Why do people believe in God?
Most of my dear readers know I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often referred to as the “Mormon” church. I was born into a family whose religious ancestry can be traced back to the restoration of the Church in the 1800’s, when one of my great(+) grandfathers joined the Church in England and moved across the pond to join the Saints in the great Salt Lake Valley. I, myself, have been a baptized member of the Church since 2002, when I turned 8 and was eligible to be baptized. I’ve been faithful to my religion my entire life, with only 2 brief stints of inactivity due to stubbornness and health issues. For the most part, I’ve attended church every Sunday for three hours at a time, gone to youth activities, conferences, dances, and participated in callings (positions within the Church) and have given talks when asked to.
I don’t remember a time I ever questioned the idea of God. He has been the biggest part of my life. Sure, I’ve felt times when I thought I was maybe being ignored because a particular thing I prayed for never happened, or that Heaven’s influence felt shut off to me, but I’ve never doubted God’s existence.
On the opposite hand, I’ve never really sat down and thought about HOW I know God exists. I’ve always believed in Him. But what is it that constitutes His actual existence? How do I know that He exists, outside of the fact that I’ve grown up being taught about God?
These questions came to light when I was studying for a philosophy midterm. In the first half of our class, we’ve greatly discussed the problem of evil and the existence of God-how others (like Augustine, Aquinas, and other great philosophers) argue in favor of His existence.
It’s interesting to think about how others perceive God’s existence. Not just that they believe in God, but how they determine His existence with reasoning.
So how I do know God exists? When I examined my own reasons for His existence, I kind of had a startling realization within the context of my current struggles with anxiety, depression, and other health stuff. If God didn’t exist, I would not have reason to exist. A life without the knowledge of a loving Heavenly Father is not a life at all for me. Without my understanding of God’s plan, I couldn’t put my suffering into context. I wouldn’t be able to see the point of doing anything, because I cannot see the light at the end of this wretched anxiety and depression tunnel right now.
My life is worth living because God exists. He is my hope and my guide. I might not be able to see that light at the end of this tunnel, but I know that He does. He IS that light.
I know that God exists, because I am able to keep moving forward even though I’m stumbling in the dark. I am evidence of His existence, of His love.
So even when midterms get me stressed out and my social life dwindles because of my health, I can still move forward because God exists. I can handle this, because God is my literal and actual friend. God’s existence isn’t just a nice idea that makes me smile, like the thought of unseen fairies using pixie dust to change the seasons (man, I dislike the ones that use too much dust and make my allergies run wild!), His existence is a reality. He’s why I do get up every day and why I keep trying, no matter how many times I fail.
How do you know God exists? How do you know that you know? What does that knowledge do for you?
Because God is everything to me.