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Should You Have to Defend Your Belief

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					Should You Have to Defend Your Belief? "If there is a God, why does he allow all the
evil in the world?" How often are you asked that question? And how often do you find
yourself defending your faith in God? Should you have to? Do unbelievers constantly
find themselves called upon to justify why they don't believe in God? Atheists argue that
there is no proof that God exists and see their stance as having solid foundations. But
does it? Is there proof that he doesn't exist? Are there really stronger grounds for atheism
than for theism? Let's begin with the problem of 'Knowledge'. Nothing is ever 100%
certain, even historical 'facts', or scientific 'facts'. After all, it used to be a scientific fact
that all the planets revolved around the Earth, it being the centre of the universe. So
maybe some beliefs we have today will eventually turn out not to be 'facts'. It is very
difficult to take a strong atheistic position and attempt to give grounds for this. So why is
it always believers who are called upon to prove their beliefs? Why don't we ask the
unbelievers, the doubters, to prove that God doesn't exist? This was the viewpoint of the
philosopher, Ayer. He argued that the possibility of religious 'knowledge' is ruled out.
The existence of a being defined as 'God' cannot be demonstrably proved. But he also
said that it cannot be disproved either! Let's look at the case for either side. The first
argument put up by unbelievers is usually a criticism of an all-loving, all-powerful God.
"What about all the disasters and suffering in the world that he allows to happen?" "What
about little children being murdered? What about rapes? The Holocaust? Mans'
inhumanity to man. Why does God allow all the evil in the world?" For some, this debate
can be a great threat to faith. So let's look at moral evil as in the examples above. The
argument from atheists is usually how can a loving God permit such terrible things to
happen? God is love. And he is all powerful. Couldn't he stop such evil? Theists' answer
could be that God wanted his creation, man, to have free will. He didn't want robot-like
beings. He wanted to give us the opportunity to make good decisions, to be able to
choose or to reject Gods' laws, to pass or fail his tests. So why do men fail when we have
the moral and intellectual capacity to distinguish good from evil? Why didn't God create
beings who could resist temptations? Consider this. If God is omniscient, he must have
known in advance how his creatures would act, and therefore must have had good reason
to arrange matters as he did. He allows us to make our own moral choices, but like all
good parents, he will punish us for any wrongdoings. Jesus said "As ye sow, so shall ye
reap". The law of Karma, as in Buddhist traditions, makes sense of this. As believers in
reincarnation, Buddhists state that karma is carried from life to life, and even if sinners
are not punished in this life, they will get their comeuppance in the end. So that's moral
evil explained so that it still fits in with our idea of an all-loving God. But what about
natural evil? For example, plagues, earthquakes, droughts, famine. Even if we can make
sense of moral evil, can we do the same with natural evil? Can man and his free will be
held responsible for this too? Maybe in some instances they can. But the philosopher,
Leibniz said "God created the best possible world." He wanted man to have the
opportunity to make the right choices, to exercise his moral worth, to put others first. So
did God create a world where he knew natural disasters would happen in order that man
could prove himself? Make sacrifices to help or save others? Do natural disasters really
go against the idea of an all-loving god? He even intervenes 'miraculously' sometimes. So
let's very briefly look at miracles. The term generally refers to a fortunate occurrence for
which no immediate explanation is available. They are sometimes a transgression of a
law of nature. However, many people don't see miracles as proof of the existence of God,
because they dispute the existence of miracles. Testimonies of witnesses can be
inadequate or unreliable. But you don't have to believe in miracles to believe in the
existence of God. So what other grounds for belief are there? One argument centres
around design. The universe is ordered and consistent. We can observe that all around us
in nature. Believers argue that it couldn't have happened by chance. There must have
been a designer, a creator for all of it. However, Darwins' theory of evolution is believed
by many to account for the developments, order and design in the world. In our three-
dimensional, material world, it's very hard to conceive of such a being as God. It can be
seen as rational not to believe in him. We have the evidence of our senses. We can't see
him or hear him, but does that mean he's not there? So what about all these arguments for
and against theism and for and against atheism? Can either position really be proved or
disproved? Try this line of argument the next time your faith is questioned. It's based on a
quote from the philosopher, Descartes: "God possesses all perfections, and existence is a
perfection." ... Therefore he exists! Footnote: Definitions: Theism = The belief in a God
who not only created the universe, but takes an active part or interest in it. Atheism =
Against knowledge of God. A strong atheistic position = Stating we KNOW God doesn't
exist. A weak atheistic position = A BELIEF that God doesn't exist. Shirley Heelas is a
part-time lecturer and Honours graduate in Psychology (Sociology minor), and a divorced
mother of two. She is currently trying to become a freelance writer, having had some
success with articles and short stories. With three degrees, and much research, report
writing, and seminar writing experience behind her, she is hoping to be given the chance
to write on commission. Please visit her website at http://www.freespiritscafe.com

				
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Marijan Stefanovic Marijan Stefanovic Digital Imagery http://proart-13.blogspot.com/
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