Why Do You Believe In God?
I've done a few hubs on God and faith, so I figured one more might be worthwhile. Some of us believe in God, or at least in some higher power. Others do not, and wonder why anyone would. This hub is not an attempt to prove or disprove the existence of God. It's merely meant to explain why, in my opinion at least, belief in a higher power is so widespread.
There are a lot of possible reasons that people believe in God. Some people may simply be terrified of the idea that God doesn't exist. After all, if there were no God, there would be no heaven, and then the knowledge of one's eventual death becomes a pretty frightening thing. Walk into a church sometime during a mass. I'm willing to bet most of the room consists of older people. There aren't many healthy 20-somethings who attend church on a regular basis. When you're older, and your death becomes a much more present concern, you think a lot about questions that living people can't answer. And so, many turn to religion to explain everything. Death is much less frightening if you think you know what you're in for.
Another reason might be that people believe in God because the thought of a world without a god would confuse them. People want things to make sense, and they'll explain it any way they can. To some, God is the simplest explanation for the tough questions about us and the universe. That was the case before math and science and logic existed. People had no explanation for why the sky was blue, why the sun rose and set, or why we're here at all. So, they reached for the simplest possible reasonable answer: somebody must have made it that way.
It may be in human nature to believe in a higher power. It's in our DNA to recognize patterns; our brains are hardwired to pick out shapes and faces from whatever we see. That's why we can look at clouds and see animals and things. It's also part of the reason so many believe in God. The thinking is, everything seems to be organized in a special way, so it must have been made intelligently.
Here's an example: suppose you have a pair of fair dice. You roll them, and get a result of 7. On a first try, that might be surprising, but not impossible. Then suppose you rolled another 7. And then another. And another. At some point, you might start to think the dice are loaded, when in fact they are not. Believe it or not, the odds of rolling a seven are better than any other number. (Don't believe me? Look here) This is the same reason many players in online games complain that that the game must be broken because they keep getting bad results, when statistically someone was bound to get bad results a good part of the time. If you won the lottery, would you immediately think there must have been a mistake? No, you'd be thrilled at your good fortune, or for some people, you might believe it was an act of God, which is funny considering God is supposed to love everyone equally but the lottery only has one winner.
The natural world is full of randomness, and
when we as human beings look into a random system, we see patterns, and
when we see patterns, we assume that there must have been a reason for
it. The idea that a given result happened completely randomly doesn't
occur to us, at least not most of the time. Regardless of how unlikely
it seems, it is possible to win the lottery, lose miserably in an online
game of chance, or even roll seven 7's in a row. The chances are
remote, but not impossible. But when a pattern like that emerges, we no
longer believe it is the work of random chance. Because we see a
pattern, we think other forces must be at work.
So, is it in human nature to believe in a higher power? Maybe. Most of us seem to think that the universe can't exist without there being some kind of creator. The thought that the universe just kind of happened seems weird to most of us. As children, we certainly didn't question our parents much if they told us there's a God. It's only when we learn more about the natural world and random chance that we may start to question it. I know I haven't really given any solid answers here, but to those atheists who may be reading this, I hope you at least can understand where believers like me are coming from. Don't think any less of us for our beliefs, and we'll try not to think any less of you for yours.