Why I Believe in God

Like most people, I’ve wondered. Does God exist? If God exists and is the ne plus ultra of Love, as advertised, what about sin, evil, and death? If God doesn’t exist, why not just eat, drink, and be merry? Did the whole shebang just evolve by random chance, from the intricacies of calculus to Paulie Shore?

There are six categories of argument in favor of the existence of God:

The last three arguments are so closely interrelated that I have put the preponderance of the discussion after the final one.

What I find interesting about all these arguments is not how an individual argument can be demolished with a little careful thought. It’s the sum of them taken together that interests me. If God does exist, then one or more of these six arguments could be wrong. (I think that Lewis Carroll would have made mincemeat out of St. Anselm’s reasoning.) But if God does NOT exist, then ALL arguments in favor of God’s existence are indisputably wrong. Now, start adding. If God does not exist:

  • There is no transcendent, immanent, omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, Ultimate Reality. There is no reality at all beyond what can be verified by sensory experience, and sensory experience ultimately cannot be distinguished from delusion or solipsism. The man behind the curtain is only as much there as the man you met while walking on the stair. We are all characters in the Red King’s dream.
  • AND there is no causation. The world evolved at random; chaos rules. The fact that event B follows event A is mere accident. The apparent laws of mathematics, logic, and physics are purely coincidental; somewhere in the Universe, two plus two equals pi, time flies like a banana, and there really are such things as warp drives and magical powers.
  • AND the stack of turtles does, in fact, go all the way down. Before the Big Bang, there was another Universe, from which our own was generated. And before that earlier Universe existed, there was an even earlier Universe that generated the earlier Big Bang. And so on, forever.
  • AND, the odds on your having evolved to read these words by random chance is infinitely small, one to a googolplex to the googolplexeth power, but that’s how it happened. Everything in the Universe, from the Crab Nebula to the smile of a child on Christmas morning, from physics to cognition to a butterfly, happened by random chance. All is chaos, all is darkness, Hamlet is a fluke, Neil Armstrong rejoicing on the Moon a fluke, all holy scriptures in all cultures for the last five thousand years are deluded nonsense.
  • AND, every single sane, sober, intelligent, admirable human being throughout time who has sincerely believed that he or she has encountered something that transcends ordinary reality has actually been crazy, deluded, hallucinating, foolish, or a fraud. Millions of them, all wrong. The power of prayer, which more and more scientific tests are finding effectual? A metaphysical placebo. (Oh, wait a minute, the gurus du jour now say that placebos don’t work after all. . . .)
  • AND those moments in my own life, when in anguish and despair I have experienced the love and comfort of a supernatural Being I identify as God, are mere wish fulfillment, madness, or self-delusion. The miracle that happened to my younger sister was a hallucination; the miracle that happened to my mother was merely a sudden assertion of her innate drive for self-preservation; the miracle that happened to her mother was imagination coupled with synchronicity.
  • AND life is meaningless; you might just as well kill yourself today, since you’ll almost certainly be dead within the next 100 years, and why not simply avoid the discomforts of old age? There’s definitely no need to worry about other people’s pain, suffering, injustice, oppression, enslavement, or depravity if you’re only alive so that your genes have some means of reproducing themselves.
  • . . . No, thank you. I’d rather believe in the existence of some Ultimate Reality, even if God’s existence can’t be proved to the satisfaction of Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

    I wonder whether she laughed when God read that sentence to her?