So, Patrick Henry, here's a new thread so you can show us what there is that could lead us to believe that there is not only a really existing god but also that we should all believe in him.
As atheists, obviously we are not believers and we can't see any evidence that is changing our views. one of the problems we have with this topic is the nature of evidence that counts. Some examples.
1. Even if a few hundred people said that posting a £($) 10 note through a particular letter box would result in me getting £($) 1,000 back next day, would I do it? Certainly not. I'd be asking for information about what was going on, how it worked etc. I certainly wouldn't take the word of someone I didn't know.
2. Supposing a person came up to me and said that she was sure, because she saw it in here head, that if I buy a lottery ticket with this list of numbers I will win a huge prize. I wouldn't do it - can you see why Patrick Henry?
So, I am not looking here for proofs like we get in mathematics nor even supported theories like the theory of evolution. I am looking for the equivalent of an argument that would get me investing £($) 1,000 in a business that was just starting up say.
Have a go...
Well I have to say first of all that I agree with you in your example. I would not fall for a claim like that because it seems like it is self serving in such a way that it could be unethical. In other words, if the business model didn't serve a good overall purpose, then by it's nature it could be motivated by purely selfish desire, and thus, something to distrust. It could be either a scam on me or someone else.
That is one of the things actually that has drawn me to Christianity. The faith if practiced correctly, is not self serving at all. It is self giving
I see the evidence for God vs no God as scales with weights stacking on on one side or the other. And the scales tip to the side of God in a big way. It is a multi-dimensional stacking of weight, as God meets not only the physical criteria, but the emotional, spiritual, psychological, and relational needs that human beings have. It's not that I ignore science or the physical realm for proof. But I believe if we rely only on science and the physical world, I think we miss Him completely.
So in order to understand my points for belief in God, you would first have to accept something that I believe is true. That mankind is made up of more than just the physical. We have other dimensions to us. Love, music, art, self sacrifice, laughter, sadness, and all of these expressions (and more) tell me that we are more than just tangible. We have qualities like higher level thinking and a consciousness that causes us to ask why am I here? Where did I come from? Where am I going?
Observations like this leads me to believe that we are more than just evolved beasts. That we are not random chance beings whose ancestors crawled out of a primordial soup and eventually become man. I don't see the evolutionary reason or even the possibility of evolution "needing to" create those intangible qualities (as if evolution itself had a brain and a motive). But I won't dwell on evolution because in my mind evolution isn't really the main contest to the agrument against belief in God. But it is a good talking point since it is thrown around so much.
So that is the backdrop to my faith and I am drawn to faith in God also for these particular reasons. Sorry that some of these are not "evidence" that you would probably like to read about. But they are my reasons
1. I see evidence of good and evil
2. I have reason to believe in the authenticity of the bible
3. The bible also admits the problem of good and evil
4. The bible states that the ability for good and evil exists in people. Which I see evidence of.
5. The bible states that mankind needs to be taught what good and evil are. Otherwise, if left to their own devices, man will deviate into a place where he hurts and destroys himself and others around him. I see evidence of this throughout history and in today's world. But ultimately a society without God's rules for living written in their hearts, will decay. Therefore God in the bible shows us that we are lost without Him.
6. Other religions are self serving in that they try to control their followers. If practiced correctly, Christianity allows people to choose. As Joshua said "choose for yourself this day whom you will serve".
Jesus said "behold I stand at the door and knock, if any one opens the door I will come into Him and dwell".
7. There is a law of nature that says all sin must be paid for with a price. Similar to the first law of thermodynamics in physics, there is a spiritual law in a sense that we can see manifest itself here in the natural realm. If people steal, lie, covet, murder, there is a price to be paid, by someone. Either the victim or the perpetrator pays the price of the activity.
8. Christ came to pay the price for the sins of the world. There is a price to be paid for the sin of the world that leads to decay of society and death. Jesus came to pay that price. This is not self serving or controlling. It is a free gift for all who will believe.
9. The offer of salvation being a free gift through faith, is not something that I see men who wrote books in the bible at different points in time, could have come up with on their own, without collaboration. It is not self serving especially when considering the time and culture in which they lived.
10. Christ had a huge impact on the world. The world's calendar for example is based on His birth. Major holidays around His birth and resurrection.
11. Men who knew Him where martyred and persecuted because of their faith in Him. It makes no sense to go to your grave in an ugly painful way for something you weren't sure was true. I could maybe understand if these guys never knew Him and fell for a lie passed down through the generations. This was not the case for Peter, Steven, Paul, James, and many others. They knew Christ.
12. I have had sin in my own life and Christ has changed me. My belief in Him has caused me to love God for the free gift of salvation that He has given me. This in turn gives me a desire to avoid sin and things that lead to sin. Because of a love for God.
13. Christianity, if practiced correctly, works for human flourishing. It works for individuals and society. A correct form of Christianity that I have seen in action, has been proven to work well.
14. I have reconciled within myself that a good God can allow suffering
15. I have reconciled within myself that a loving God can send people to hell
I have more reasons to give and could get into the details of each point and more if you'd like.
I hope it made sense. If not, I'll try to explain in better detail.
- Patrick Henry