Sunday, July 29, 2012

Why do you believe?

I'm in the middle of a second edit of the philosophy book I've written.  I've been doing a chapter a day.  Today I am reading through the chapter on the existence of God.  I thought I'd ask you, whoever you are, Why do you believe in God?  What books or resources have been meaningful to you in this regard?


Martin LaBar said...

I believe in God mostly because I was raised in a home that assumed that He existed, most likely. I did have some experiences that supported that assumption.

I don't know how much I was influenced by _The Problem of Pain_, and _Mere Christianity_ by C. S. Lewis, but I liked (and like) them. I also was influenced by _The Genesis Flood_ by Whitcomb and Morris, but then, later, that influence was significantly altered by Davis Young's _Christianity and the Age of the Earth._

I also should credit J. R. R. Tolkien's _The Hobbit_ and "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, the music of Bach and others, as well as many articles in _Christianity Today_ and _Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith_.

John C. Gardner said...

I believe in God despite the fact that I was not raised in a home where religion, theology, etc was really discussed. We went to church and Sunday school and my mother taught me the 23rd psalm and the Lord's Prayer. I went through confirmation but drifted away from the church in college. My wife and I continued to attend church for the next 20 years but I did not pray often. I found Tom Wright books beginning in 1989 and began reading theology again as I had done in college(church history and Bonhoeffer while in college). I continued to attend church but caught on fire intellectually for the faith by reading John Polkinghorne, Alister McGrath, Ben Witherington, CS Lewis and others. I have seen the efficacy and love of God in my life and have taught business and professional ethics, Sunday school, and try to love others as I have come to love God. Sin still exists in my life but I pray to develop habits on Christian virtue.

Phil said...

David Bentley Hart has been influential on me.

Christopher C. Schrock said...

I have found both compelling, Cornelius Van Til's The Defense of the Faith and John Frame's Doctrine of the Knowledge of God. The transcendental argument for the existence of God, reasoning from the impossibility of the contrary, have been extremely helpful, however, the greatest proofs are from Scripture and experience--God's self disclosure, Israel freed from slavery in Egypt, the miraculous parting of the Red Sea, the miracles of Elisha, the miracles of Christ, the Resurrection of Christ, that I was raised by Christian parents, that the Spirit testifies in me that I am a son of God, the good works I see in my life which are commensurate with the faith I have by God’s grace, etc. I know for an unbeliever many of these proofs are not meaningful, however, that is expected considering their presuppositions. They hate God. They do not have eyes and ears open to seeing and hearing God's self-disclosure.

John Mark said...

I was raised by devout believers as well. I never really questioned the existence of God until while at a Nazarene (now) university I became close friends with an atheist and a brilliant agnostic, a philosophy major. I think I saw in both of them that their beliefs, convincingly articulated (they were both much further along than I was intellectually) reflected more than just honest doubts, but confusion and/or rebellion. This is not a given, of course.
Not being a true intellectual myself, I think I have to say that what I saw lived out in people's lives impressed me more than any philosophical arguments for God's existence. Testimonies had a lot of power for me. When I was around eight years old I read By Searching by Isobel Kuhn, and I never really got over it. This was a testimony book of her own journey from faith to doubt to faith again.
I had times when, because of my sin, I felt lost, or hopeless as to ever really knowing God or experienceing victory in a relationship with him, but never totally abandoned belief. I have read some books by Lewis (his childrens books spoke to my simple mind as much as did Mere Christianity), Ravi Zacharias, and later N T Wright and the novels of Roman Catholic Michael D. O'Brien that were helpful.
Yet this raises a question: some insist that in our postmodern world, apologetics-as it was understood say 30 years ago-has much less value with young people than the story, the testimony, along with the insistence of a meta narrative that makes sense of life.
Is there still a place for the traditional arguments (ontological, epistemological, etc.) when in dialogue with an unbelieving world?
For me, the power of a transformed and godly life, such as Corrie Ten Boom, John Newton, Chuck Colson and someone such as Dennis Kinlaw carries great weight.
I have read people who say that Buddhism has given them peace....but when I think of my alcoholic grandfather who finally was delivered at age 61, or my own fathers struggle out of mental illness-I'm convinced he would never have made it apart from God's help-or my own flirtations with mental illness (times of clinical depression) I seriously question whether any other religion or thought system could do what belief in Jesus can.
I know this is a very lengthy response.....

Ken Schenck said...

Thanks for sharing!

FrGregACCA said...

"Thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee."


God: the Evidence.

Invitation to a Great Experiment

Mind of God

Fingerprints of God

Alcoholics Anonymous

For the Life of the World

Being as Communion

In short, I believe because it would take more "faith" for me not to.

Bill Heroman said...

Great question. Here's my old answer, and still a good one:

Why I am a Believer