Why I Believe God Exists
An acquaintance asked, “Why do you believe God exists, given that you have never seen him or heard him talk?” Good question. Comedian George Carlin said, “Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky.” When my children were young each of them had imaginary, invisible friends. If they still had them as adults we would rightly conclude that they had some significant issues. Carlin’s comment raises the question of whether believing in an invisible God is foolish or crazy. Why would anyone believe in a God they cannot ever see? As atheists sometimes say, isn’t it a problem to have an imaginary friend who is all-powerful that you talk to frequently?
That is certainly a reasonable question. Yet the idea of God has been around for many thousands of years, and it persists today. That’s because it actually is rather obvious. We live in a cause and effect universe. Every effect has a cause. The universe and everything in it is an effect. What is the cause? That, of course, could be many different things. It doesn’t have to be an intelligent creator. But imagine that you are driving through a canyon that has been carved by a river. As you drive you observe on the rocks and canyon walls the effects of the forces of nature. But then you come upon a boulder on which are painted the words, “Rick loves Laurie.” Would you think that is the result of natural forces? You’d be silly if you did. A reasonable person knows immediately that a sentient being created that message. It contains ordered information, a message that was obviously designed by some intelligence, in this case, perhaps not great intelligence, but intelligence nonetheless.
Think for a moment about the novel The Brothers Karamozov by Dostoevsky. Some editions of that book are 1000 pages long. It contains 364,000 words. Since the average English word is 4.5 letters long that means that book contains more than 1.6 million letters. Do you suppose that novel is the result of random forces at work? That would be absurd. We know that a three word message consisting of 15 letters painted on a rock is created by the hands of an at least somewhat intelligent being, so a novel of 364,000 words obviously is no accident. A person intentionally conceived and created it. Compare that with our DNA. Our DNA is ordered, coded information. It is enough information to fill 200 books, each the size of The Brothers Karamozov. That is the equivalent of 327 million letters of organized information! Does that seem like an accident, the result of random forces?
That is just one example. Through the universe there are similar evidences of design, of intelligence at work. In his book, The Cosmic Blueprint, physicist Paul Davies wrote of the universe, “the impression of design is overwhelming.” In the book, The Privileged Planet, cosmologist Edward Harrison is quoted as saying, “the fine tuning of the universe provides prima facie evidence of deistic design.”
This does not prove that God exists. However, it is evidence that there is an intelligence behind the existence of the universe. What or who that intelligence might be is another question. But the evidence does indicate that belief in a Creator, belief in a God who is the cause of all that we see, is more than reasonable. To know more about that intelligent entity we will need more information. But contrary to what George Carlin seems to think, to believe that such an entity exists is consistent with the evidence.