What would it take to believe in god?

Several months ago I posed a question to religious believers: What kind of proof would be required for them to leave their faith. The question wasn’t intended to drive people from their beliefs, but to see if people have fairly assessed their faith and have come up with a metric for evaluating their faith against evidence that would otherwise contradict their belief system. Very few took me up on the question – Some may have thought it blasphemous to consider…

Turning that on its head, I get the same question thrown my way – what would it take for me to believe in Christianity again? Since many of my friends are non-believers, I’ll throw the question to you as well – Easter seems like an appropriate day to hypothesize…

I suppose, based on biblical dogma, that if the rapture actually took place and millions of people just flat out disappeared and I was “left behind” facing the world of the Antichrist, I would have serious reservations about taking the “mark of the beast.” Faced with the options, I’d probably make a “Repent” sign and go stand on a corner somewhere.

Now, I think the odds of something like that happening are longer than the Wizards winning the NBA championship (much longer…).

Absent an apocalyptic event, I think I’d require a direct intervention from god himself – and not just on a personal level, but one that could be verified by thousands, if not hundreds of thousands. If god revealed himself only to me, it could far to easily be chalked up to a hallucination – even if I never have done acid in my life! Solo revelation, which happened all too often in the bible, is not only unverifiable, but just an opportunity for someone to claim “special status” of god’s favor. I’d prefer something along the lines of god perching atop the Washington monument in the middle of the Mall, then hurling a thunderbolt at Congress driving the “whores” away, then telling America, in a voice that could easily be heard from Atlanta to Boston, they haven’t done a good job of following his teachings.

Yes, I’m being nationalistic here – if god showed up in Albania, or Nigeria, or Fiji, it just would lack the same effect.

It would be cool if god announced he’d return the next day, allowing people from all over the opportunity to gather, maybe take some questions (Oprah could host).

Something along those lines would certainly make me reevaluate my lack of belief. Some will say that god doesn’t work like that, but my response would have to be: who are you to put limits on the creator of the universe? If god is god, god can do anything! God could cure cancer, god could ensure his creation doesn’t starve to death, god could make sure the Broncos win the next 100 Super Bowls (I understand god loves football!).

So god could do those things, but if he exists, he obviously chooses not to do so. Some chalk that up to god not wanting to interfere with “free will,” yet that doesn’t preclude millions for praying for just such divine intervention on a daily basis – then claim that god’s hand was involved for whenever good things happen. Asking god for something good to happen, then having it happen, seems more to me about random chance than divine intervention. At least that’s my take on these things – doesn’t necessarily make me right about it, but I am confident in my view.

I know I’ve set the bar pretty high, but it does leave me open to the possibility of god. Where do you put your bar?

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4 Responses to What would it take to believe in god?

  1. Cha11engerD says:

    My answer is two-fold. To get me to have faith, you have to demonstrate that faith is ultimately 'better' or more useful in some way (ALL ways, really) than reason. And I am reasonably certain no one will ever be able to do that for me. To get me to acknowledge God's existence, God himself would have to appear before the masses and demonstrate his power. But at that point, I wouldn't believe that God exists; I would know that he exists. So either way, I will probably never 'believe' in any gods. And you can forget about converting me to any organized religion, because it's all bullshit.But, if someone can do either of those two things, you got me.

  2. Sean Asbury says:

    So, something along the lines of my proposal? I'd bite, but I'd also need some answers to some pointed questions… 🙂

  3. Anonymous says:

    The rapture happening is a good one, I had not heard that before.I also like Cha11engerD's point about belief vs. knowledge. Knowledge and evidence should always trump belief and faith. Here's an example. Let's say you have faith and faith alone that Christianity is true, but you never search and never look for opposing evidence. But let's say there is evidence that Islam is true, and it turns out to be true. If you don't follow the evidence and take up Islam then you could very well burn in the hell of Islam (which is supposed to be way worse than Christian hell from what I hear). My atheism is the logical conclusion of the line of thought for using knowledge and evidence to trump belief and faith.Answering exactly what it would take to convince me Christianity is true is a difficult one. I thought it was true until I read the Bible in my attempt to be a 'better' Christian. So we first have to start with having the accounts of the Bible – the foundational document of Christianity – match the accounts of reality without the assistance of spin doctors, ahem, apologists. Second, there would need to much stronger evidence for Christianity than any other religion, whereas today they pretty much all claim the same things (god found my car keys, got me a job, and saved my life in that car wreck).Finally, if god really wanted us to believe in him and make it clear which god was the real one, he would give us evidence for it. Man has been waiting thousands of years for this evidence, it's time we give up the search.

  4. Pingback: If I Believed… | Brain Droppings

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