Tag Archives: reasons to believe

The Role of Faith

Some look to their faith in God in their happiest or awe-struck moments, or some lean on their faith in their lowest or darkest times. Some turn to their faith “just in case it’s true,” and some long for a relationship with a loving God. Some “know or feel” that He is real, and others have found facts to undergird their faith. Often the evidence found reflects one’s personal preference.

For those that look for evidence, both philosophy and science are examined. Science is not enough to explain causes for:

The beginning and fine tuning of the universe, laws of nature and mathematics

The source and complexity of the beginning of life, a genetic code to create life from non-life, mind, consciousness and free will

Objective morality and evil

History

 

The beginning and fine tuning of the universe, laws of nature and mathematics

If space, time and matter had a beginning, then the cause cannot be space, time or matter. The cause had to be powerful to create the universe out of nothing. The cause had to choose to create because it cannot be automatic according to the laws of nature since the laws of nature had a beginning. It’s impossible in principle for nature to create itself.

Athiest Stephen Hawking estimates that if the expansion rate of the universe was different by one part in 100,000 million million, one second after the big bang, the universe would have either collapsed back on itself or never developed galaxies. No cosmic evolutionary process can account for this. If the gravitational force were different by one part in 10 to the 40, which is one part in 1 followed by 40 zeros, our sun would not exist and neither would we. That number is like comparing 1 inch to the rest of the entire known universe. By natural processes could life be sustained with exactly the right surface gravity, surface temperature, atmospheric composition, atmospheric pressure, crustal iron abundance, tectonics, volcanism, rotation rate, rotation rate decline, stable rotation axis and degree of tilt?

The source and complexity of the beginning of life, a genetic code to create life from non-life, mind, consciousness and free will

All of the 3 billion characters of your genome must be right, except a rare error, for you to survive. No physical or chemical reaction mandates the arrangement of these genetic letters. Can natural forces determine codes? Richard Dawkins says that the amount of information in a one-celled life, like an amoeba, has as much information in its DNA as 1,000 Encyclopedia Britannica’s. Information from DNA is so dense that if you transfered all of the books in all of the world’s libraries into the language of DNA it would fit into a volume equivalent to 1% of the head of a pin. Can this occur naturally? Could an entire bookstore created by an explosion in a print shop?

If evolution is the mechanism by which living organisms develop advantageous mutations, would they have immediately developed the means of replicating or the coding mechanism like DNA to facilitate that? That life came from non-life is amazing—that it could emerge with the mechanisms necessary to create a second generation of life makes already-slim probabilities even slimmer. These are logistical challenges that a purely material view can’t properly answer. The chances are unbelievably slim. Materialism is not the safest bet. An Intelligent Mind that has orchestrated the process is far more likely. Dr. Stephen Meyer in his book Darwin’s Doubt shows through experimentally based calculations that the standard mechanism of mutation and natural selection wouldn’t have “enough opportunities to produce the genetic information necessary to build even one single novel gene or protein, let alone all the new genes and proteins needed to produce new animal forms.” He adds, “Even in a best case scenario – one that ignores the immense improbability of generating new genes by mutation and selection – mutations in DNA sequence would merely produce new genetic information. But building a new body plan requires more than just genetic information. It requires both genetic and epigenetic information – information by definition that is not stored in DNA and thus cannot be generated by mutations of the DNA. It follows that the mechanism of natural selection acting on random mutations in the DNA cannot be by itself generate novel body plans, such as those that first arose in the Cambrian explosion.” Can unguided natural processes create genetic information? Given the second law of thermodynamics or the law of entropy, should we expect natural forces to produce the order and specificity of thousands of pages of genetic information from non-living materials? Science has discovered that the gap between life and nonlife is wider than thought. Even a simple cell has thousands of pages of genetic programming.

Are you completely determined by the laws of physics according to science? Or do you have free will? Mind, consciousness and free will and even reason cannot be explained by science because it is immaterial. Atheist evolutionary biologist J. B. S. Haldane put it well. He wrote, “If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to believe that my beliefs are true… and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.” He then has no reason to trust anything he believes, including atheism and evolution.

Objective morality and evil

“It’s pretty hard to get objective morality without religion,” said Richard Dawkins. Can science give you objective morality? How could a mutating genetic code have the moral authority to tell you how you ought to behave? The very critiques of those who condemn Christianity or evil for various injustices are rooted in Christian precepts. The existence of morality and suffering though, is not debated. Who is responsible for it, though, is debated.

History

Evidence is used to explain one’s faith. Many will not look for evidence for a faith that is not attractive. For example, the Bible has far better manuscripts and supporting evidence than any other ancient documents. It is bolstered by archeological finds and appears impossible that any or all of the Bible’s specific, detailed prophecies could have been fulfilled through chance or deceit, yet it can be casually dismissed. Another example would be the resurrection of Jesus. Because the initial followers witnessed the resurrection it removed their fear of their own deaths based on their beliefs. What would be the best way to account for the rapid rise in Christianity? Overarching values of compassion, love and tolerance along with no fear of death enabled them to not only be willing to die for their faith and reach out to the poor, sick and disenfranchised. Looking at the evidence may be summarily dismissed. Pascal wrote, “People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.”

Faith, and facts undergirding faith, will continue to be a source of comfort. Loss of faith is associated with distress. If God is real, and He offers a relationship in the present, such a relationship has to be attained through evidence and faith.  Benefits  exist for believing in God, and for not believing in God (like no accountability).

 

Sources

Stealing from God by Frank Turek

Navigating Genesis by Hugh Ross

There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind by Antony Flew

Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World by Tom Holland. Tom Holland is not a Christian. His book is one of the most ambitious historical defenses of Christianity.

Top Ten Benefits to Christianity

By Dan Blair, a marriage counselor and family counselor.

While various human beliefs and interpretations of Christianity have played a part in creating havoc in personal and political realms, there are benefits to believing in a loving and personal God. Belief in God has persisted in spite of all the failings of followers. Benefits of faith in God are themselves topics of research. Each is also based on one’s faith (which is often based on what one wants to believe). Everyone has faith; the object of one’s faith differs.

Belief in God affects your view of suffering. Some believe that because of God or other reasons suffering has value or is redeemable. Some think there is too much suffering and that lessens the likelihood of God. Either way, benefits of faith remain:

  1. Gratitude. A renewing of reasons to feel thankful.
  2. Ongoing social support.
  3. Random acts of kindness and organized movements to relieve suffering.
  4. Optimism where good comes from bad.
  5. Strategies for coping; making meaning out of difficulty.
  6. Full forgiveness and the freedom it gives.
  7. Stress management.
  8. A reduction in overthinking and social comparison.
  9. Lasting accomplishments.
  10. Great retirement plan.

We all worship something or someone. The faith of Christianity is also based on intelligent design of the universe and life itself, historical manuscript evidence, archeological finds, accurate prophecy, and the unlikely probability that the Bible written over thousands of years could maintain its integrity and unity. Christians worship a God who is more than a personal crutch; He is a stretcher that carries you. “I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free” (Isaiah 44:22).

The belief is based on the historical Jesus, rejected and crucified on the most recognized symbol in the world, the cross. After his death his followers were swept away and scattered. How did Jesus in relatively short time transform fearful followers to men and women going to their deaths for their beliefs, to transforming a view of humanity of persons and forgiveness, and inspiring all of the institutions, music and art that have roots in Christianity? One cannot reference the calendar or the year without referring to the life of Jesus. For most though, people remain unconvinced until they see God working in their own lives, through regular prayer, Bible reading, and church attendance.

For more information on the reliability of the Bible see this short article.