People form their beliefs, whether religious, political or ethical, in many different ways and for many different reasons.
People may believe or disbelieve in God for both personal (intuitive) and objective (analytical) reasons, and I think psychology shows us that both analytical and intuitive modes of thinking can be valid, and both are important.
We are all different, but we can all learn from others, even those who think quite differently to us. Here are the (mainly analytic) reasons why I believe – I hope they help you in your own thinking in some way.
What I believe
- God exists, and is the creater of the universe and the human race. It is his nature to care for us and forgive us.
- What has been established by science and human discovery is consistent with belief in God.
- God reveals truth to all people, but is known most completely through Jesus, so we are all more complete and closer to the truth if we believe in what he said and did.
- Jesus calls us to follow him in making a difference in the world, by caring for the disadvantaged and oppressed, and offering all people the opportunity to hear this good news, receive his forgiveness where they need it, and begin a new life with him.
- Many people who follow him find that their lives change for the better – they find hope, healing and purpose. I have found this to be true for me.
Why I believe in Jesus
- There is good historical evidence, accepted by most secular historians, that Jesus lived, and that he did and said many of things recorded about him.
- The gospel writers had no reason to lie and would have had more comfortable lives if they didn’t believe, so I believe they are substantially trustworthy.
- Jesus talked and acted as if he was divine – he acted as God’s representative and king, he healed people, forgave sins and gave teachings that have lasted to this day. When they killed him, God raised him to life. No other religion makes such claims about their founder, and few others provide as much historical evidence.
- Jesus inspires people and he inspires faith. I believe he told the truth, and that he was who he said he was.
In the end, it comes down to trust. On the basis of the historical evidence, do we trust Jesus or not? I do.
Other reasons to believe this God exists
I find support for belief in Jesus by considering science and human experience.
- Where did the universe come from? If there was no God, why would the universe exist? How could it appear out of nothing? The best explanation is that God started it off.
- Scientists have discovered that about a dozen cosmological factors had to be “just right” at the beginning for us to be here now. The probability of this occurring by chance is so small as to be negligible. It looks like it was designed, by God.
- We think logically and make moral judgments. If there is no God, and the physical world is all there is, our actions would be determined by the laws of physics, and right and wrong would be determined by what works best. But almost no-one thinks that. The only way out of the dilemma is if God made us to be rational moral creatures.
- People all over the world report experiences of God – miraculous interventions, healings, visions, guidance, a sense of God’s presence. Some of these stories don’t seem to be true but some offer good evidence. It seems more likely that some people really have experienced God, than to think every last one is mistaken.
- Neurological and psychological studies show that belief in a loving God, and the behaviours that result from that belief, are good for our mental, physical and emotional health, and help to make us more “prosocial” (that is, community-minded and altruistic). Religion can be used for evil, but generally it helps sincere believers be better people. This seems to be most consistent with the conclusion that God exists and made us that way.
So there are good reasons to believe that God probably exists. And not just any god, but a God who is powerful enough to create the universe, clever enough to design such a “fine-tuned” universe, personal enough to want to create a universe where rational and ethical people can live and know him. In fact, just like the God Jesus showed to us.
I have lived with this belief for more than half a century. It has been a good life. Sometimes I doubt, sometimes I don’t find it easy. But most times I find christian belief rings true and gives my life meaning. I feel like I know God and he guides me.
Read more …..
Everything in this statement of faith is discussed in more detail on the various pages of Is there a God?. You can check out both sides of the questions:
- Read a more detailed statement of my reasons for belief in Why believe?
- What we can learn from the universe is discussed in How did the universe start? and Was the universe designed for us?.
- What we can learn from the human race is discussed in people and The human race.
- Credible miracle stories and other experiences of God can be found in Human experiences of God. Find the detailed accounts in Ten Healings, Heart starting action and Dying doctor recovers after prayer, and more.
- People’s positive experiences with God can be found in From atheist to christian and Changed lives.
- Read about how christianity differs from other religions in Choosing my religion.
- The historical evidence about Jesus is outlined in Jesus in history.