Does God Exist?

There will be a public debate on this “ultimate question” next week, and I don’t think I will attend. Firstly, this is hardly relevant to what I do and what I would like to do. Second, this question is more for self contemplation, and as long as people don’t come and cross my way, I have no intension in crossing theirs.

But asking these huge, philosophical questions is fascinating once in a while. Lets you look at life, universe, and everything differently. Kinda like Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams does.

So let me try to articulate my thoughts.

To attempt answering that question, we must first define two terms, otherwise any discussion is fruitless:

  1. God
  2. Existence

Let me first define God as that which

  1. Created the universe
  2. Created everything in the universe
  3. Is omniscient
  4. Is omnipotent
  5. Looks like human beings
  6. Answers prayers and performs supernatural feats
  7. Punishes those who do not believe in Him

Now, let’s first define Existence as the state describing something that:

  1. Is made of matter, or
  2. Is energy

For example, we say: this table exists. The light from the sun exists. Harry Potter doesn’t exist.

Now that can raise objections. Does Harry Potter exist?

For that matter, does the number 1 exist? Does “infinity” exist?

Harry Potter is fictional, he only exists in people’s imagination. He doesn’t exist in the real world. The number 1 and “infinity” are abstract concepts used to describe things in the universe or other abstract concepts. They don’t exist in the physical world.

Seems like existence can be applied in more than one way. Something can “exist” in the universe physically, or it can “exist” as an idea, imagination, or concept.

So the ultimate question “Does God Exist” is too vague to be answered.

Does God exist where? In the physical universe? No, He doesn’t exist in the physical universe.

Let me back up that claim first with some hand-waving: Why should the God who created the big bang and every single molecule in the universe look like human beings? It seems simply self-gratifying for us to say that there exists a creator of the universe, in the form of energy or matter, that looks somehow like us.

Since the universe exist, its beginning must also have existed, before which nothing else existed. If we want to call that “God” instead of “big bang”, we must give up many of the other attributes associated with God, because, for one thing, big bang most certainly does not look like us, turn water into wine, nor answer prayers.

Does God exist in the minds of millions? Yes, He certainly does. He has an overwhelming influence over many people as well, and His power over them, be it comforting, guiding, inspiring, or commanding, is very much real.

So, does God exist?

Well, I’d argue that it depends on where you look for Him.

So going to that public debate would be a waste of my time.

Advertisements

23 thoughts on “Does God Exist?

  1. we’ve gone through numerous debate over this issue, and I really see no point in debating on this topic. I mean, if I truly believe in God, whatever you say against it would just make me believe that you are a messenger of Satan. On the other hand, I won’t be able to convince someone who’s truly atheist. So, it’s just a waste of time/effort to do that.

    zeroratio:
    I don’t remember us having a debate over this issue, but we’ve certainly talked briefly about it a few times. For some, this topic is a cause of unnecessary arguments and conflicts. For others, this is much of an interesting philosophical question that attracted countless wonderful thinkers onto both sides.
    If the purpose of the discussion is not to convert the other side, then at least the discussion has some philosophical values.

  2. Just a side note: this debate is organized by a Christian group, and the questions are biased. It’ll be interesting to see if the debate is carried out fairly though. I just saw their facebook group randomly. Here’s their contact:
    Email:
    campusforchrist_ubc@hotmail.com
    Website:
    ultimatequestions.org

  3. If there is really a greater being that you feel connected to, you would not need to define what the greater being is in the first place.

    Example, who sits around and tries to define who their mum really is?

  4. I mean we have gone through these debates separately, but yeah, i’m sick of this kind of debate basically

  5. Me neither!

    (This comment is meant to boost the blog traffic slightly…not that Billy needs this extra lil blub anyways, causing traffic jam…the traffic’s already high enough! I’m sure :p ).

  6. Excellent post.

    Life is what you make out of it.
    God is what you think of it.

    Definitions are individual.

    Regards.

  7. Yes God does exist, does it need to be debated? yes and no! It is important to get God’s message out there to save those who do not believe and write articels through the power of Satan dismissing God and his creation. Some one has to have the nerve to stand up for God when those who do not beleive in him have no problem saying so. It as if you are in a basketball court watching a fight, everyone jumps in and helps the bigger guy who looks like he will win just because of his size, well if just as many toook the defence of the little guy he would stand a better chance of winning. It’s the same in the debate of God. I wrote a blog just earlier on this subject called Freedom. No one has a problem putting down God and his followers, everyone is quick to say he does not exist. So where are all the peole who do believe in him and have been saved by his grace? Why don’t they stand up and defend God? It is time for all believers to get over the fear of what peole may think of them and realize all that matters is what God thinks of us! Stand up and defend your God, spread his word and share your blessings with everyone. If you are embaresed to profess your belief in God who saved you then maybe you should reevaluate your faith and if you truly are a believer in God. A believer will follow God and face pursacution to defend his presious name. There is anothe blog caled sunday morning Christians that maybe you wishy washy believers should reas as well.

  8. Tina:
    I agree that you don’t need to define what the greater being is if you don’t want a debate over His existence.

    stlc:
    We can talk about something else 🙂

    wgreen:
    Good point. All I am suggesting is that we need a definition of existence, and my definition is merely one that is accepted by physics (and maybe perhaps antimatter and event horizon of the black hole…)
    Maybe someone can provide a better definition of existence for the purpose of debates on this topic.

    Ray:
    Thank you 🙂

    ajones92:
    I don’t know who the big guy is and who the little guy is in this debate, but I assure you that I don’t believe in the existence of Satan either, let along being his messenger. I agree that the athiests have been getting a lot more vocal in the past year though.
    Whether or not believers should spend the time and energy in trying to defend God, or save it for building a personal relationship with Him is up them, I think.

  9. Te big guy should be God, but there are a lot of athiests speaking in the world today, so God is slowly becoming the little guy in a world today who despertly needs him. Even when it comes to movies the ones that slander God get more attention then the ones that promote God. The Golden compass, is a movie and book series based on athiests and ultimatly them killing God and these books are for sale through book catologs in our kids school, but yet the Bible can not be read in school. Yes this is a matter of personal opinion, evolution or creation is all based on what you believe. Anyone out there though that does not believe that God created the universe and all that follows then I have a request for you. You show me and prove to me that the Bible is wrong and untrue. Many have tried only to become saved and never disproving the Bible. How can they it is God’s word.

  10. ajones92:
    Ah, yes. “His Dark Materials” series, the first of three installments being The Golden Compass, talks about the destruction of a totalitarian governing body through the hands of a rebellious child. At least that’s how I understand it to be.
    But I’m sure you can find Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings in schools, both of which contain strong Christian themes. I don’t think there are atheists who cry over those literary works, but the converse doesn’t seem true.
    The strongest argument that I’ve heard to put Bibles in school is that in order to fully understand the Western culture, which is full of allusions to and attacks on the Bible, children must at least know what Bible is. But reading the Bible as a literary or cultural reference must seem unorthodox as well.

    Steven:
    The definitions are merely grounds on which we can base our discussions. I don’t claim them to be true. In fact, I pointed out the limitation of my definition for “existence” in my post.
    I again encourage everyone to offer their definition of existence, and/or God

  11. when it comes to kids it is ultimately there chioice just as it is our chioce to determine and decide what we believe in. Kids can not make an educated decision if they are not exposed to both. In a childs library there are thousands of book including some with Christian themes, then there are gohst stories, ones about witches ect. The book pertaning to God are a lot few then the ones that go against him. Ghost, witches and all those have to do with the fallen angels that feel with Satan. My point is tat there is not one copy of the Bible in a kids school unless it is a private school. I was not always a Christian and either are my kids, they were exposed to Christianity long before I was by thier nana, when they were with me they were exposed to the real world, the one m ost people live in. They saw both sides and were exposed to both and they chose to be Christians far before me, and there is a warm feeling in knowing that my kids will be in Heaven for eternity rather then the firey lake of hell. It is also good to know that my kids will have good morals, and they know what it truly means to be a good person. And inside them they will do all that they can for anyone they can. They will not be selfish like so many are these days and they know what is expected of them because they read the Bible, recieve their instructions and definitions of good and evil. They know what is right and what is wrong and they chose this all on their own by weighing out both sides or being exposed to both sides.

  12. I congratulate you on being open-minded and democratic about your children’s upbringing. If your children had the freedom to choose to follow the Christian faith, then they are lucky, and I’m sure they are among the happiest followers of Christ.

    I won’t go as far as counting the ghost and witch stories as anti-Christ, though. They generally don’t teach against Christianity, at least when I read it when I was little. Granted, I read a lot more about animals, insects, plants, bike mechanics, river ecology, the universe, and the like far more than stories of witches.

    It becomes dangerous when people claim that their religion, and only their religion, teaches the absolute good and evil, and all those who do not follow the same religion lack these moral values. It is one thing to feel comfortable, harmonious, and joyous at home, it’s another thing to think that children in other families who do not follow the same religion as pathetic and immoral.

  13. i am not saying a kid with out religion cant be a good person, and maybe i did not word myself right to begin with. i am not trying to put anyone down or step on thier toes and crush their feelings. i find this to be very interesting to me and i enjoy a mature debate unlike other ones i have been invovled with.all i really ment was that in the Bible it strongly points out in many different places what is frowned on. for a child to read that ver and over as plain as day really locks it into their head what is accepted and what is just not. just as a child wants to please and have the approval of their parents a christian child wants that but more so they want to look pleasing to God. All i really ment was they know that they are held accountabel for what they do not just to me but also to God. This keeps them on thier toes a bit. And the more they read those parts of the Bible the more it is drilled into thier head. So when I can’t be thier to make sure they are doing right and what they are suppose to do they know God is always watching them so they tend to not think hey shes not looking lets do it. Instead they know if i don’t see what they are doing God will not only do they have to answer to me but they also have to answer to God.
    Every parent out thier does the best that they can and try thier hardest to bring thier kids up rigt, i am no different. I just think kids should be exposed to both and left to make thier own decision.
    just like if there were christian parent trying to bring thier kids up in a christian home, they should not force it down thier throats, that may lead to them rebeling and going the opposite way. They to should leave the choice to their children also. every child is automaticly exposed to the world but not every child is exposed to God.

  14. I agree with your last remark on how Christian homes should allow their children the freedom of choice. If I remembered it right, the militant atheist bulldog Richard Dawkins was raised in a Christian family but developed an acute curiosity and desire to question.

    However, I feel that it would be difficult to maintain impartiality when raising children, unless educational materials were meticulously balanced and followed by thorough and unbiased discussion. This may be very difficult for both religious and scientific families. For example, when parents see their children looking at a picture of the ocean, they would have to say something like: “do you know why it’s blue? Some say it’s reflections of the light from the sun, but some say God made it blue, possibly by putting the sun there in the first place. But of course the sun formed a long time ago, and this is how it formed… ” and so on.

    I think I know what you are trying to say with regards to teaching children right and wrong, but I am a bit uneasy to think of God as a disciplinary tool. If I were to have a connection to God, I sure hope it was not one that’s based on fear or submission. I think I don’t need the constant surveillance to know the difference between right and wrong, although using the teaching in the Bible, a combination of rewards of heaven and threats of hell, may be an effective way to discipline children to behave in a certain way, but I would argue that may not be the only, nor the best way.

  15. most relationships with God are based on his love for us, for he so loved the world he sent his only begotten son…john 3:16.
    it is not punishing them on the basis of heaven or hel, or at least not for me..i can not speak for other Christians. I never tell my children hey if you do that you are going to hell. First of all if they are saved they are always saved and no one or nothing can take that away from them. I also discipline in other areas when the are good they are rewarded when they are bad they are punished and things are taken from them. Howeer it tend to be the same with God he gives and takes away and he blesses those who are right and do in his eyes and in his name. if that makes any sense. Even though they are Christian children they are still normal children who make mistakes and do thinks that make me said or mad, they just have assurance and in some ways are different as well. and some people will look down apon them for the belief especially as they get older and years go on in this society who really does not look to God they way they did so many years ago.as for educating children in a religous or scientific house i do agree with you that it can and probably will tend to biased to one side or the other. A child says were did i get my green eyes, a religious mothers answer will be well God gave them to you because the Bible says his hands placed us in our mothers womb and we were pretty much had crafted by him. Where as a house who doesnt practice religion will get into the hole DNA debate and explain it that way. Which is also explained in the schools. So a religous child will be told it is a gift from God but in school will learn what the scientific people developed over the years. Again they will be exposed to both unlike the child who is raised in a non religou housse. Unless on thier own means venture to a church or some other sourse they will not be exposed to God at all. Hope i made sense and explained that the way i wanted to

  16. It is nice to see a mature discussion involving such a deep subject. My personal thougts mirrors zeroratio almost completely, but I have never been able to articulate it into words so well.

    While ajones’s view overall differs from mine it is good to hear these other points of view and from someone who can explain them in way that allows an understanding.

    I think that in most households you will find the children will grow up with similiar views as the parents in this subject. The parents (or those who raise them) after all are the ultimate role model to any child. When they become adults and go out into the world thier views will of course change over time. These changes may be subtle differences or depending on thier lifes experiences it could be a dramatic shift.

    I would like to share something here however. In my own family it is a bit different from what ajones explains is the usual at the end of his last post. I agree with ajones’s thoughts on this however it is different in my own home and I cannot explain why.

    I myself do not belive in God. Yes I believe thier is something more to life then we understand and I belive we are certainly more then just the sum of our parts. But as time continues we also continue to understand lifes mysteries more and more and we do this through science. Someday we may know the answers to these questions that have baffled and occupied man from whenever self awareness became to be. But in my opinion, today and up until now, no man on earth (or woman) who is, or has been, has even an inkling of the real truth.

    I believe it is human nature to want to know however and so each man creates theories of what is most likly the case in his own opinion. If he believes it enough he has ‘faith’ that it is true. To believe in god almost any Christian (or any other religion) will tell you it requires faith. This is because thier is no substantial proof on the subject or we would all simply know it to be true. Such as I know that I exist and that this is true, I know this because “I think, therefore I am”. This is unrefutable.

    Sorry I got off the subject. What I was wanting to share is that even though I myself do not believe in a God, my son who is seven does believe in God which I find quite unusual. I of course do not discourage him from doing so and let him explore his spirituality in his on way.

    I have some appointments I must get to and cannot finish my thoughts currently. I am glad I found this little blog and hope to return to continue in the discussion and perhaps have the time to contribute something to it when I am able.

  17. TFidler,
    Thanks for your compliments! I’m truly glad to find someone who shares my view.

    Coincidentally, I came across Richard Dawkins’ provocative presentation at the TED conference last night. It has been several weeks since I last exercised my brain muscles on religious issues, and it has been several weeks since this post was last active. God-sent? Haha… maybe.

    I cannot bring myself to follow Dawkins’ “militant atheist” approach to dealing with religion, although I find his arguments hard to refute. I don’t think the world will find peace when there conflicting religions, but declaring war on all religions probably won’t bring world peace either.

    As one of the most articulate and persuasive thinkers I’ve encountered, Dawkins said a few things that is quite inspiring. For example, he said: “every person on this planet is atheist to most of the Gods that humanity has came up with. Some of us just go one God further.” Huh? What can we say to that? “Yeah well, all other Gods are creations of Satan, and only my God is the Great One.”

    As a born-rebel, I try to find ways to argue against Dawkins because I am so thoroughly fascinated. I might have found something: Dawkins calls for a complete rejection of religion, because it is inherently corrosive to inquisitive thought and therefore, scientific thinking. Because it is wrong to subject children to religious labels and the dangerous acceptance of faith over ration.

    But when asked: how did religion evolve in human in the first place? Dawkins admitted that religion may provide psychological comfort and cultural cohesion that give religious people an evolutionary edge. In fact, as an evolutionary biologist, he has to agree that whatever exists in people now has to be a result of cumulative evolutionary advantage, or at least does not cause evolutionary disadvantage.

    And yes, I do think religion is necessary for and cannot be omitted from humanity. Science provides insight of knowledge, and religion provides comfort of faith. There are people like me who find pleasure in insight and boredom in comfort, and there are people unlike me who enjoy the comfort and spirituality more than the everyday, mundane, worldly seeking of facts and explanations.

    Dawkins can be as correct and articulate about the incompatibility of science and religion as one can get, but I don’t think we can throw out religion just because it’s corrosive to science and ration. As a crude analogy, if my right brain handles logic and rational thought, and my left brain controls language and spirituality, I’d hate to choose to cut out either half because I like the other half better.

  18. I have not checked in on this post in some bit because it did seem to go cold and I did not see a point. Today however I checked it to find new comments left open to talk about. I stand her alone on the defense of religion and that does not bother me much. I to feel this is a very mature conversation between differences and that does not usually take place.
    I am not going to wavier from my stand on religion and seeings as it seems left to me to defend it I will. Besides I would be a hypocrite if I did not, after all I teach my children to stand on and stand up for thier faith no matter what others my feel towards them. I as a parent should folllow my own adice.

  19. Ther is ways to prove the Bible is truth and factual. There is proof of the partiing of the red sea as well. And yes alot of it is by faith, but that does not mean faith because it does not exist. And some is proven, scrolls have been found, divers found proff of the parting of the red sea. It does come down to what we allow ourseves to believe. Wether we believe in God or not it all depends on the facts that we chose to study, or not study and it comes down to our decision and our control over our brain, body and mind.
    Scientist yes have their own therories but can not prove evrything, where as the Bible can and will explain just about everything, anything.

  20. I am not offended by those who do not believe in God however I do feel for them. Our time on earth is very short in comparision to our time in eternity. Where we go from here we stay there forever and I would rather spend my eternity in Heaven rather then the tortourous lake of hell. But again that all depends on what you allow yourself to believe. If you believe in reencarnation then you dont think you go to heaven or hell. I dont think any type of war is going to bring any type of peace, I also don’t feel that people who are religious should feel superior to those who don’t beleive and the same for the other way.
    My “faith” as some call it is strong and sound. I will not force it on others that leaves the kicking to get away. Anyone I now when forced to do something refuses it to all ends. I will state my opinion hope it touches some one makes them ponder think and investigate, and maybe even eventually lead them to thier own personal salvation.

  21. ajones,

    Please don’t be discouraged by the lack of reaction towards this post and our discussion on religion. This blog is not centered on religious discussions (in fact, it’s not centered on anything in particular), so it does not attract many visitors who are more interested in discussion like this. And I am getting busier by the day 🙂

    However, I just want to make a quick comment. Many, if not most, of my closest friends are religious one way or another, to a certain degree. (Heck, I sometimes wonder why there aren’t more atheists in the faculty of science.) There is no feeling of superiority among my friends (otherwise it would be quite difficult to become “close friends”), so I would prefer it if you don’t “feel for” us. One major thing I dislike about religion is how separating it can get. Inherently, it is easy for followers of one faith to treat followers of another faith as misled, doomed, pathetic, or even evil.

    Rather, try thinking of it this way: if we look at humanity impartially, we see that most of us are atheist towards most of the religions on earth. So either no one is going to hell, or everyone is 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s