Does God really exist?

Let’s get back into the swing of things by responding to an article that mentions agnosticism.

Does God Really Exist?

Have you noticed we are living in a global society that increasingly denies the existence of God? Barna surveys, among others, reveal that there is an increase in the number of people per capita who consider themselves atheist or agnostic.

An atheist is someone who says he or she does not believe God exists — and nothing can convince them otherwise. An agnostic, on the other hand, does not deny the existence of God, but rather holds that one cannot know for certain if He exists or not.

Furthermore, the agnostic does not believe there can be proof of God’s existence.

That is an incomplete definition that implies an agnostic thinks there might be the Abrahamic definition of God and we just lack the proof to fully believe. I would put the odds that humanity has properly defined God in their bible as pretty much so close to nil that I’m willing to say the religions of the world are very probably false. An agnostic does not deny the possibility that the universe was somehow created by someone or something. This is because we really have no clue about exactly how or why the universe exists.

The Bible tells us that, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” (Psalm 53:1). It can be rather difficult to understand how someone could witness and experience a sunset, a rainbow, gaze into a starry night or even into the face of a baby, or a blossoming flower, and not believe in an intelligent creator.

Have you ever stopped to realize that we breathe near-perfect oxygen content, or that the Earth is filled with all the resources needed for sustaining life? Did all this just happen in a big bang?

For those who believe all came into existence by a big bang, have you ever considered how perfect order can come out of an explosion? What if you wanted to bake a cake? You have all the ingredients, yet followed no recipe.

Instead, you put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and then place a firecracker right in the middle of the mix. What do you suppose will become of the ingredients once the fuse is lit and the explosion occurs? Do you suppose the result would be a perfectly rounded cake with a delicious frosting smoothed over? I suppose not. You will probably agree that all you will get is a big mess on your kitchen walls.

For you see, intelligence leads us to follow the instructions that result in a well-baked cake. And even if there was a big bang in the universe, then I suppose that God is the only one who could create perfect order even from a bang.

We’re back to what I talked about in my previous post. A perfect God that is uncreated while being intelligent and powerful enough to create this universe makes much less sense than an imperfect and uncreated universe. If such a god can exist without creation then why can’t the universe itself possess that trait?

Another thing, of course we seem perfectly suitable for our environment. It is because if our organism had not grown and adapted to this environment we would have not survived. If we didn’t make good use of the oxygen and resources that were here then we would be the wrong kind of life to exist here and would have become extinct.

Yes, the universe and our existence is a wonderful and amazing mystery. Do you really think we’re smart enough to know how and why it exists? If there is a creator as a being or thing that we would classify as a supernatural god, do you really think we’d understand such a thing? Why would you think we’re so important to the universe that a creator would even concern itself with us? Why do most gods we define all have human emotions and characteristics? Do you really believe we could know or understand something capable of creating the universe if such a thing exists?

The only thing I am certain of is that humanity has no clue about such things. We’re primative and ignorant. What did more primitive thinking believe about how the sun works? It took science to show us exactly what the sun was and that it wasn’t being dragged across the sky. We have a long way to go to understand if the big bang was the real starting point and why the heck would such a thing happen. We may have glimpsed a possible starting point of the universe but it still answers nothing about why it happened.

Not long ago, I had the opportunity to engage in a conversation with a person who considered himself an agnostic. He exclaimed, “If you can present God right here in this room for me to see, then I will believe he exists.” I simply responded with a question.

“Do you believe that Abraham Lincoln existed?”

“Of course he did,” he answered.

So, I asked if he could present Abraham Lincoln right before our eyes to prove he existed. Of course, Lincoln did not appear.

My next question was, “Then how do you know he existed? Have you ever seen him?”

To this question he answered “No, I’ve never seen him, but we have books that tell us Abraham Lincoln existed.”

Precisely. There also is a book called the Bible that tells us about the identity and existence of God.

Yes, there are books with King Arthur, Beowulf, the Greek gods, Norse gods, etc. Books can even reference real places and real people but it doesn’t make the one fictional character in the book any more real. Do you really think our more primitive ancestors knew their god, talked to him, and really got the truth right in the books they wrote? If I wrote here about how God came to me and told me the Bible was completely false, would you believe my written word?

Interestingly, someone once said, “I rather believe God exists and maybe find out at death that he doesn’t, rather than not believe only to find out at death that he does.”

Perhaps Billy Graham put it best in a response to a question concerning the certainty of God’s existence. His reply, “The reason I believe God exists is because I spoke with him this morning.”

Which God? There are how many religions humanity has defined? Let’s also count the ancient beliefs. Can you fully disprove all mythologies? What if the Native Americans really have it right? Something as important as eternity shouldn’t be left to just accepting the religion of your parents. You should really make sure if you have the exactly right belief if your belief in this world is so important. What if the Buddhists are really the ones that are speaking to our creator and Billy Graham is insane? Billy Graham does seem kind of kooky so I don’t think I’d take his word for it. I used to try to talk to the Christian God and eventually to any creator that would interact with me and I never heard or seen anything. The only thing I found was the charlatan tricks of my fellow humans trying to put human emotion and character to random events in life.

There is an old hymn that reads “You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart.” For you see, when you trust Jesus (who is God) by faith, you will experience the living God coming into your very existence.

He will forgive all your sins, while giving you the assurance of eternal salvation. From then on, he will give you a consciousness to know he is in you, and will never leave you, accompanied with the assurance that one day you’ll see him face to face.

You ask me how I know He doesn’t live? I feel it in my heart as well. I see the fingerprints of our primitive ancestors all over the “good word” with slavery and second-class women. I see the angry and jealous god with HIS petty emotions and views. I see prophets and a supposed son of god that are just men trying to write a good story. I see churches that know they can try to lead the morality of humans through blind faith and a fear of a vengeful god or the fear of a bad eternity.

I see these same holy people with the same human failings that must be punished by society. We don’t leave the pedophiles to God to deal with. If eternal damnation is real you’d really think we’d never have a pedophile priest since they’re so close to God and the truth. All sins should not be forgiven. The real sins are crimes against your fellow human and our society. You will be punished or at a minimum removed from society so you can sin against us no more. Religion has done little to stop or correct bad behavior other than their idle threats of sinful living. It takes society with our laws that determine what a “sin” is and our ability to punish and correct each other to truly deal with such problems.

Devout Agnostic

Let me expand on a passage from my previous post in which I proclaimed that I am a devout Agnostic.

I firmly believe humanity has no clue about the supernatural and that we probably never will since we are natural. It’s a matter of scale and intellect. Just as the little ant could never possibly understand us as we know ourselves, I think we lack the ability and intellect to interact with whatever could have caused the universe to exist if there was or is such an entity or entities. Even if we could glimpse into a supernatural realm if one exists, we would taint our view with our own simple perspective of the universe and our own limited ability to comprehend something outside of our realm. Even if a creator exists and we could interact with such a thing, I doubt we could properly understand it.

Existence, DNA, etc. are all quite amazing and one supernatural creator without creation just doesn’t cut it for me. If our own existence is so amazing can you imagine how amazing it is that a god would exist? Where did this creator god come from and how is such an existence even possible? If something as complicated and powerful as a god that is capable of creating a universe can exist without an intelligent creator or first cause of its own, then why can’t the universe itself exist in the same way without cause?

A perfect uncreated god powerful enough to make a universe makes much less sense than an imperfect uncreated universe.

So why am I not atheist instead of agnostic and what is the difference anyway? Well, atheism is to be without theism, or to be without the belief in deities and the supernatural. Some see it as an outright rejection of the supernatural and some are more passive in their belief. However, just because I see no sense in believing anything about the supernatural that my fellow humans believe doesn’t mean that I completely reject the possibility of the supernatural and a supernatural cause to our existence. As a devout Agnostic, I put much faith and belief in the fact that humanity does not know or understand the supernatural. I embrace the agnostic label because of the importance I place on the fact that humanity is without knowledge in this area.

I am not saying that “I do not know.” I am saying that “I know that none of us know.” I believe I have the answer and I am a devotee of this truth I have found for myself. I do use words like faith and belief because I can’t provide you with the undeniable proof for my viewpoint just as others can’t do the same for their belief. This is the realm of religion and not science. Essentially, Agnosticism is my religious belief just as Christianity, Buddhism, Pantheism, etc. are other beliefs in this unscientific area. Until science can definitively answer the question of “why”, I am a devout Agnostic.

Jesus and the Fig Tree

I have been quite busy in my personal life and have not posted in some time. That has finally changed and I have some time now to get back to this blog. I will start again with a renewal of why I am Agnostic. I was somewhat loosely raised Catholic and fell away from that when I actually tried to study the Bible. I credit the story of the fig tree for my awakening to the truth. Here is a little Agnostic Bible study if anyone is interested.

First are some questions to help frame the study.
Does the Bible contain any errors or conflicting information?
Does Jesus always do what is kind and positive in every situation and would Jesus act vengeful towards an innocent creature?
Can the average believer perform any kind of miracle he or she wishes and will every prayer you ask be fulfilled?

Matthew 21:18-22

Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Mark 11:12-24

And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. And when even was come, he went out of the city. And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Did the fig tree die immediately or the day after? The day after isn’t as much of a miracle, so dying immediately makes for a better story but both versions are presented and can’t both be true. The main problem I have though is that it wasn’t the time of figs yet anyway, so Jesus gets mad at the tree because he’s hungry and wants figs when he shouldn’t expect them. His answer to the out of season fig problem is to destroy the tree. I’m sure you have an nice allegory you can look up for the “real” meaning of this passage, but I believe the true “Christian” response would have been to make the tree bear fruit. It’s an act of kindness and shows the benefit of bearing fruit literally and symbolically. Destruction is not a true or good miracle and does not match with the claimed overall message of the book. Anyone can destroy. The tree may have been poisoned if the story is true. The “miracle” would have been to create figs in that moment. Jesus is shown as an annoyed aggressor instead of the kind and gentle protector of the innocent I was told he was. In this case, he destroyed a simple member of God’s creatures either for the face value of it as it was presented or to prove some allegorical point. Either way, I disagree with the approach.

The passage ends with the boastful claim that whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. How many mountains have you seen cast into the ocean, literally or figuratively? Prayer does not have the 100% fulfillment rate that is claimed here. There was actually a study done on prayer over heart bypass surgery patients that resulted in those being prayed for doing worse, which at least showed no correlation between prayer and recovery since I wouldn’t think prayer could have a harmful effect. Prayer is an expression of hope, but a hope that God will take care of something for us. I actually think that is dangerous if people think all they need to do is pray. Making this personal, I hope people continue to call 911 for a doctor to intervene when people are having problems. I’d hate to think they come to believe in the power of prayer so much that they think that is the way to respond to a problem. People are saved by doctors and their work. You can believe that doctors are doing God’s work and that God works through people but that doesn’t help much if there’s no people around that can help. We wouldn’t have had to develop medical skills and doctors if prayer actually healed. There are Christian Scientists that believe we don’t need doctors and a passage like this supports that assertion. In the end, it is human intervention that actually gets things done and divine intervention isn’t required to support the fact that doctors help keep people alive. I’d rather have a society filled with doctors, police, and others that serve society than a society of priests. These other people actually contribute to humanity while priests make people feel good at best in their primary role.

At this point, you may wonder exactly what I believe so I will tell you. I am a devout Agnostic. I firmly believe humanity has no clue about the supernatural and that we probably never will since we are natural. It’s a matter of scale and intellect. Just as the little ant could never possibly understand us, I think we lack the ability and intellect to interact with whatever could have caused the universe to be if there was or is such an entity or entities. Even if we could interact with a creator, I doubt we could properly understand it. Existence, DNA, etc. are all quite amazing and one supernatural creator without creation just doesn’t cut it for me. Where did God come from? If something as complicated and powerful as a god that is capable of creating a universe can exist without an intelligent creator, then why can’t the universe itself do the same? A perfect uncreated god makes much less sense than an imperfect uncreated universe.

Step back a moment and think about the people of 2,000-3,000 years ago. What did they think and believe? Do you know how many stories of the Bible are echoes of older mythologies we reject as obvious creations of human imagination? The virgin birth is not unique. How could those primitive people actually get the stories right and why were they the ones to “talk to God”? Why is the Bible done being written? Couldn’t a better modern Bible be created from interacting with God now since we understand so much more about the universe then our primitive ancestors? We could at least have it say slavery is a bad thing now. We could correct the view that women are inferior and have a different place in the world than men. My daughter should be an equal partner and not live in subjection to her husband. We could actually say women are allowed to speak and teach in a church.

What if I said God told me we don’t know what we’re talking about and the Bible is a mythology like the Greeks or Romans wrote? Why should that be rejected now if that’s the sort of thing that happened back then? Why not take the Scientologists seriously? Trick question, they have no clue either but I’m sure they currently say the same thing about Christianity that the Christians said about the Roman gods back when they started. Religious belief is geographic in nature and spreads in the same way that we learn languages. You speak English because your parents taught you that and the same goes for your religion. People can switch religions just like learning a new language. Converting unbelievers is like the attempt to force everyone in this country to speak only English. Did you know Christianity only covers 33% of the world’s population? The majority of the planet does not agree on a belief. If you are a religious person, have you studied the other religions in depth just in case one of them is the right one? You most likely wouldn’t currently be a Christian if you were born in India, Saudia Arabia, China, Japan, or Israel for example. These are all food for thought that resulted from my own awakening and rejection of blind faith. How can being blind be a good thing?