There is probably not a single human being on Earth over the age of fifteen who hasn’t asked him- or herself the question “Is there a God out there?” And it seems that for most people the answer to that question is yes – the religions of Christianity and Islam alone make up over half of the world’s population when combined (Christianity having 2.3 billion members, and Islam 1.6 billion members). What’s more, belief in God is predicted to grow as a proportion of the world’s population over the next 34 years. But what are the reasons why people believe in a God (or gods)? Here I list three of those reasons thought up by theologians and philosophers.
The Kalam Cosmological Argument
The Kalam Cosmological Argument sounds like it might be complicated, but actually its logic is rather simple. It is an argument which has been re-popularised in our time by the Christian theologian and philosopher William Lane Craig. To put it simply, the argument goes as follows: Everything which begins to exist has a cause and the Universe came into existence itself 14 billion years ago – therefore, the universe must have a cause. The universe could only have been created by something (or somebody) which exists outside of the laws of time and space and is eternal – was never created – these being the key attributes of God; infinite and Creator. Therefore, God created the universe and so God must exist.
The Morality Argument
The morality argument, as I’m calling it, goes something like this: Most people accept that as there is such a thing as truth and in objective morality; that there are actions which are right and just and that there are actions which are wrong and unjust. However, without a divine, omniscient, omnipotent being who is able to be a moral arbiter and say what is right and what is wrong, then morality can simply be put down to being a social construct, which can be shifted and shaped based upon what people want to do. And since most people do accept morality is something which is stable and unbending - what is right and wrong is always right and wrong – then they must believe that God exists.
Understanding the Universe
Another popular argument put forward as a reason for the existence of God is that we exist in a universe which has certain laws which through mathematics we seem to be able to observe and come to understand. In the twentieth century in particular we saw an explosion of our understanding of the Universe; Einstein discovered the Theory of Relativity, we discovered that the Universe itself was brought into being by the Big Bang and is not infinite, as previously thought, and we discovered quantum physics. This suggests that the universe did not come into being out of some chaotic accident, but that the universe has been consciously designed – given certain patterns and consistencies which the rational human mind can come to know and understand. And again, this designer fits into the primary definition of God as creator.
Image: By Wolfgang Sauber (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons