- Religion and Philosophy
Does God Exist? - A Logical Answer
Short Answer: Probably
Personally, I think there is a god, and he's not evil. He's all-powerful, and all-knowing, and universally loves us, his creations.
Now, I know that right away most skeptics and logical minds are opposed to such thinking. There are mountains of evidence to the contrary, right? Well, yes and no. It all depends on your perspective, really. Walk through it with me.
To begin with, there is the problem of god being all-powerful and all-knowing. A great philosopher once asked, well if god is all-powerful, could he create a boulder so heavy that he couldn't lift it? Could he create a math equation so complex that even he could never solve it? To us humans, this is a paradox. Whether or not god could do such tasks (and I would presume he could), the answer would logically prove to us that god cannot be all-powerful and all-knowning.
The fallacy of this train of logic is simply this: you're applying man's logic to a being that is beyond man's comprehension. If we assume god is not all-powerful, then that's the end of the discussion. But if we assume he is, then it also stands to reason that it's not possible to measure his might. The logic puzzle above doesn't work because it seeks to measure the unmeasurable. It simply doesn't work; it's beyond human computation. You'd have a better chance of counting to inifinity or solving for pi to the last decimal place. It just can't be done; being all-powerful implies infinite power, and outside of Calculus, we have no precise way to assess the infinite.
Then there is the problem of God's love. The common-sense argument is that God can't possibly be both all-powerful and universally loving, only one or the other. If god is all-powerful and all-loving, shouldn't there be no suffering in the world? This makes sense at first, but there's a fallacy here as well. We're making the assumption that God can't possibly love us and allow us to suffer. If you love someone, you can't possibly do something to make them suffer, right? Well, it's not that simple.
Here's a consideration for you: think back to when you were a kid. Your parents probably made you do a lot of things you didn't want to, right? If you did something they didn't like, they might punish you, too. At the time, you had no problem shouting that you hated them. To your simple child's mind, they must have hated you right back, or else why would they do those things? When you got older, though, you better understood why they did what they did when they were raising you. Your parents wanted what's best for you, and unfortunately what a child wants and what they need are rarely the same thing. I'm sure eating ice cream for breakfast and climbing the painter's scaffolding sounded like good ideas for you, but your parents knew better. They stopped you because they wanted to protect you from broken bones and making yourself sick. It didn't always seem fair, but they had your best interests at heart.
Now, let's think of our problem with God's love. Many of us think, God must be cruel and mean if he allows all these evil things in the world to happen. Wars, natural disasters, famine and disease, and countless other factors bring misery into our lives. If God loves us, why does God let these things happen? If God really has a good plan, why won't he just tell us?
Well, there's the trouble. If God is all-knowing, then in all likelihood the average person has a very young child's mind compared to God's. As such, we not only don't know why God would let things happen, we really can't know why they happen. Most every religious text tells us that God has a plan. Things that happen in the world may seem cruel, but if God's letting them happen, isn't it possible that God believes he/she is doing what is best for us? It might seem evil and wrong to us, but isn't it possible we're missing a big piece of the picture that could explain why God wants some unhappiness in the world?
Granted, I know this train of logic isn't perfect. By the same token, it's possible to argue that God is universally evil and wants us to suffer. Just as a loving God would allow bad things to happen because they know what's best for us, a wrathful God may allow us some happiness just for the sake of taking it away to cause us pain.
There is even still the possibility that an all-powerful God is neutral toward mankind, observing us as a scientist would observe laboratory rats in a complicated maze. Not spiteful, and not loving; simply observing. By that logic, though, it's also possible there's no God at all. It stands to reason that a non-existant being would be neither loving nor spiteful.
So, is there a God? There is no perfect evidence either for or against the case of an all-knowing, all-loving God. Evidence has been presented for both sides of the argument, but that evidence is always circumstantial and subject to interpretation. In truth, we may never know for sure that God exists. There may be a definite answer to this great question, but for the time being it is beyond mankind's reach.
For now, all we can do is follow our own instincts, our experiences in our lives, and our feelings in our hearts. The ultimate answer may await us at our deathbed, but until we get there, it's up to us to decide what we believe. As for me, I like to believe there is an all-powerful, all-knowing God watching over us. I might not have any proof, but I think I have a pretty good idea here, and until I see some solid evidence to discredit it, I'm going to run with this faith thing.
On my 21st birthday, I wrote a short story where I have a lengthy dialogue with God, demanding to know the answer to the ultimate question. Now it's in a hub for all to enjoy.