Good Reasons To Believe

Question from Adam:
What is the best (in your opinion) argument that you have ever heard or had thrown at you about the credibility/correctness of the Bible? Obviously the Bible is full of crap, but, I’m trying to understand why a person would ever believe in it (logically). Not just from indoctrination, or blind faith, but an actual good reason.

Answer by SmartLX:
Who said people need good reasons to believe? For those who even consider why they believe and therefore need to give a reason at all, they just have to think their reason is a good one.

The most powerful and persuasive reason to begin to believe, by far, is an apparent personal experience of the divine. Never mind that it’s useless for convincing others and it’s objectively a terribly flawed reason. If you really think God’s spoken to you, you’re going to implicitly believe in God as the basic premise of what you think is true, and there’s little that anyone can do about it.

As for reasons that are convincing on their own merit, that you could use to convince others, I’ve been through them all in my Great Big Arguments series (tell me if I’ve missed any, of course) and each is fundamentally flawed, so I’m hesitant to call any one of them the best. That said, many of them sound very convincing upon first hearing, or else so complex that it seems pointless to try to rebut them. That first impression that the debate has already been fought and won for Christ can be all a proselytiser needs to elicit a religious experience; Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron are always talking about “bypassing the intellect”.

If there were a reason to believe in God which I thought was a genuinely good reason, I would believe in God. The fact that I don’t implies a certain upper limit on my opinion of any argument for God’s existence.

One thought on “Good Reasons To Believe”

  1. Thank you for answering my question.

    What I’m starting to realize, is that there are some (or many) who believe there is a god, as much as I believe there is not one (I’m a pretty strong atheist). To me, the god notion is no different from the fire breathing, talking frog notion. I think it’s a fantasy that has no place in reality. Therefore I think it is false until proven true (nevermind the whole, “well it could possibly be true, it’s not like you can know everything” crap). But to some believers…they seem to be unable to imagine existence without a god, and believe in this god like how I believe mars exists, or other suns exist. To them it’s part of nature, part of reality.

    I’m struggling because I see these two trains of thought (strong atheism and strong theism), and both sides more or less “know” that they are correct, and more or less “know” the other side is wrong. Both sides want to teach the other why the other is wrong. “Don’t you see? Why don’t you understand?” I’ve never been a theist, so I can’t fully imagine what that is like, but I know whatever any theist says to me (regarding gods) is more or less useless because I “know” there are no gods. The trouble is, strong theists are likely thinking the exact same thing when I try to get them to think about how they are making a huge assumption. So it seems like a fruitless effort, or an unfruitable effort, which is a little depressing. I would like to think that through understanding why they believe I could figure this all out, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I’ve yet to hear a good reason.

    Note that when I say “I know”, I’m not saying I can prove it, I’m saying I “know” there are no gods, just like I “know” that there are no squirrels that have telekinesis. For gods to exist, my whole way of thinking, and way I perceive and understand the universe would have to be wrong. So I have no reason to think they are a possibility unless I’m willing to do the same with every other ridiculous notion that is presented (you may or may not relate).

    Thanks again.

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