How can anyone justify belief in God?

Well? I only ask because I see no definite reason to believe in God, or religion in general. The idea of any intelligent, logical person accepting such outlandish claims as are made by religion such as Christianity, Judaism, and so on with no evidence whatsoever to back them up is unbelievable to me.

A similar question is: why should I, as an individual who has seen or experienced nothing that would give me a rational reason to believe in the existence of a God (or the validity of religion in general), do so?

Please don’t tell me faith. It seems to me that when most people say “faith”, they really mean “my parents told me it’s true when I was very young and I was brainwashed into believing it”.

So far, no one has been able to give me a satisfactory answer to this question. If this has been discussed before on the SDMB, I apologize for not finding it in my search.

How on earth can you justify denying the existence of God?
An alien question to you? Yup. Just as yours is to believers. All I can say is that reasons for belief vary. Some believe simply because its what they’ve always done. Some see the majesty of the universe and figure it’s just a little too big and orderly to have been an accident. Some have experiences that cause them to believe. Many just want to believe in something.

Sorry, cap’n. No easy answers. But seeing as how many intelligent, educated, and erudite people throughout history have believed in a god or gods, it might behoove you to rein in your scorn a little.

Why should anyone be expected to justify their belief in a god?

I feel no need to justify my non-belief in a god to anyone, and I would consider anyone who demanded such a justification from me to be extremely rude.

I would expect my fellow non-believers to extend the same courtesy to believers.



I’m gonna have to agree with Sua on this, Why should anyone have to justify it?


As it currently is, we can’t say a god exists or doesn’t exist. I agree that people shouldn’t have to justify their belief in “god,” but I find it ridiculous that some of these people who believe in “god” dislike many other people because they don’t believe in “god.” Why in the world should it matter whether someone believes in something or not? That’s no reason to dislike someone. I don’t believe in leprechauns, yet I don’t go whining to other people because they believe in them.

The voice of Reason.

Now coming at you in stereo surround sound.

Man, that must have hurt. :wink:

What would constitute a satisfactory answer to an intelligent, logical person such as yourself?

(Actually, I highly doubt that you are very logical - your post contains no logic, only emotional histrionics and pejorative language. Sorry.)

Politeness and board rules prohibit me from expressing my heartfelt response to this degradation of my faith. Needless to say, I disagree with your premise here and have nothing more to say to you.

Check and check. That’s what it is for me.

Not that I had to justify my beliefs to you, Mister V. But that’s what it is for me.

See my sentence on faith in the OP.

Why? I’m looking for logical reasons.

Orderly? It’s only orderly because it has had time to organize itself in accordance with established scientific laws - one picosecond after the Big Bang it was not orderly at all.

You’re saying if the Universe was 1 light year across you wouldn’t believe in God? It’d still be the largest thing in existence, from your perspective. Size is relative. You have nothing to compare it to that you can see. It may be big in relation to you, but so what? Maybe if you take other dimensions into account it is actually incredibly small and insignificant. If you were 10^100 times smaller, and the Universe was too, you would say the same thing.

This is the only argument that holds water, since it provides actual evidence in support of the existence of God(s). But not every “intelligent, educated, and erudite” person has had an experience like this, and some of them still believe.

I apologize if I sound like too much like I’m trying to provoke an argument - I really am curious about how people who are very logical, rational, etc. in other things can be completely different with regard to this topic.

I apologize. I’d still be glad to have someone give me a logical answer, however.

Personally, I justify my belief in god on the existence of certain historical documents of ~2000 year-old vintage which appear to be self-consistent and well-attested, and describe events in the life of a guy who claimed to have a very intimate pipeline to God, and did some stuff that would have been impossible unless this claim were true.

Of course, I have other reasons too (personal experience, evidence from the lives of other people I respect, philosophical arguments, etc etc). But that’s the biggie.

I guess the thing to me Mister V is the very simple…what’s it to ya?

If it’s illogical to you for me to have faith in God…then you can assume that I’m somewhat illogical…and then what?

i’m not fit to drive a car? Hold a job? How does someone’s belief in a higher power directly affect you in your straightlaced life of naught but logic?

What logic is there in cubist art? What logic is there in absurdist theatre? What logic in poetry? Do you dislike all of these things?

I’ve been a Christian all my life and it brings me tremendous peace and focus. I am able to deal with stress better and it brings strength and commonality to my marriage.

I’m still a relative democrat, pro choice and I still swear and have sex…so…what’s it to ya?


Ya know, this is just crap. People who assert that belief in God is irrational because science explains it all don’t know science.
Science doesn’t know the answers to 99.99999999% of the questions.
Your statement about the Big Bang assumes that the theories of inflation, the Standard Model, etc., are fact. They aren’t - they are consistent with the Universe as we observe it, but they aren’t proven (and the Standard Model is getting battered by competing theories)
Hell, science doesn’t even know what the majority of our universe (dark matter) consists of.
I believe that science has the ability to, some day, provide all the answers. But that is, quite frankly, a statement of faith.

You make the assumption that belief in the divine is illogical or irrational. Bad, bad assumption. Given the evidence (or, more importantly, the lack thereof), there is nothing illogical or irrational about believing that the answer to the unanswered questions is that there was a First Cause.


…to name a few:

  1. They may have grown up believing in God, because that was what their parents and/or peers believed in.

  2. They may have experienced what they believed to be a miracle, attributing it to the Divine.

  3. They may have had some significant event happen in their lives which drew them to a belief in God.

  4. God may actually exist and be drawing them to Him; many Christians believe that this is the function of the Holy Spirit. This might be true of other religions, too.

  5. They may simply need, on an emotional level, to have someone out there who is bigger than them, who keeps things going, who rewards the good and punishes the bad, who helps them when things go wrong, who loves them… and thus they believe in God.

  6. They may give what’s known as the cosmological argument, which is basically: everything that exists happens because something caused it, so therefore there must be some initial cause—which they believe must be God.

  7. Or, as stated, they may see the universe as being a complex, orderly thing, and not believe that it could have happened merely by chance, so they believe this implies the existence of God.

  8. They may be persuaded by Pascal’s (sp?) wager, namely: 1) Either there is a God or there is not. 2) Either you believe in God or you do not. Combining these factors results in four possible situations: a) God exists & you believe: you go to Heaven (for example); b) God doesn’t exist & you believe: you’re wrong, and you die just like everyone else; c) God doesn’t exist & you don’t believe: you’re right, and you die just like everyone else; or d) God does exist & you don’t believe, and you’re in big trouble. They naturally weigh the consequences and figure that believing in God, on the chance that He does exist, is their best bet.

  9. They may have had what they believed to be divine experience (light at the end of the tunnel, visions, etc.).

And doubtlessly many other reasons. Some may be logically defensible, others may not be. None may work for you. But many do have their reasons—and maybe they’re right.

I’m sorry if I offended you. When I said most people, I meant every person whom I have talked to regarding this issue (they’ve admitted it). If you do not fall into that category, fine. I did not intend any of my post to be insulting to you or anyone else, and sincerely apologize if it sounded that way (which, upon reflection, I must admit it did).

The definition of faith which I am using is: “firm belief in something for which there is no proof” ( That disqualifies faith as a logical reason for belief in God, which is why I asked “Please don’t say faith”.

And my intent was not to ask people to justify their belief in God to me! Rather, I’m wondering how they justify it to themself.

I’m wondering because I’ve been debating the question of whether God exists or not with myself, and have been unable to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. Logically, I would say He does not. But then, I wonder why everyone else hasn’t arrived at the same conclusion. So, I decided to pose the question to the SDMB.

Methinks I need to be more careful with my wording.

I can only speak for myself, but:

I believe in God because I have met Him. I have seen him at work, and I have seen Him do things that can’t be explained by science (As recently as last week).

I believe in God because I look at the world, and the universe and see how incredibly beautiful and awesome it is, and I don’t think that it can be adequately explained by science.

I believe in God because I have studied both the bible and other historical sources and I find them logical and consistent.

I believe in God because people I know, trust and love tell me about things that they have seen and experienced.

Finally, I belive in God in an act of faith. I can’t prove the existence of God. That’s why we use the word believe.

I consider myself to be rational, logical and intelligent person - I have an honours degree in engineering - hardly a qualification that implies a lack of logical and scientific ability. I haven’t been brainwashed into anything. There have been times when I have challenged my beliefs and had them challenged by others. I have thought it through on many occasions, and no one tells me what to think or believe. In the end, it’s my choice to believe these things.