That’s the question I asked here on Facebook and I was rewarded with a flood of diverse opinions.
This topic has been debated for thousands of years by many people far more intelligent than myself, and I don’t propose to have the answer. However, I do have some thoughts, and it only seems fair to share my opinions after so many people have been kind enough to share with me. But first, I’ll I share my story:
I was raised in a Christian household and attended a Catholic secondary school where we prayed daily and attended mass occasionally.
Like most (all ?) young people, it was something I did against my wishes, it was not something I thought about, it was just something I did.
I prayed alone occasionally, sometimes I felt as though it helped, but most of the time I felt nothing — no response, nothing changed, just pure static.
I left my mum’s home at the age of 18 and went through many difficult times. After a few too many ups and downs, I started to wonder if God was what I needed.
These thoughts didn’t appear from nowhere, ‘you need God‘ is what I heard from many friends who seemed to be living happy lives. I fought the idea for a while, but then I decided to give it a try when I didn’t know what else to do to make life better.
I mentioned to few friends that I’d like to go to church with them and they welcomed me with open arms.
My first experience was scary, horrendous and honestly one of my most horrible experiences ever.
I had no idea of what it meant for a person to speak in tongue. At some point, the whole church got up and started making weird sounds. I was freaked out, I couldn’t wait to leave and when I did I never returned.
I’ve been to a few churches since then, one of which had a cash machine in the back where the priest told us we could all go to collect money for donations.
I’ve also had the pleasure and displeasure of speaking to many religious people — some make much sense, some make little sense, but none have ever made complete sense.
And then We have Science
Science makes a lot of sense.
I used to have an image of a man in a white coat whenever I thought of science, but that image has disappeared and I now think of science as a systematic process for figuring out if something is true or false. (I recognise that’s an elementary definition, but I’m sure you get the point)
Science has proved the existence of many laws that govern the universe; gravity, upthrust, ect..
However, science doesn’t know everything, and science hasn’t proven the existence of God. As I see it, this means one of three things:
God doesn’t exists.
God exists but Science hasn’t found a way to prove it, yet.
God exists but it’s something that goes beyond the capabilities of science.
All of these sound like logical possibilities, but then we also have:
The Most Compelling Religious Argument
For me, this is when it’s said that something had to have created the world and that it can’t have couldn’t have come from nothing.
That makes perfect sense to me — perfect.
I love to learn. I spend all day learning. I think a lot about learning, and when I open my mouth, all I ever want to talk about is what I’ve learnt, what I want to learn and how I plan to do it.
In all my learning it has become clear the world is just as marvellous as it is complicated.
Could all of this have come from nothing? A big bang?
My mind can’t accept that.
Belief, Faith and the Desire for More
My mind also can’t accept the way people use the words ‘faith’ and ‘belief’
What do these words mean?
Here’s what I wrote as a comment in the Facebook status:
‘where I get lost with most explanations is when people use the words ‘belief’ or ‘faith’. What do these words mean? To me, it’s accepting something without proof; letting go. Does ‘believing’ or having ‘faith’ mean not using my mind? If so, how do I/you decide what to believe and what not to believe?’
I also asked:
‘Is believing in something you can’t prove a wish?’
I think the answer to that question is yes.
For most of us, the thought of dying is horrible; the thought that we may come to a point where we never see our loved ones again; the fact that each day we get closer to the end of our lives — horrible.
While I don’t agree with or understand many religious teachings, I can understand and imagine the comfort that must comes with believing in God and an after life.
‘knowing’ that you’ll live on and go to a better place must feel great.
To answer my own question: Is there a God?
As I see it, we can never be sure. But as it stands, I’m inclined to think that something created the world we live in.
I don’t believe the world was created in 7 days and a big bang doesn’t seem more likely.
This is one of life’s greatest mysteries, and as I learn more and collect more experiences, I’m sure my opinions will change.
Someone / something must have created everything, right?
I would like to believe that when my eyes close for the last time — whenever that may be — I’ll open them again, and somehow life will go on.
But I just can’t be sure…