Why do some people believe in God while others don’t? (part 1)

 

A few years ago I devised a course (The ‘Tough Questions Forum) for believers and non-believers with the intention of helping them to explore their differing perspectives about God, the world and suffering – five sessions considering natural disasters, moral evil, God’s existence, other religions and death and illness.

Interestingly, one outcome that was not anticipated was how the cherished ideas and thinking of believer and non-believer became quite fragile when exposed to stronger explanations and arguments. These new ideas causing the individuals to rethink their previous position in the light of what they had once believed about themselves and God in ways they did not anticipate at the start. Indeed, many christians found themselves having to rethink once cherished orthodox explanations in the light of more compelling ideas. Simailarly, the sceptics and atheists who now realised that what they once understood, no longer adequately described their position as they considered themselves more of a rationalist than an ardent non-believer.

Over the years, I have led many discussion groups on the Tough Questions Forum and listened to many sceptics and believers explaining their different ideas and positions. However, the most important observation I have made from all of this is that the difference between sceptic and the believer is quite minimal – I refer of course to the issue of the ‘revelation of God’ but more about that in the next blog.