For theists: chances are you strongly believe in the existence of God, but you don’t know for sure, 100%, that he exists. (That is obviously where faith comes in.) My question then is what would it take for you to change your belief and no longer believe that God exists?
For atheists, same question but vice versa. What would it take for you to change your belief to believe that a God exists?
I’ve had too many direct experiences, all unprovable, but some so spectacular that denying God would be like denying my wifes’ existence. And I know that doesn’t work because whenever I act like that she gets really mad and makes sure I know about it. In any case, several years ago it still might’ve been possible-certainly I struggled more in the past with doubt than I do now- but for me now it would be like slapping God in the face because He’s elected to prove to me in many ways that my faith’s not been in vain.
I have experienced God. And I also tend to intellectualize everything, so I understand that God must exist for several things to exist that we see;
-motion (otherwise known as Aquinas’ First Proof, or Unmoved Mover Principle)
-good and evil; neither would exist without God giving significance to either, that only He could give
-love; see good and evil
-joy; I have experienced Him in prayer
This is a serious question. It wasn’t intended as an outlet for people to rally around proclaiming how great their faith is.
Even though you believe in God, you still have to admit there’s a chance (although you may think microscopically small) that he may not exist. I refuse to believe that anybody here has perfect faith.
My question then is not how great your faith is but rather what would theoretically prevent you from having faith? At what point would you stop believing that God exists? Would it be if scientists could create brand new life in a laboratory? Would it be if the pope proclaims that Jesus never actually existed? Would it be if you found out you had a chemical imbalance in your brain causing you to a hallucinate during church? Would it be something else?
I don’t necessarily expect everybody to really know the answer, but saying “I know God exists” seems rather arrogant to me because it’s as though you’re flaunting that your faith is perfect.
A relatively easy question to answer.
For both atheist and atheist-
Absolute scientific evidence either way.
Of course, there is no scientific experiment that can either measure or “fail” to measure God.
Richard Dawkins does not believe since no one can “prove” God’s existence. Francis Collins does believe since no one can “disprove” God’s existence. Both profess to be scientific people. However, since the question is metaphysical neither can rely on instruments or direct observation in an experiment.
Many atheistic physicists profess a disbelief in God but happily believe in things like string theory which can never be proven or even experimented on so they are a bit muddled since in both cases they disbelieve and believe in the non-provable.
If we go strictly by observing man’s behavior toward his fellow man then we see three leaps in behavior in history. The retention of the lame and honoring the dead in prehistoric man, the dispensing of human sacrifice to control nature (Hebrews) and the advancement of individual worth and value of single human life (Jesus). Two of these can be directly tied to written historical claims of human contact with God. The first is pre-history and may never be known, but two out of three isn’t a bad ratio. Given that I would tend to grant that God does probably exist and come down on the side of Francis Collins.
For some people to stop believing, the above reasons might and for some are enough to convince them God does not exist. But as a Catholic, most of the Catholics that I know feel their faith is their identity (I refer to them b/c I identify with them, not to diminish anyone else’s faith as the center of their lives). To separate from it would be like cutting out their hearts. There are a lot of people who say they don’t believe in God who are just hurt, or lost, or angry, or arrogant. There are a lot of people who have been poisoned against God. I think to call our faith perfect is not the right word selection… It is complete. It is full. It is God given, and received with a humble heart. To not believe in God, would be to not BE.
No one said they know with 100% certainty that God exists-at least I didn’t but only because I’m aware of human limitations. They just said that their faith-the variable you mentioned- has been strengthened to such an extent that it would be hard to imagine a reason for not having it. That’s not arrogance-that’s just boasting in the Lord as St Paul referred to in 1 Cor 1:31.
But being a victim of profound evil could surely shake ones faith in God or at least in His goodness but even then one can’t know until that time-such things can actually serve to strengthen ones’ faith. If a scientist could create life and the energy and matter from which it’s made -out of nothing- then I’d probably call him god.
Sorry to disappoint you but faith can be stronger and God can reveal Himself more powerfully than I think many realize.
awake << Why do I even bother? I should have guessed that people would just avoid the question. >>
For Theists to be Atheists: there should be no reported miracles ever, no experiences of God ever, no answers to prayer ever, no longing for God in the mind and heart of the human species ever, there should have been no religions created, no churches built, no Gods ever believed in, all the arguments of God should fail, and therefore William Lane Craig should have been utterly demolished in all of his debates. None of this has happened.
For Atheists to be Theists: the opposite of above, and William Lane Craig should win all his debates. He does and has.
So, if we have unshakable faith you don’t want to hear it because to you that condition can’t exist? Sounds like you’ve already made up your mind. My answer that I’d have to die is my true answer. Since I’ve experienced a miracle from God it would take my death, to believe He doesn’t exist.
There is no such thing as “perfect” faith. It may seem arrogant to you because you haven’t experienced what I have. What is really arrogant is saying no one could possibly have that strong of a faith. We do.
There is no scientific or technological breakthrough that I can think of which would result in my not believing in God. But something as simple as a trajedy happening to those I love might do the trick. In other words, life has the power to change my beliefs.