Five Pages and no Answer
Gosh, you are doing well, Patrick, avoiding the question for this long. I'm getting tired of seeing page passing page with no straight answers. So let's try again, Patrick.
Please answer -
1. What are your reasons for believing there is an actual existing god in or outwith the universe? (This is just the reason your believe this - nothing more.)
2. What might turn up that would make you change your mind about the existence of a god?
Right, Patrick, quite simple - just two answers needed and our discussion here might end....
If you go back to page one of the thread you'll see my first attempt. It was not avoidance. I'll write something new for you that should go along with it:
I sense that there is more to life than.... that we live a certain life span then we die without any consciousness. Based on that I've looked to answers in religion, philosophy, and even atheism.
I see a lot of answers to common questions of the heart and the basic human condition are found in the bible. I believe that a clue to this consciousness that I referred to is that we were made in the image of God. Therefore we are looking for God, even though we don't know it in many cases.
Evidence that we look for God is that we all look for meaningfulness in life. While we may strive for stuff like money, big houses, great careers, we are never truly satisfied with stuff. All this serves as a God replacement and indicates I think, that all people worship something. Whether it's money, power, sex, self, physical beauty, on and on. We put so many things in life on a pedestal and make them ultimate things in our lives, that we are rarely found to be happy or content. The consequence is that we tend to grow old not in peace, but in frustration. Not saying that there aren't exceptions to this. But I think that it is evidence that people need a hope that is beyond themselves and even this life. Again, most people seem to be wired this way. People all over the world and every generation.
Another thing to point out is hope. Hope is a powerful thing. Hope can lift up a person's spirit and literally save their life. We've all seen or read stories of people who died needlessly without hope, and people who survived against the odds because they didn't let their hope die. It's an interesting phenomenon. Hope, faith, conscience, consciousness, love, beauty, laughter, art, music, all of which have substance but at the same time have ethereal qualities to them, make us more than just physical creatures like animals, in my opinion. Not putting down animals, just saying I don't observe these same qualities. Therefore, I call these things mounting evidences of a possibility that I'm more than just a creature who is a product of random chance.
I don't get the sense that there is no purpose to this life. To the contrary, I get a strong sense of purpose and meaning from these mentioned human traits. So I do link purpose and meaning with something higher than me. I do not link purpose, meaning, these other existential traits and ideas with random chance evolution from nothing or no being. But instead it makes greater sense to me to look for a creator in order to find the answer to why humans do what they do and have the traits that they have. At this point I'm not saying that this leads to Christianity. But most likely to a being or something beyond me that is a creator of all this.
This is not confined to Western civilization, most people in the world and throughout history have felt this way and have been searching for God or had at least a general feeling of something bigger than themselves. This is not proof that there is life beyond, but when there is mounting evidence toward something, then it becomes something significant.
So, based on all of this, I looked for solutions and when presented with the gospel of Jesus Christ, found meaning and answers that really spoke to me. It was something that I could not kick. I tried to move away from it but have always been drawn back to the message of Christ and the bible. So without fighting any more, I realized that I am a Christian.
Now that I'm a Christian, I've tried to make sure that what I believe is true or not true. What I've discovered so far is that the bible is a trustworthy set of books full of prophecies that have come true, archeology that has been uncovered to authenticate, eye witness testimony, and effectual change in human lives that brings about cultural and individual change for the better. I recognize that there are other religions and beliefs that can bring about good changes as well. So I've looked into the truth claims of many different things and found Christianity to be a much more reliable and fitting representative of what I see the truth being.
I believe that the story of Christ trumps all other beliefs and the authenticity of the bible does as well. I do recognize that there are biblical difficulties, but over the years science, archeological discoveries, maybe better interpretive skills, help to reveal the truth in the bible. So those difficulties that we have today may very well be taken care of in the future.
Some Christians put greater emphasis on other things, like miracles. I'm not discounting those supernatural things either. In order to believe in God, a Christian needs to accept that. I'm aware that this website calls on people to answer that big question, "why not amputees"? We can always ask questions like that though. Why didn't God reveal more to us? I really don't know. But I don't think that it disproves God either. By the way, this is kind of a jab, but there were eye witnesses that Jesus healed an amputee. Remember Peter cut off a Roman soldier's ear and Jesus healed it. I know, I know, it's in the bible and those people aren't alive and we have no video tape to prove it. Eye witness testimony is acceptable in court systems today. It makes sense that it be considered when looking into the claims of the bible.
There is a lot more to say, but all the details are just things that we debate over and over.
Anyway, those were a lot of words that you won't accept.
But in a nutshell, I believe because I agree with the bible, that belief is really a supernatural thing that God does to an otherwise cold human heart. It takes humility and and a recognition that there is something wrong to begin with. That I'm a sinner in need of salvation from Jesus Christ,......... the One claimed to be the Messiah and who impacted the world so much.
What would change my mind? If Jesus were not a real person who lived. Or if it could be proven that He wasn't who the bible said He was. For example, if it were proven that He really didn't die on a cross under a Roman crucifixion. That His body was really stolen to fool people into believing in the resurrection. Or disproving the authenticity of the biblical narrative of Christ and His deity. (NB: Edited for clarity. There is nothing in atheism or Christianity that prohibits the use of double line spacing after paragraphs: walls of text are hard to read.