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  • Micah Lang

5 reasons I must believe in God

What convinces us?

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about you. A.W. Tozer

I had a profound moment when watching a debate between Matt Dillahunty (atheist) and Trent Horn (Christian apologist). Trent Horn offered some compelling evidence and arguments for the resurrection of Jesus Christ and Dillahunty rejected all of it. When asked why, he simply retorted, “I understand this convinces a lot of people. But I am not personally convinced.” When asked why it didn’t convince him, he could not provide a satisfactory answer. He simply stated that it didn’t persuade him.

All of us find ourselves in a particular context with particular tendencies to find certain arguments and evidences more or less convincing. Often what convinces one person for (or against) the existence of God will be different for another. The Bible has much to say about this. However, we must all grapple with the reality that many remain convinced and others unconvinced that there is a God. What is it that might convince us? What has been most convincing for me?

A balanced collection of compelling reasons

One of the most powerful aspects of Christianity has been its historical ability to transcend time, culture, and context. Christianity currently makes up 2.4 billion people in the world. Some cultures are more rational, others more experiential, others more emotive. And yet, Jesus Christ has been able to appeal to and convince millions upon millions to change their existing worldview and beliefs to enter into the Christian faith.

As I have a personal passion to connect with those who are different from me (and believe differently), I find this fascinating. One thing I have found is that some struggle with the rational realities of God, while others struggle with things like the problem of evil. Still others struggle with questions of meaning and purpose. We are complex beings. We are not simply “minds” that only think rationally. We are “embodied souls” that need something to provide satisfaction for how we think, feel, and live. I find most apologetics to focus simply on the mind. However, this approach seldom convinces someone to become a Christian.

What I offer below are a balanced collection of reasons that I have found most compelling for my belief in God. I do not assume these will be as convincing for other people. This is also not comprehensive. I could easily give 50 reasons why I believe in God. But these 5 are the strongest for me and they satisfy the complex nature of my thinking, feeling, and experiencing nature.

1. Because of Intellect

I cannot rationally accept that the universe is the cause for its own existence.

One articulation of this rational argument can be found here. Simply put, what we observe and experience seems to indicate that our universe had a beginning. Everything that comes to exist must have a cause for its existence that is distinct from it. We see this in every aspect of life. Furthermore, the only rational explanation for the cause of the universe is a supernatural force that is timeless, spaceless, immaterial, and personal (since it must choose to create). This describes (by necessity) the nature of God. I have not heard a single argument levied against this argument that satisfies my intellect. Either the universe is the cause of itself (which I cannot rationally accept) or God is its cause. This is not a “God of the gaps” either. It is a rationally-necessary implication of a finite universe.

2. Because of Morality

I cannot believe that the self-evident reality of right and wrong is a delusion and that morality is not grounded in objective truth.

Human beings are inherently moral creatures. Universally, we all believe and live as if there is right and wrong. But what is “right” and “wrong”? There are only two answers. 1) Morality is objectively true (right and wrong are real, independent of human thinking). 2) Morality is subjectively constructed (right and wrong are social creations and are not substantively real). The most knowledgeable atheists agree that without God, morality does not “objectively” exist. However, no one lives that way and this goes against the universal experience of mankind. I cannot believe (from the depths of my soul) that the rape of a child is not truly wrong. But without God, the rape of a child is simply something society came to “not like.” There is nothing objectively (truly) wrong about a bomb killing innocent civilians. It’s simply how the universe is. I find this personally unacceptable and I believe many do as well. Everything in me affirms the self-evident reality that all humans naturally share: right and wrong truly exist. Only the existence of God makes this true.

3. Because of Teleology

I cannot live as if my life has no ultimate purpose greater than one I can construct for myself.

All human beings long for transcendent self-purpose. We all crave meaning and want lives that amount to something greater than ourselves. However, if God does not exist, there is no objective, ultimate, or transcendent purpose for the lives of anyone. Some atheists (such as Alex O’Connor) go to great lengths to argue that life can be meaningful without this ultimate purpose. However, this is a self-admitted delusion. Humans need purpose; yet, unless God exists, purpose is diminished to a simple practice of self-exaltation. The very fact that most atheists don’t devolve into some version of “let’s eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die” is compelling evidence that their view is incorrect. My point is this: No one can live as if there is no ultimate purpose for their lives. And if we cannot live otherwise, is this not a powerful evidence that we are truly made with a transcendent purpose? As C.S. Lewis powerfully stated, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” God provides this purpose in a way nothing else can.

4. Because of Experience

I cannot deny my own personal, visceral, relational, transformative, and satisfying experience of God.

I want to readily admit two things. 1) My personal experience is probably the least convincing reason for someone else. 2) My personal experience is probably the most convincing reason for me. If all other reasons fell away and I had only this one, it would be sufficient to keep me believing in the existence of God. This is because I found within myself a brokenness and need that I could not fix or meet. In coming to Jesus Christ in repentance and faith, I experienced (and continue to experience) a depth of peace, joy, healing, transformation, and satisfaction I cannot explain other than that it is truly God who provides it. To convince me that God does not exist is like trying to convince me my wife doesn’t exist. I do not deny that this is very subjective; however, I would posit this: If the God of the Bible is real, then my personal experience should line up with that reality. Furthermore, I have not had a singular experience of God. I have had an ongoing experience of God that continues to reinforce his existence. And I would add that, in my observation, Christians do tend to have a unique experience of God compared to other world religions.

5. Because of Efficacy

I cannot find or conceive of another system of beliefs that so well explains the reality of the universe I observe and experience around me.

Arguments against God abound. It is easier to knock down a building than build a better one. I do not deny that there are difficulties to believing in God. I will readily concede that. Many atheists will focus on those difficult questions. However, when the tables are turned, I find the explanation offered by atheism (or other religious worldviews) is fraught with far more problems and questions and inconsistencies. One of the most powerful reasons for the Christian worldview is its “explanatory power.” The Bible’s explanation of the world’s existence and current state, the purpose and nature of mankind, the problem of evil, the nature and work of God, the future end of the world, the solution to our sin and the offering of forgiveness, the moral fabric of society, and the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ … All of these things provide an explanation that continually proves its own truthfulness. And as I have heard alternative explanations and prescriptions offered, I find them lacking the same explanatory power.

The Christian God satisfies our complex needs

In summary, I could say that I believe in the God of the Bible because that system of belief satisfies my intellect, my moral nature, my craving for purpose, my need for redemption, and my personal experience. Beyond that, it simply works! Belief in God best explains what we see and experience around us, what we feel and need inside us, and how we can (and should) live and hope in this life. My mind, my heart, and my soul are satisfied in God.

Interestingly, the balanced paradigm I’m offering is not a house of cards. If someone were to convince me that one of these five reasons is wrong, my belief in God would not be dismantled. This is a cumulative and comprehensive approach to how God engages our intellect as well as our experience, our mind as well as our heart. I truly believe that what makes Jesus Christ so compelling is his ability to satisfy the deepest needs in our souls: our craving for healing, for purpose, for direction, for relationship, for forgiveness, for answers. My intent is not necessarily to “convince” anyone to become a Christian. My intent is to give one Christian’s perspective on how God’s existence seems so compelling. My hope is that you would consider these questions and perhaps be open to explore how God answers the needs in your own soul, as he has for billions of others.

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