My husband is going through a period of spiritual reawakening. This means that his beliefs are being taken out and spring cleaned.
It is an interesting position to be in. I am grateful he is doing it. It always inspires more thought on my part.
This week at college where I teach we read two articles on the question of God. The editors of the book don’t believe in God, so the ten page essay which argues for God is poorly written, hard to read, and has some ridiculous arguments. One reason for believing which the author gave was that famous people believed. I found the reasoning poor. There were some points which had more validity than others, but overall I was unimpressed. Of course, the article which was against God basically argued that famous people didn’t believe in God. (Perhaps the same people on a different day?) Many of the quotes could be taken as other than a profession of atheism.
After reading the articles in class, and hearing my discussion of the arguments in the articles, my students asked what “good” reasons would be. I told them that I didn’t know. (One of those “I’ll know them when I see them?” No. But if I tell them what good arguments are, then those are the only ones I will get and I will miss out on the best arguments the students themselves have.)
Then the students asked me what I believe and why. I had actually been thinking about what I would have written if I had been the one assigned the essay. (Always a good plan if you are going to give out an assignment.)
I told them that I came up with three basic reasons why I believe in God.
The first is that I was taught to believe in God. They rolled their eyes at that one. But as my husband reminded me, if you aren’t taught something, how do you know it? Math is still true, even though you have to be taught math.
The second reason for believing is that the Bible is historically accurate. (The Bible is not a history book. I make no arguments that the entire history of the universe, or even the people in it, are contained within its pages. What I am saying is that no historical fact recorded in the Bible has been proven to be false.) For centuries people have doubted the Bible because historical things in the Bible weren’t seen in archaeology or known in history. Yet time and again, those arguments were muted, because the book is accurate. The archaeologists have found records mentioning Hittites. They have uncovered proof that the Phonecians offered child sacrifices. And so on.
My third reason for believing in God is that he has shown himself in my life. As a child of the modern world, I have difficulty discussing this. It is against my rationalistic upbringing. But it is true. God has answered my prayers in miraculous ways. For example, my brother lived for six weeks even though he was only able to drink 24 drops of fluid each day. God kept him alive. And God has blessed my life in other less obvious ways. But God’s presence in my life is a fact in my life. I have heard him speaking and seen him work.