Why Believe in God? Apologetics for the Masses - #283

Bible Christian Society


Why Believe in God?


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General Comments

I hope all of you are praying for God's will to be done in the upcoming elections.  I hope He grants the grace for us to get what we need rather than what we deserve...



In this newsletter I respond to someone who is suffering a crisis of faith due to a personal loss.  This is not an uncommon situation.  I once had a priest tell me that there are two situations in life that always cause a person to think about God - the birth of a child, and the death of a family member or friend.  Sometimes these situations strengthen our faith, as is usually the case with the birth of a child, but they can also cause our faith to weaken, as can often happen with the death of a loved one.




      Hello, I became a Catholic through RCIA a few years back and I regularly listened to and greatly enjoyed your talks. However I have had a crisis of faith. My wife and I lost our unborn child and it deeply affected us both, but for me I simply lost faith. It wasn't so much my personal loss as much as the sudden awareness of so much wickedness in the world that I could not harmonize with tbe belief in an all-loving and all-powerful God. Its perhaps the oldest objection to the existence of the divine but I think it remains the hardest to solve. The answer of "freewill" is unsatisfactory for me. What does human error have to do with fetal demise after all?

       Needless to say I began to analyze my faith very critically and asked myself a simple question, "Can you convince yourself by your own logic or the best logic you can find in Church teaching that God exists. After several months I could not. I found every argument in favor of God unsatisfactory and neither blind faith in God or the teaching authority of the Church is satisfactory to me either. I am not looking for empirical proof-I know that is impossible - I only want a convincing argument with no holes or contradictions. I am not closed off to God. I WANT to believe, but I simply cannot.

       So, my question is this: what is your strongest argument for the existence of God? Please, take a little time to help a man in need.

       Thank you,



My Response

Dear Jim,

       First of all, I want to let you know how sorry I am for the loss you and your wife have suffered.  And, I certainly understand the crisis of faith that you have suffered as a result of that loss.  How can an all-loving and all-powerful God allow evil?  So, given the existence of evil in this world, you ask: "What is your strongest argument for the existence of God?"  I have more than one argument that I would like to present to you, so I hope you will bear with me as I go through them.

       Argument #1 - the love you have for your child.  You and your wife obviously cared deeply for the child you lost.  And the loss of this child caused you to "become aware of so much wickedness in the world."  Well, if there is no God, then I'm sorry to tell you, but there is no such thing as love.  Furthermore, there is no such thing as wickedness, or evil.  The material world is all there is and in a purely material world there is no such thing as love or good or evil.  Everything exists by mere chance, as a result of random biochemical processes, without any purpose, without any destiny, without any reason - everything simply is what it is.

       The feelings you think you have for your child, are the result of random, meaningless, biochemical processes.  The feelings you think you have for your wife result from these same random, meaningless, biochemical processes.  Your child's life had no purpose.  Even if he or she had been born and lived eighty or ninety years, that life would still have had absolutely no purpose, and neither would it have had any value.  Just like your life and your wife's life have absolutely no value and no meaning and no purpose.  Without God, everything is here by chance, everything is completely random, everything is completely without purpose.  Do you believe life - any life - has purpose and meaning?  If you do, then it only has purpose and meaning because God gave it purpose and meaning.

       Without God, we are simply brute animals - oh, we're the smartest of the brute animals, but we are brute animals, nonetheless.  Have you ever watched a nature film and seen a crocodile grab a young antelope as the herd is crossing a river?  Did you ever think to yourself, "That evil crocodile?"  Or, when you've watched a film of a lion killing a gazelle did you think, "What an evil thing to do?"  No, of course not.  But why not?  Because in the animal world, there is no such thing as morality.  Things simply are what they are.  Well, if there is no God, then we are nothng more than animals and there is no such thing as morality.  No such thing as good or evil.  Oh, we can pretend there is such a thing as morality, but, truth be told, morality is an imaginary concept some people make up in order to play well together. 

       The problem is, though, that without God, there is nothing that binds anyone to the imaginary morality that we create for ourselves.  So, someone named Adolf, or Josef, or Mao comes along and murder millions of people, and the best we can say is, "Well, I wouldn't do that."  But, without God, without an objective morality that comes from God, we cannot say that what any of those men did was wrong, or that it was evil.  What they did was simply the result of random, meaningless, biochemical processes.  They had no choice but to do what they did, because there is no such thing as free will.

       You see, I don't think the problem of evil is the most difficult objection to answer when it comes to the question of the existence of God, because if there is no God, then there is no such thing as evil.  Just as there is no such thing as "good."   There is no such thing as "freedom."  No such thing as "justice."  No such thing as "right" or "wrong."  No such thing as "love."  Without God, there are only mindless, random, meaningless biochemical processes that cause us to do what we do.  There is no such thing as "free will."  All of these concepts I've just mentioned are mere figments of our imagination.

      That's why whenever I discuss God with atheists, I always find it amazing that they talk about the existence of evil to "prove" there is no God.  They are using a concept, "good vs. evil," that is borrowed from theism, to "prove" there is no God.  That would be like me using a concept from mathematics to prove that there is no such thing as mathematics; or if I used a quote from an atheist to prove that particular atheist didn't exist. 

       If you believe there is evil in the world, then the question is not whether or not God exists - He has to exist if there is such a thing as evil - the question is: "Why does He allow evil?"  Now, I know you panned the "free will" explanation, but I want to briefly look at that argument.  Why did you and your wife conceive a child?  Out of love, right?  The love between a husband and a wife is naturally pro-creative.  Our love, when it is truly love, creates life.  Why?  Because it is an imitation of God's love.  God loves, and so He creates.

       But, what if your wife had no choice but to have a child with you?  What if your wife sharing your bed was not of her own free will?  What if she loved you not out of a free choice she made, but because she had no choice?  What if she had been pre-programmed to "love" you?  What if your wife was, essentially, nothing more than a pre-programmed biochemical robot?  Could you truly say that she "loved" you?  And, what if it was the same for your "feelings" towards her?  Could you honestly say, in that situation, that you loved her?  Absolutely not.

       Love is the result of a choice, freely made through a combination of the person's intellect and will.  If your wife had no choice but to "love" you, then it really isn't love.  If God makes it so that we have to "love" Him, then it really isn't love.  Without the freedom to choose to love, or not to love, then love cannot exist.  So, God wants us to love Him - not for His sake, but for ours.  In order for that to happen, we have to be given free will to love Him or to reject Him.  When we reject Him, we reject what is good.  When we reject what is good, it is called sin.  Sin has consequences, not just in the spiritual world, but in the material world as well. 

       But, if we have no free will, there is no such thing as evil.  Evil only exists if one is free to reject good. No God; no free will; no love; no hate; no evil; no good; no right; no wrong.

       Argument #2 - the Cross of Christ.  For me, the answer to all suffering is the Cross of Jesus Christ.  God came to earth to suffer and die for us.  Why did it have to be that way?  I don't know.  But there was a point in my life - after being out of the Church for 12 years and having lived a godless heathen life - that I had come to the same crossroads at which you find yourself.  You are coming from the avenue of belief and turning onto the road of unbelief.  I was coming from the road of unbelief and turning the corner onto the avenue of belief.  So I asked myself, "Did Jesus Christ really exist?"  I looked at the historical data - the Scriptures, the early Christian writings, the non-Christian historical references to Christ - and I looked at the logic of this movement called "Christianity" existing if the Founder actually did not exist; and I looked at other things as well - miracles, the lives of the Saints, and so on.  And I came to believe that Jesus really did exist.

       The next question I asked myself was, "Was He who He claimed to be...God?  Or, was He just some great philosopher and teacher as the New Agers claim?"  After deliberating over the question for a while, I came to realize that Jesus Christ was - as C.S. Lewis put it - either a liar, a fool, or God.  After all, if someone claims he is God, he is either lying, or he is a fool, or he really is God.  He could not have been merely some wise teacher.  And then I looked at those closest to Jesus - the Apostles.  11 out of 12 of them suffered horrific martyrdoms.  Now, a person might risk their lives for fame, fortune, pleasure, or power, but they will not risk their lives for something they know to be a lie.  Which, if Jesus wasn't God, then the Apostles knew dadgum straight up that He wasn't God.  Furthermore, no one would risk themselves for a lie that resulted in suffering, torture, jail, poverty, abuse, persecution, and all manner of physical evils.  All of which led me to believe that Jesus was, and is, God.

       And, not only is He God, but He came to earth to suffer and die for me on the Cross.  He took my sins upon Himself so that I could be free.  He gave my suffering value in that I can now unite it to His sufferings for my own salvation and the salvation of others.  If there is no God, however, then suffering is meaningless and cruel.  If there is a God - a God Who suffered for us - then suffering has a reason, a purpose.  Now, it's not always a purpose we can discern, but we have to trust the One Who died for us that there is a purpose to it. 

       But, your question is, how did sin cause the death of your child?  It's because all of nature is out of balance due to sin.  Adam's sin, THE original sin, caused an imbalance in all of creation, not just among human beings.  It created a rupture in man's relationship with God, with each other, with the animals, and with all of the created world.  That is why there is any kind of evil in our lives - spiritual or physical.  Listen to what Paul says in Romans: "I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itelf will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now, and not only the creation, but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit..." (verses 18-23).

       Creation itself is out of balance.  It has been subjected to futility and bondage and decay.  That's why physical evil happens - earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, disease, miscarriage, and so on.  Everything to do with our physical existence is currently out of whack.  Jesus' death on the Cross is the 1st step in the healing process.  It is a long process, a process filled with pain, and anguish, and suffering, and death.  But we now have hope that there is meaning in that suffering.  There is meaning in that pain.  And we have hope that we will, one day, conquer death at the return of the Risen Christ, Who has Himself already conquered it.  Without God, though; without Jesus' death on the Cross; then all of our suffering is meaningless, without value, without purpose, and there will be no ultimate redemption.  Again, without God, we have a hopeless, meaningless existence.

       Argument #3 - Science and reason.  If there is no God, then all of creation simply - "POOF" - accidentally popped into existence all by itself.  We know from science, though, that every effect has a cause.  The effect is the creation of matter, so what is the cause?  Well, we also know from science that matter cannot create itself out of nothing.  So, if something material did not cause the universe, then it had to be something immaterial.  Furthermore, if there is no God, then there is no rhyme, no reason, no logic, no purpose, no rationale for the universe.  Yet, this accidental, random, purposeless creation came loaded with all sorts of physical laws that are filled with rhyme and reason, logic, and rationality. 

       So, we are left with the fact that there had to be a non-material cause to the universe, and this non-material cause created a universe that has very specific physical laws that govern it - which is evidence of intent and purpose and intelligence.  There are many other attributes we could discuss concerning this non-material, seemingly intelligent cause of the universe, but I will not go there for now.  Suffice it to say, that science and reason give us pretty strong evidence, from creation, for the existence of God.   

       Argument #4 - Why is there something rather than nothing?  This is a question that cannot be answered by anyone who does not believe in God.  Oh, they will argue, "We can to answer it," but when pushed, the answer is simply something along the lines of, "Well, there's something rather than nothing...just because."  Really?!

       I could go on, and I plan to in a few newsletters in the not-too-distant future.  But I will leave it at this for now.  I don't know if I have persuaded you or not, but I hope I have at least given you something to think about.


Closing Comments

My family and I constantly keep all of you in our prayers.  Please keep us, and the Bible Christian Society, in yours.  I hope you are all having a wonderful summer!



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Apologetics for the Masses