What Would It Take to Prove God's Existence to You?

If God wanted to prove Her existence to me, it would have to be something pretty obvious.

Like rearranging the stars to spell out “I AM YAHWEH YOUR GOD” in big, unambiguous letters.

Or Woody Allen’s Swiss bank account.

Forgive me if this topic has ever been posted before, but I am genuinely curious about the mindset of FriendofGod.

What is the standard or measure you use to determine if God does or doesn’t exist? And how has this standard proved to you God’s existence thus far?

So how 'bout it? What would it take to prove God’s non-existence to you?


Yer pal,
Satan

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Three months, four weeks, two days, 3 hours, 16 minutes and 26 seconds.
4845 cigarettes not smoked, saving $605.68.
Life saved: 2 weeks, 2 days, 19 hours, 45 minutes.[/sub]

"Satan is not an unattractive person."-Drain Bead
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As an Agnostic sort, I feel that only God, should He exist, of course, can prove his own existence. No human can do so. So, I guess the question this brings to my mind is why hasn’t God chosen to prove himself? To me, that is. And I don’t mean in some vague, ‘look for the signs, they are all around you’ sort of way. God should know how I think, therefore He should know what would make me believe. If He is truly interested in my devotion, then He should put in some effort. I don’t need Him. If He doesn’t make Himself known to me in a very real way, I can only assume He doesn’t need me. That, or He doesn’t exist.

Sorry, but subtlety doesn’t work well for me. If God exists, He can be more explicit about it. Otherwise, I see no reason to accept His existence; I have nothing to go on.

I will take a somewhat sideways tack on this question, since I am not an atheist, but rather a Christian. How would I convince atheists, as a group, that God is?

Well, I would not attempt miracle hunting, or calling up God the Bellboy to provide proof. Mostly I would not do that because I think it might really piss God off. Besides, it would not give faith to atheists, it would only provide them with proof for a belief in God. I don’t want that. I doubt that it would have much more value to the average atheist than does a belief in evolution, or stellar mechanics.

So, I am going to have to look for mundane things, in the ordinary world to show to my atheist friends. These things have to be pretty unambiguous, and consistent, after all, these are atheists we are talking about here, they aren’t about to take it on faith. So, I have to find a Christian somewhere, who will live his whole life as a demonstration of the obvious superiority of Christian philosophy in a way that does not depend on the truth of Gods existence. This Christian is going to have to act in such a way that it is obvious that he is doing the right thing, or at least trying to do the right thing, even if it doesn’t advance his religious opinion.

He has to follow a code of living that will be beneficial to the world at large and to individuals as well. It will have to be open to anyone at all, and of value to the both the world, and each person in it, within the scope of the world itself. We can’t count on heavenly reward to convince atheists, since they won’t consider that of import until after they stop being atheists. We will also have to have a long term for this example to run, to preclude the argument that luck or short term variability are the source of whatever benefit might accrue to the world. It will still be hard to do, since the Christian himself will have to be taking care of himself on his own for the demonstration to have real significance.

I doubt that many atheists will be convinced by it, but the Christian of choice will still have to live his life (and probably his entire life) knowing that he will not be a success in this regard, and he will die a failure in the estimation of most observers. Since the task is rather much to ask, I suppose I have no other option than to volunteer to be the demonstration Christian myself. It’s a shame we can’t find a more suitable example. So, I will then have to try to live as if I was trying to show the love of God, and of my Lord Jesus to every atheist I met, while never asking them to have faith in me or my beliefs. If my example falls short, I must be very open in admitting my failures, lest I leave my own sins as examples. I have to forgive all, and claim no authority to judge. And I have to be free of pride in my life, since it is nothing but a demonstration of what a man should do.

This is gonna be tough.

After a particular atheist found the choices of living to be worth making without considering God, he might be willing to examine the possibility that God makes it all make sense. But only after the demonstration had made the point that love of your fellow man is a good thing, whatever makes it good.

Probably won’t work, though.

Tris

A few ideas:

  1. prayer shown to be more effective than “placebo prayer” in curing illness in a proper, double-blind test.

  2. bad things only happening to bad people. Lightning strikes on assholes get bonus points.

  3. floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions etc. are accompanied by a thunderous voice from the sky telling us what we did to deserve it. Avoidance of these behaviours causing natural disasters to cease.

  4. divine revelation providing information unobtainable by other means.

I don’t believe in proof. I would never be absolutely convinced. Just like I’m not absolutely convinced with science.

I believe in God. (I’m Christian.) However, I have friends of several different religions.
If they “pray” or do some other ritual asking their higher power to convert me, I would not be offended by that. I would not convert, but I would be impressed with their obvious “spirituality” (for whatever that word’s worth).
My mindset on God (and also science and everything else I can’t completely understand) is that I’ll never have the brain capacity to absorb and comprehend it all. And I feel that Christianity is the way, yes for everyone, but not everyone will follow, and I can respect that. It’s a personal decision and it takes a great willingness to follow through…but I think it’s well worth it.
However, I will not “put down” other people’s religious, lifestyle, or emotional choices, because I was not put on earth to judge actions.
I was put on earth to “do the right thing”.
And I just hope I’m doing it.

I don’t really have much in a way of answering the OP (since I am a Christian) but regarding the “rude” part:

It’s rude if your mom tells you (“nags”) about the two bedroom apartment. If she merely thinks to herself “Boy, she needs a two bedroom apartment”, but doesn’t tell you or pester you about it, she’s not being rude. Right? I would think the same thing would apply to someone praying over you. If they privately pray about you, but don’t tell you about the prayers going on in their head, they are not “rude”, right?

You may, as an atheist, be annoyed at the concept that someone is praying for you…but as long as they keep the content of their prayers private, they aren’t anyone else’s business. (After all, as an atheist, you would consider the activity of praying as useless, like sending up thoughts into dead space, right?)

Unfortunately, Tris, I think all you would prove by your example would be:

  1. You are a good person,
  2. You are firm in your beliefs,
  3. You are not a hypocrite; you ‘practice what you preach’ (even though you may not be openly preaching, your stated intent by choosing to live such a life would be to have the same effect as if you werepreaching),
  4. Well…I can’t think of a #4.

I, for one, would certainly admire you (or anyone else) as a person for living such a life. And, it would certainly restore my faith in humanity. But, I don’t think it would convince me, anyway, that God exists. Any ‘proof’ must be personal, otherwise outside observers (e.g., me) can never really be sure of the source of your faith. “Sure, you say God speaks to you, and vice versa…” I’m not sure any person can adequately prove God’s existence to another; it’s all a matter of what people are willing to believe. Certainly, you were not swayed by clever logic to become a Christian, correct? At a guess, you were either brought up that way, or you had a profound, personal experience which changed your mind / mindset.

Please understand that I am in no way attempting to bash another’s beliefs. I am merely stating that any proof of God’s existence pretty much has to be between me (since I cant speak for anyone else) and God. It would be up to God to provide the proof, and it would be up to me to accept it.

See, I told you this was going to be tough! All I did so far was describe doing it, and I got doubters coming out of the woodwork already! So, my hypothetical self is gonna have to accept that each failure is only a single failure, and that if a single doubter comes to find the way to God, . . . well, he will have come there on his own, and it won’t be my doing at all.

I still think it would be the best plan, though, if I can live up to it. Beats smackin’ ‘em upside the head with a bible.

Tris

I agree with this statement. What it would take for me to believe is an intimitely personal experience.

I went to church often as youngster, with parents, grandparents, freinds etc… I was told by many of them, and all pastors as well, that I had to invite Jesus into my heart. If I would do that, I would feel his grace, it would be a life changing experience, and so on.

When I was 12, I did just that for the first time. And I felt…nothing. I did it again several times over the next few years, and I felt nothing. I gotta say I was a little disappointed.

I could only conclude from this one of two things. 1) God did not exist or 2) God passed on my invitation. I concluded that the first was more likely, even though they both amounted to much the same thing.

So there we are. All it would take for me, is some slight, personal inkling that God was somehow interested in me. That may well be very shallow, but it is what it is.

I believe there is nothing that could cause me to believe in the Christian god, the all-loving father who condemns his children to a fiery eternity if they don’t believe in him.

To begin to prove the existence of God/gods, the invisible pink unicorn, fairies, little green men, fortune telling, dowsing, telekinesis, or other supernatural concepts/practices, would require demonstration in a manner that eludes explanation by current scientific knowledge.

I think miracles could be pretty darned convincing. How come He stopped performing on a grand scale over the last coupla thousand years? As the song observes, “Did Mahommed move a mountain or was that just p.r.? … Israel in 4 b.c. had no mass communication.”

And it wouldn’t hurt if Tyra Banks came slinking in my door right now.

If someone told me correctly everything
that was going to happen in the next 24
hours of my life, I’d believe. But I do
wonder WHY people need belief in what
can’t be proven to exist. Isn’t what
we actually got good enough for you?

Oh yeah, and go ahead and pray for me. Just don’t pray at me. I choose to equate prayers with positive thoughts, wishing the best for me. So what if you happen to be a little misguided in the foundation for your expression of positive energy. If someone were praying that I’m a worthless sinner who will be damned in hell …, well fuck them. Any god that wants to hear that shit, well, I don’t need him.

Some guys I used to spar with used to start and end each session with a prayer. I basically tolerated it in silence because I enjoyed working out with them. When some friends and family were ill and died, I appreciated the opportunity to mention the fact. When they included my friends, family, and me in their prayers, it made me feel good, because they were wishing the best for me and those close to me. But it sure didn’t make me believe there is a God. And I swear if one more idiot told me to be glad because my best buddy was in a better place, I was gonna smack em!

If it makes you feel good to pray for me, hey, knock youself out. For my part, I can only offer my confusion as to why you would believe in such a thing. And maybe a little sympathy. But, hey, if you are happy in your beliefs, and don’t bother me or try to inflict them on me or mine, who am I to judge?

But yosemite…is this case, FoG is NOT just praying quietly. He’s looking for proof to attempt to convert the atheists on this board. If someone privately prays for all of us godless heathens, fine. More power to 'em. But FoG has stated several times that we wants to convert people. And therefore, I stand by my comment that it’s rude. (FTR, I am not an atheist…I just am not a fan of this. And I honestly wonder if I’m next on the list.)

Douglas Adams once covered this, via the babelfish argument.

Me, have him pop into my cubicle. We’d tawk. Have Cawfee.

What would it take?

I want “GOD” tatooed on my forehead when I wake up tomorrow.

Is that too much? Give me a counter-offer. I can be flexible.

Beeruser:

Give me your address… God will visit tonight.

sdimbert:

I thought God knew my address.

But just in case, here it is:

825 Sierra…

On second thought, I’m getting freaked out.

Will He settle for my social security number?