Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Vital Question

Perhaps this post should be titled “Why I am not an atheist,” since there is a personal element involved. But it is titled the way it is because the question of God’s existence is one that everyone should ask themselves at some point during their lives.    
For the answer to the question of whether there is a God raises myriad other questions. If there is a God, then the obvious question arises – what (if anything) does He want of us? If there is no God, then right and wrong are illusions, so why can't human beings act as they will? 
Morality, life choices, afterlife - all of these important issues stem from God's existence or non-existence. 
(For what it is worth, I proved God’s existence definitively and brilliantly. But I digress.)
I was born and raised as a theist, but considered atheism for years. Intellectually, certain problems – especially the difficulty of reconciling God’s omniscience and omnipotence in the face of people going to Hell – bothered me about theism. And at many points of my life, I would have preferred the void of atheism to the definiteness of a God. A world without God, moral law, and an afterlife would have been far more appealing and comforting to a young man whose life was, shall we say, not exactly a paragon of moral virtue.
It’s not as if being an atheist is a hardship in America. Atheists win the praise of practically every “sophisticated” writer in America, and receive the unskillfully directed scorn of a few noisy Christians in return. Yes, they see the occasional statue or billboard. But they don’t have to drag their butts to church or have pesky moral rules about things like sex. They also have the satisfaction of believing that on earth, there is no higher being than humanity.
Theism, of course, has its advantages as well: the comforts of an afterlife, the assurance that suffering happens for a reason, the explanation for a lot of insanity that happens in the world. But the vital question does not ask which system is more comforting; false comfort or pride does no good to anyone.
I believe in God for 2 main reasons (and many smaller ones). The first is a modified version of St. Thomas’ 5 ways. All causes must have a first cause. If one accepts the Big Bang theory, explaining what caused the Big Bang is impossible without a God; a speck of unimaginable density doesn't suddenly explode without reason. 
The other definitive proof of God’s existence (for me) is the existence of miracles. Some miracles can be explained away by scientific means. But there are numerous miracles (Fatima comes to mind) which are impossible to explain using the scientific method; 9-year-old children don't just suddenly accurately predict extreme meteorological phenomena.  

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