Sunday, March 24, 2013

Practical Theology 2: Why Believe in God?

The second in my new Sunday series on what the practical implications of theology are.

1. Is Theology Practical?

2. Why Believe in God?
Why should someone believe in God? To word it that way could give the mistaken impression that we really have a choice about whether God really exists or not.  In reality, either God really exists outside ourselves or he doesn't.  What we want to believe about his existence is irrelevant.

So the best answer to the question is "because he exists."  People should believe in God because he is real and he exists.

Unfortunately, God's existence is not as obvious to the people of the world as it used to be.  He does not come down to earth to do interviews on the news. He does not do miracles on demand. Most people find belief in God reasonable, but few people are convinced merely by some logical argument.

So it makes sense to say that someone created the universe. The idea that the universe just happens to be here continues to baffle the mind. What caused it to explode into existence when it did?

And there is an order to the universe. Quarks and electrons behave in certain predictable ways. Even evolution and chaos theory follow certain rules.  Are those rules just coincidence?  Our lives seem to have meaning. The world seems so beautiful.  Is the universe really just accidental and coincidence, and my sense of them merely the interactions of chemicals in my brain?

None of these things prove God's existence. The path of the intellectual zealot who feels compelled to prove things is just as likely to hurt faith as to help it. Faith in God is reasonable, but God is more about faith than about proof.

Why believe in God? Because he's calling to you. Some Christians of course only believe that God calls a few privileged ones, the "elect," the "predestined." That is not the spirit of the New Testament. The spirit of the New Testament is 1 Timothy 2:4--God wants all people to be saved.

A more coherent theology believes that God gives light to everyone who comes into the world.  At some point, he tugs on the heart of every person.  Why believe in God? Because he is tugging at our hearts.  When he tugs on your heart, believe.

Future posts...
God the Creator
3. God as Other
4. God as Timeless
5. God the All Powerful
6. God the All Knowing
7. God the Spirit
8. Three in One
9. God as Love
10. God as Just


judi bola said...

I just heard about this Quadrilateral Thoughts,,, may be tried later

Angie Van De Merwe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angie Van De Merwe said...

Order" has been used as a proof of God's existence, and still is in some circles of the Religion/Science discussion.

Though most science works by "law" (cause and effect), just as our brains like to explain the reasons (or causes) to what happens, not all things are "ordered" (structured) or understood naturally. Then, the question is why do humans not understand naturally? Isn't it because the "order" has to be studied to be understood?
"Biblical Christians" would point to Romans 1 and judge not understanding the "natural order" is due to a rejection of God and "sin", as defined by Christian culture/theology. While Christians project their propositional understandings upon the world, observation and the scientific method attempts and is attempting to discover "order" (or explaination) for the 'natural order". One can presuppose "God" and use observation and the scientific method to affirm "God's order" in what is discovered, but, whether or not God exists, is still a matter of faith to the believing or unbelieving scientists!

The "truth" of the "natural order" is the truth of the natural order and it does not depend on a belief in "God".

Cultures are ordered, but are not "naturally ordered", but ordered according to certain belief systems. These are man-made systems.

"God" can be understood by a Christian's practical theology if the Christian adheres to certain beliefs, too, but practically speaking leadership is "God". And, unless there is "accountablity" and responsibility to "the rule of law", there is abuse of power, or "tyranny" under the Founder's understanding! This is why it is so important that those in leadership do not impose "God" or "The Regulating State" apart from consent of the governed.

Our nation has not believed in imposing its "faith claims" upon the "created order". This was why Congress was to make no law regarding the exercise of religion. But, at the same time, the State was not to define the specifities of everyone's life, either!

Since in our country, leaders were not to be "above the law", which meant that individuals were to be respected in their choice and consent about their life. Leadership was to respect the boundaries of the individual, who was allowed to choose his life in liberty.

From developmental psychology, and personality studies, not all INDIVIDUALS are alike, so how can anyone speak of a "universal human right", except liberty? Those societies that live within tribal identities will not understand themselves apart from a "tribal mentality" that is "survival".

Civilization, apart from leaders' transparency and accoutability, just legalizes "tribalism" apart from respecting "the rule of law". "The rule of law" was not to grant special privilege to leadership, which is what we are seeing develop today.
America was a nation that was a country ruled by law and not of men. The leaders were to hold the "trust", responsibility and duty of their oaths "to the people". Civil Service was not viewed as an opportunity to enrich oneself, or demand "duty" from other citizens, but a "sacred honor" to represent the people's interests. No law can stop a criminal mind in/with Power.

Corrupt leadership leads the nation astray and the citizens suffer, but the citizens have only themselves to blame, unless corrupt leaders have kept the citizens ill informed through Propaganda techniques, limiting the Press, and ignoring the checks and balances upon Power.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Views about Government are numerous, but our Founders wanted to create an "ordered liberty", not an Authoritarian State that could run rough shod over rights, and that did not matter whether the Authoritarian State got its power through Leaders or God!

Our country was a Constitutional Republic which had educated leaders who respected the right of others as granted in the Constitution (the Bill of Rights).

John C. Gardner said...

How does this idea about believing about God tie together with prevenient grace? With revelation?

Angie Van De Merwe said...

It is my understanding that prevenient grace and foreknowledge would be a means to appease the consciences of leaders that want what they want, especially if they believe it to be "God's will". Why worry about the implications if God is really going before by preveniently providing and knowing the end anyway? And people can believe they are doing God's will by imposing and presuming upon others, but without accountability to limit oneself, as it concerns another's life, one will trespass. Then, there is always the "escape" to confession and absolution.

Revelation is what people love to claim about the "spirit". But, why can it not be boundaries that have not been maintained or protected, regarding healthy relationship?