consensus will never be reached. So I implore you, take some time, think about it; for its a question you already know the answer to.

Ilya said...

Got a question, Nathan: if this god (meaning your generic "a God") created the universe, where did he/she/it come from in the first place? And what did he/she/it do prior to creating the Universe? This is one of those questions that's always bugged me, since it's a major point that helped make me atheist in the first place... now, even though that's in doubt, I'm still intensely curious - what're your thoughts?

Nathan B. said...

Wow Ilya, I was daydreaming here in a nice place and you just caused me to destroy my mind thinking about this. There is... no way for me to know. I believe, or maybe I even know, that this is one of the most important piece's of knowledge (if knowledge can even be classified as important/notimportant) and even then I believe it is not worth pursueing. I believe there is no way for us to ever truly know this. We must always have a belief in it but never a glimpse of knowing. Where did the strings come from? What caused the big bang? Who or What is God? Where did God come from? Why God? These questions I have no answer to. There is little more than a feeling clawing at the deepest intereiors of my soul that tells me that there is something uncomprehensible to me out there in the Universe.

jeff_tweedy said...

Personally, I believe that there is some form of god or higher power or something, just because the universe exists at all - to me that just kind of logically means that something must have willed it to be somehow. Now, on the other hand, there's Ilya's thing about how a god could exist before the universe, and what "he" did before there was a universe, and I can see that reasoning. Still though, to me, even though it doesn't really make sense fully, there being a god makes more sense than the universe just appearing spontaneously somehow.

(This is Ed by the way...)

Durrie said...

yes, it makes sense. But do we really need a definate answer? people can have their faith, or accept their own athiesm. But what's wrong with having a common rule that the answer of God IS undefined, across cultures and among our own. What i don't like is when religion becomes a part of the government... I dont think it has a place in a public institution, it's completely a private opinion.

Nels said...

I agree with Durrie about the with the separation of church and state. This has been a major force in choosing what party I afiliate myself with.

Ilya has made me think here. What was before the Big Bang? I do know that the big bang theory, at its very beginnings, was theorized by a catholic priest with the idea of god in his head. However, that doesn't really answer my question. Do we really know what was before the universe, or what is outside it?

Nels said...

After reading Ed's comment I think he is raising the same stuff as I am.

I. Kennedy said...

I'm going to repsond with a quote from George Carlin, the comedian who died a couple months ago. Regardless of his profession, I think his point is valid: "War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the icecapades. Something is definately wrong here. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, then I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the resume of a supreme being. This is the kind of stuff you'd expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. In any decently run universe, this guy would have been out on his all-powerful ass a long time ago." I would say that I'm an atheist because I do not believe in a God, but more accurately, I really don't care about issues of spirituality. Instead of worrying about God and religion, I choose to focus on other things, like friendships, jobs, school, sports, etc.

Nels said...

However, life wasn't meant to be a Barney television show, a world where everything is perfect except where you might have misplaced a crayon. If it was, we would never know what happiness is. Are kids actually happy when they watch Barney? I do not think so. I think they are bored out of their little minds. That is why they are watching tv. I mean, do you actually remember a specific moment in life when you were blissful because you were watching Barney?

I believe that God allows such things because you wouldn't know what fun was until you have skinned your knee. I believe that you don't know what success is until you know what failure is, that you do not know what right is unless you know what wrong is. I believe that life isn't meant to be perfect, rather it is meant to be a learning experience.

Lauren P said...

Nels, in response to your question earlier about the Big Bang, I have heard some theories. (Just to blow your mind. ;D) One is that this was the first Big Bang, and before that, there was nothing. But another one, that I find vastly more interesting is that this ISN'T the first. There is a theory that there are two "forces" that every coupple billion years hit each other, and the force from this contact causes the universe to explode into a "Big Bang". The basic idea, or theory, is that the universe has gone through this proces several times already; each time the Big Bang destroys the previouse universe to replace it with a new one (the one we all live in now.) In theory, this would continue in a never ending cycle. But even this theory still raises the question. What was before the first Big Bang? Where/why/when/how did time begin?

Durrie said...

in response to ian...

of course the world isn't perfect. But does that mean that there is not higher power? There's a lot of good in the world, too. And a lot of the things you list as "bad" are either man made or aren't really bad, just how the world works.
"War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the icecapades."?? disease keeps populations from getting out of hand. However, humanity continues to try to control nature, and it is there where we are fundamentally destined for failure. (See Ishmael- 9th grade bio?) war, destruction, filth, poverty, crime, torture, and corruption are all MAN made, not the source of a higher power. Because like it or not, we don't know for SURE to what extent the "higher power" has control over the world. Or if the "higher power" even cares. and what are icecapades?

Death and hunger? Part of life. Without death, we'd be screwed. Hunger is the result of a broken government and economy. But it happens.

Erin said...

Ed, what you said about the existence of the universe as "evidence" of god reminded me of something. First of all, in my personal experience I know there are questions that I cannot answer. There are questions that no one I know can answer, some of which have been touched on in this blog. However, I have also never been able to comprehend anything I haven't understood (logically, to do so is impossible), so I am very uncomfortable trying to imagine/believe that there are some things that no one comprehends at all (the beginning of the world and the limits of the universe, for example). Therefore, I can only believe that there is something "greater" than myself that does. This entity, as sort of negative space in the realm of comprehension, is what god means to me.

The connection I was getting at is in Aristotle's Physics, Book 8, which, unfortunately, I will need to check out from the library to find the textual evidence. However, for the time being suffice it to say that change, as the measurement of time, is synonymous with it. Aristotle says, in order for something to change, something else has to impact it first, changing itself to do so. This act is always a movement. However, at the very beginning of time, since time had not yet begun there could have been no change, no movement. So the first "mover," if you will, had to be itself unmoved. Though it logically would have had to be in the position to move something else all along, for some reason it didn't do so until the tiny moment that time began. I believe that if god is my explanation for that which I can't comprehend to explain, then god is also the unmoved mover. It at least makes more sense to me than believing in nothing as the cause of everything.

jeff_tweedy said...

Erin - yeah, I guess that's pretty much it. I also went off onto this rant on the beliefs post, the gist of which was that "god" doesn't influence what we do, but that in some way... he cares. Maybe that's just like a selfish human thing to do, but I see it that since the universe exists, it has to exist for a reason, and the fact that I seem to have some influence over my actions instead of just being part of some chain reaction where everything happens randomly, I can create some kind of order and meaning, and maybe that's part of the reason the universe exists.

-Ed, master of ellipsis

jeff_tweedy said...

Oh, and when I say "I" can create order, I really mean me and the rest of humankind... yeah...

christine said...

I agree with everything Durrie said. When we know we can't ever comprehend a concept or person like God, we shouldn't try to go where we can't. There just isn't a way we'll ever know. A lot of the people that believe or don't believe in God blame everything wrong in this world on God. It isn't logical for agnostic people to do that in the first place, and I think the cause of everything bad on earth is because of us. We tried to control everything our way, and this is the consequence of that.

Griffin said...

Okay, I am an atheist and my doubts in the existence of any creator, regardless of whether you call him God, Yahweh, Vishnu, etc. is because of the follows:
1) Who created God? It makes no sense to say that the universe couldn't possibly have always existed and then give God the credit. Where did "god" come from before he created the universe?
2) God is incredibly improbable. A sky fairy who made every atom, every proton, every nucleus, set up every law of nature, every law of physics, every planet, every universe, every galaxy, every animal, etc??? The improbability of something like that existing is an insurmountable problem.
3) Science. There has never been a credible shred of evidenced to support God's existence. Quite to the contrary.

griffin said...

Also, Nathan, your logic is truly flawed. Science will ( not can, will) eventually describe strings, the big bang, etc. Religion CANT. In addition, what is so great about faith? How does that help us? Why do we tolerate it?

Lauren P said...

Mostly, the reason that I do not believe in God is because I do not have enough to convince me that He (or She?) exists. I asked a girl once why God would have created people that didnt believe in Him if he was really all powerfull, and her answer was that they were there to test the ones who were faithful.

This makes sense - to an extent. If He really is all knowing, then why would he have to test people in the first place? Wouldnt He already know their fate? And if He didnt, does that mean that God really isnt all powerful?

Questions like these have always bothered me. Along with that I always wanted to know why He would allow for other religions, and why He would allow for such horrible things to happen for the innocent; such as disease, hunger, and children who died at birth. Until someone can logically answer these questions for me, I am, and will remain, a non-believer.