Let me tell you all now my own understanding of God in a few different ways. The scriptures for me comes first and mainly Jesus there, and we will just need a whole different thread on the bibles integrity and the contradictions you all say it has. Then comes my prayer and relationship with God, and then science to me continues to unfold more and more of the mystery of nature. Science continues to show the complexity in the universe, if you are at all scientific you can admit the nature and life of the universe has this perfect underlying balance, some times it seems chaotic others orderly, a little scary but other times extremely beautiful. The laws of nature as well a seem less coherency, to me all these things help me understand God's nature.
Alright, now that you've had your turn, here is another possible understanding of God.
1. The scriptures are fictional tales about a man who may or may not have existed. The bible is loaded with contradictions, errors, absurdities and atrocities, and has been manipulated by scribes and their masters over several hundreds of years.
2. Prayer does not work. Period. It simply doesn't do anything in a tangible sense. It provides no statistical benefit to any real life event, and this has been proven out in several large studies. Every time you perceive prayer to be working, it is nothing more than the way the events played out naturally. Laws of statistics and probabilities say that uncommon events are going to happen in our lives from time to time, and with millions and millions of believers, at some point, someone is going to pray for an uncommon event to take place and it will.
3. Your relationship with God is entirely fictional. It's completely and utterly inside your own head. And if you don't think it's possible that you could be having a fictional relationship with a non-existent God, then look around the world at the multitudes of other people who have relationships with other gods that you do not believe in, and ask yourself whether or not its possible that all of them
are deluded and you're
not? Yes, Sam. You're all suffering from the same delusion. I know it feels
real, and I know you really want
it to be there, but it's not.
4. Science does not point to God at all. In fact, a scientific understanding of the universe STARTS and FINISHES with the notion that at no point in time is there an overriding, willful force that can intercede at any moment and change things if it wants to. It doesn't look at gravity and say, "If you drop that ball 1000 times, it will fall to the ground 1000 times, unless of course God steps in and throws it upward." Science only works if you remove such foolishness and look at the world the way it really is. Nature and life is anything BUT a perfect balance. It's a daily struggle for power. Life and death hanging by a thread. The universe is constantly expanding faster and faster, and eventually our sun is going to burn up, thus ending life as we know it on this planet.
None of that speaks of God UNLESS you first start
with the belief that God is real, and plug everything I just said into it. That is what you are forced to do. You MUST make sense of it all in your brain, and your entire paragraph that I quoted above is nothing more than the way your mind squares your God belief with the world around you. It would be the same thing if I believed in a different God than you. I, too, would be forced to take the supposed characteristics of whatever god I believed in, and mash them together with the reality we see around us. Don't believe me? Alright, let's take an evil God for example.
I am suddenly going to start worshiping Gorthron the evil ice god (just making him up). Now, Gorthron is evil to the core. Loves to see people suffer, but has to find a way to keep them alive long enough to do it. I have this really old book that you say is full of contradictions, but I simply tell you that what you see as contradictions, are nothing more than Gorthron deceiving you. You take things out of context and constantly misinterpret the book. I also tell you that my prayers to Gorthron are always answered, as I constantly pray for the death and suffering of millions around the world (which, if you look at reality, all comes true). But you might respond by saying look how great and wonderful things are, and how beautiful nature is, and I say to you that all of that is done on purpose to make you think things are great. That way, when Gorthron tortures you, you are that much more of a victim.
See? This is the same thing you're doing with you're God. You are taking theological positions, based on what you believe about God, and saying them as if they were true. What you don't do, (and neither would a Gorthron worshiper), however, is START by asking yourself whether God or Gorthron exists, and letting the evidence lead you. The evidence doesn't lead to Gorthron, no matter how much theological wrangling I want to do, any more than it leads to your version of God.
Fiction, Sam. All of your God belief is fiction. All of it.
To add a little there I just want to say that in mind of all this balance, complexity, and marvelous intelligence we find in the universe, to say that all of it came from nothing and one day it will all be nothing again is a bigger leap of faith. If we are just going to poof out of existence forever When we die, I don't see why there is any reason for us to try and do good and why should we cherish things such as nature and love, because if all things in the cosmos will eventually be totally extinct, then there will be no drop of any memory of anything at all.(the laws of thermodynamics stating the eventual heat death of the cosmos)
There are so many problems with this paragraph. Others have dealt with it, so I'm not going to touch on how bad it is.
But it is through the Bibile, relationship with God, and his revealing of himself through his creation( which is stated throughout the entire Bible) proves to me without a doubt, that God does exist.
Here are some facts about the bible and Christianity that make that reasoning fall apart completely.
1. We have no idea who wrote the gospel stories.
2. We have no copies of the original works.
3. There is no contemporary historical record of Jesus and his life outside of the bible.
4. There were more different sects of Christianity in the early years than there are even today.
5. There is not a single thing in the bible that indicates it was written by divine authority.
6. There is no evidence of a resurrection anywhere to be found.
That's just a starting point.
In the bible it does say that God reveals himself through his creation. That is nothing more than a fancy way of saying creation exists, therefore god did it. There is no proof in that. It's a statement that could be either true or not true, and without significant proof, it is simply more likely to be not true. If I said Gorthron reveals himself through his creation, what would you think of me? Would you think that was a good argument?
Now of course I can't prove it for a fact to you all, but I would like to try and show you the rationality behind it but we will see how that goes I guess. But to conclude there, I don't hang my belief on any one thing listed, it is the coherent set of all of them.
And that is one of the reasons it is so difficult to pull you out of it. Because when we dismantle one of your arguments, you move on to the next one. And by the time we're done shredding that one, you've already forgotten about the other one we dismantled. Plus, waiting at the bottom of all of it is your faith that it's all true no matter what anyone else says. But you really, really could be wrong Sam. And you really, really are.
The reason I've said a lot of this is because many times in questioning it is portrayed like I'm hanging my faith on one thing, and that's just not it at all. It is going to take me a while to explain everything and maybe even a few different threads.
It doesn't matter how many reasons you have for your faith in God; if they are all bad reasons, or if there are other, more logical explanations than "God is responsible for this", then you should abandon your faith.