Do you REALLY want to know the truth?
About this site
The purpose of this website is to host my research notes into the following question:
Does God exist?
Note: almost all of my study of God is related to the Christian God.
I've done a lot or reading on this topic (see Reading List) and I must acknowledge that the assertion God exists or God doesn't exist falls into a category of unfalsifiable assertions based on current knowledge. So, what remains is the accumulation and evaluation of the evidence supporting each assertion and deciding which one is most plausible. The conclusion you will make, I assert, will be heavily influenced by your accumulated experience, cultural influences, religious training, education, mental health and other influences since your birth. In other words, your conclusion will not be based on the unbiased evaluation of the evidence.
Evidence for "God exists" falls into these general categories (not a complete list):
- Religious Philosophy (thought exercises)
- Personal Experience (which has led to the many religious documents in existence)
- Mysticism (i.e. experience IS reality)
Evidence for "God doesn't exist" is, essentially, the lack of the kind of evidence or data that is routinely used in science, technology, mathematics, forensics, and other technical domains (I'll take the liberty to lump these all together as science). It should be noted that the above categories of evidence for "God exists" are generally not used or accepted in the day to day practice of science. This is the sort of information that can be tested and verified by anyone with the skills and tools necessary to setup and perform the test. It is also the sort of information that can be used to build a hydrogen bomb, a cell phone, a space station, a Formula 1 race car, etc. This is the sort of information that every human being (every organism) that exists on Earth uses to survive and thrive each and every day.
I will also acknowledge that, even if God doesn't exist, there still may be a need for "Religion" due to 1) our human biological condition of being aware of our individual existence and eventual demise, 2) our social needs which lead to "grouping" together with others of like mind, kinship, culture, etc.
Another observation worth noting is that some concepts are just difficult to understand and take a lot of study to comprehend. For example, I took four Calculus classes during my Engineering studies in college. It was difficult for me to understand the concepts. However, at some point during those classes, the ah-ha moment happened and it suddenly made sense. Without putting in the time and effort to study Calculus, I would not be able to say I understand it. My point is that, even with this topic, much study is required to grasp the arguments for either position.
If you really want to go down this path, then be prepared to have your belief system challenged whether you believe or do not believe God exists. To a large degree, this path is a philosophical study.
The authors of Introduction to Philosophy: Classical and Contemporary Readings, Louis Pojman and James Fieser explain this succinctly.
Philosophy is the love of wisdom (from the Greek philos, "love," and sophia, "wisdom"). It is the contemplation or study of the most important questions in existence, with the end of promoting illumination and understanding, a vision of the whole. It uses reason, sense perception, the imagination, and intuitions in its activities of clarifying the concepts and analyzing and constructing arguments and theories as possible answers to these perennial questions. It is revolutionary because its deliverances often disturb our common sense or our received tradition. Philosophy usually goes against the stream or the majority, since the majority opinion is often a composite of past intellectual struggles or "useful" biases. There is often deeper truth, better and new evidence that disturbs the status quo and that forces us to revise or reject some of our beliefs. This experience can be as painful as it is exciting.
The pain may lead us to give up philosophical inquiry, and a great deal of emotional health may be required in order to persevere in this pursuit. We may retreat into unreason and obey the commandment of Ignorance. "Think not, lest thou be confounded!" Truth (or what we seem justified in believing) may not always be edifying, but in the end the philosopher's faith is that Truth is good and worth pursuing for its own sake, and for its secondary benefits. The intelligent inquiry that philosophy promotes is liberating, freeing us from prejudice, self-deceptive notions, and half truths. As Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) put it:The [person] who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from common sense, from the habitual beliefs of his age or nation, and from convictions which have grown up in his mind without the co-operation or consent of his deliberate reason... [W]hile diminishing our feeling of certainty as to what things are, [philosophy] greatly increases our knowledge as to what they may be; it removes the somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those who have never traveled into the region of liberating doubt, and it keeps alive the sense of wonder by showing familiar things in an unfamiliar light.
- Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1912), 156 f