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idream3r's avatar

Question of Believers, Why do you still believe in God when..?

Asked by idream3r (439points) May 11th, 2016

This question is for people who believe in God or a Higher power.

With all the chaos and all the bad things that happen in this world, why do you still believe in God. I am a believer as well. However I always find myself questioning my faith. We pray so hard to prevent bad things from happening, just for them to happen. I often feel if God is all powerful, all loving, why does he not help people in need. Whenever something bad happens we say God has a reason or purpose for it. I feel that excuse is getting worn out. As life goes on, I find it harder and harder to believe that a God exists. I am beginning to lean towards the theory of evolution and atheism.

- Things like the idea of hell. Hell seems too cruel in my opinion. I’ve heard stories of people going to hell for simple things. After all we are only human. We will make mistakes. We are far from being perfect.

- Prayer. We have been praying for centuries for God to save us. Like I mentioned previously we pray to prevent bad things from happening, just for them to happen. I am personally starting to stop believing in prayer. People say be patient and God has his time. However how long must we wait for him to answer us.

- Overall, when I look at this beautiful world we live in. I would like to believe there must be a creator. Like every art work has an artist. But when I see the evil and chaos that goes on in it. I begin to lose hope in humanity and God.

Like I said before, I would love to hear from believers.

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25 Answers

Judi's avatar

I am a believer and I am comfortable with the questions. If all my questions were answered it really wouldn’t be faith.
I Serve a God of reconciliation. I don’t believe that he sends people to a fiery hell. I think there’s enough hell here on earth to go around. Most Christians get their visions of hell from Dante’s Inferno, not from the Bible.
You will never hear me say, “everything happen’s for a reason.” That’s not in the Bible. I am a better follower of Christ if I acknowledge that sometimes things just suck for me and for others.
I don’t pray so God will change my circumstances, I pray so he will change ME!
If all people of faith would actually do something when they see suffering in the world then the suffering would be greatly diminished.

Pandora's avatar

I believe that part of faith is believing even when the road is difficult. I believe because there is equally so much beauty in the world.

I think I truly didn’t understand those things till I became a mom. The love I felt and still do is overwhelming. You want to protect and put your children in a little bubble. Keep them safe from scratch knees, bad people, illness, ant bites and sun burns and allergens. But then you think, how do I do that without hiding them?

Without letting them learn about these things. Without introducing them to the world and letting them explore it. How could I call what I have for them love for these lives I produced, if I never let them truly live? Is it kind to trap a bird in a cage? Also, do I want them only dependent on me? Would they love me because I earned it or is it because they have no choice? I thought about why God made us. For the same reason we crave to reproduce (at least some of us). That free pure love is greater than anything. And when you love them in return, you want to give them the world. Warts and all.

Death is something we see as bad. But if you were God, would you see it as bad? You are going home. So like any parent he gave us freedom to choose and some choose this world and to live harming others. And as for the good people. They often have a choice in stopping someone or turning a blind eye.

Buttonstc's avatar

When you say that you’re beginnning to lean toward the theory of evolution and atheism are you thinking that evolution is incompatible with a belief in God or that one cannot acccept science if one believes in God?

There are plenty of scientifically minded people who firmly believe in God and don’t have any conflict about. I have no idea about which church teachings you’ve been exposed to, but the idea that there is no harmony between the science of evolution and belief in God is really very outdated thinking.

Most progressive believers nowadays are no longer hanging onto the fundy absolutism of Young Earth Creationism. They know that the earth existed far longer than six or seven thousand years.

Even the head of the NIH (and the Human Genome Project) Francis Collins has stated that his study in the Genome Project convinced him even more of the existence of God. He is only one example of a scientist who sees no conflict between science (Evolution and all) and belief in the Creator.

Here is the website he was instrumental in founding.
Many scientists contribute to the content there.

Regarding hell, you’re absolutely correct to reject as being too cruel to believe in.

It took me quite a while to puzzle this out. Not that I had a problem with rejecting the idea of a literal neverending fire and torment (neverending fire doesn’t even make any common sense, much less spiritual sense.) In order for a fire to burn it needs constant new fuel as it consumes the current. How could someones body burn without end? At some point it would be consumed, right?

What I had to wonder about was how anyone could believe this stuff and still sleep at night. If I thought God was capable of that degree of sadism, I would be loathe to believe in him also.

Of course the whole idea is ridiculous and a product of medeival thinking and was used to keep people in line.
And the whole idea of invading other countries and converting them at swordpoint is so opposite of everything Jesus taught and stood for. That’s the product of the influence of the Roman Army, not the gospel.

Plus, the English word hell is substituted In translation for several separate words, all with different meanings. Gehenna, Sheol, Hades and Tartarus all have their own linguistic origins having nothing to do with the concept of literal neverending fiery torture which is being translated as hell.

I certainly don’t have an answer for all your questions but I’ve just touched upon two which I feel are foundational to a proper understanding of God.

But, you can rest assured in the fact that there is nothing wrong with rejecting the idea of a God who delights in neverending pointless fiery torture. As @Judi mentioned, and I agree completely, that idea has more to do with Dante’s Inferno than with anything that Jesus ever taught.

If you’d like to do some further study on word origins and poor translations which led to this erroneous belief you might find this site helpful. At least you’ll know that there are plenty of other believers who don’t believe that God is a sadistic torturer but that ALL will be reunited with him. Yes, that’s basically Universalism; the ultimate reconciliation of all things. Call me a crazy optimist, but thats the kind of God I don’t have a problem believing in; a merciful one.
If you have any other questions, feel free to pm me. I can’t guarantee that I have answers for everything but I’ll give it my best try. But just being able to ditch the whole hell myth and knowing that you don’t have to be an ignoremus and reject science should be a good enough start to be encouraging.

ragingloli's avatar

The things I usually hear as answers to that are:
– God did not create evil. Evil was caused by Humans when they disobeyed god in the garden of eden.
– It is Satan’s fault.
– It is a test of your faith/ a divine plan you are too stupid to understand.

– Hell is a real place, but god does not send you to hell. You CHOOSE to go there because you CHOOSE to disobey god.
– Hell is only an eternal “separation” from god, not a place of torture.

– “No.” is an answer, too.

Khajuria9's avatar

I am mostly a believer but still am not sure why I am. Something inside of me directs me to choose to believe that there exists this super power which is all-existent. Like you said why would there be God if there is chaos, cruelty, sins and so many bad happenings. God, in itself, has nothing to do with goodness or badness of things, events and people. God is seen by many as a means of providing positive self-affirmation and is not at all related with happenings that we see. The scripture which I believe in quotes God as ” Its One and All, Its the only Truth, Its the only one who does all things, Its fearless, Without Hatred, Its Timeless, Without forms, Self-created, Only with the blessings of a Guru, one can meet/know It”. So, u see the concept does not anywhere say that the God is responsible for bad/good happenings, God is neutral, its neither happy nor unhappy, neither good nor bad, neither gets bigger or smaller by glorification, God is just a heightened state of Consciousness and its the basis of existence. Our belief in God should not be dimished by the bad happenings around us, nor it should be increased by the good happenings, its only when u will know that no happenings are good or bad and when u know that knowledge is much smaller in comparison to realization, only then u would be able to experience God. Good Luck with that! By far, its the most scared experience/journey that one can be on! Much love,

Bill1939's avatar

For millenniums, people have sought a being or beings with the power to create the world in which they live and protect them from harm when they are able to demonstrate that they are worthy of protection. The model they use is based upon the authority of a family’s patriarch who rewards or punishes his children for their behavior and can shield them from deprivation and harm.

I have outgrown my naïve belief in that form of God. Because belief in a patriarchal God is common, I prefer to use the term Creator, which I do not envision as a being but as a spiritual force that continues to evolve our universe. We are not the purpose for creation. We may have had a transcendent existence before our existing as physical entities and may return to that state when this existence ends. Even if this is true, however, I doubt that actions in this life will be rewarded or punished in an afterlife.

The spiritual force of creation also exists within my being. I view prayer as connecting with my spiritual center that allows me to turn from an ego-based perspective to a broader consciousness, which instead of satisfying my desires recognizes and serves the needs of others. My belief is as old as a patriarchal one. Teachers of all faiths including Christianity have taught their followers this truth, only to have their wisdom corrupted by institutionalized religions.

We are born with the instincts of animals and are motivated to obtain the power to survive and reproduce. As sentient beings, however, we have the ability go beyond an ego driven life. We can become less selfish and more altruistic. Yes, human life seems full of evil and chaos, but there are many who seek good and order. There is hope.

kritiper's avatar

When I was questioning my beliefs, I wondered why God would allow children to suffer.

Cruiser's avatar

I am a spiritualist now and have been since I abandoned the Catholic religion over 30 years ago. I am much happier because I write the rules of my beliefs. I do have a very strong belief in a higher power and that is the people close to me and extends out to all mankind. We all share the same planet, share the same energy both physically and metaphysically. And once I got it and understood it I was able to tap into my higher power and that energy we all share and it is a very powerful life force to share in 24/7.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You sound like me, when I was a believer. However, I never had any problem reconciling my belief in God with my acceptance of the evidence for evolution.

I also did not believe in the miracles, such as Christ rising, or the virgin birth. I didn’t believe in heaven or hell.

In short, I sucked as a Christian as many Christians told me, and tried to save me from my wrong headed ways, but I believed that God did not have any problem with me and my logic.

I know that giving up the idea of God is pretty darn scary, and sort of sad, but you don’t have to! You don’t have to believe in God at the expense of your intelligence and common sense.

Sometimes I still pray because it is comforting. But I know that whatever happens after that would have happened anyway. But the meditation itself is comforting.

Yes, this world is incredibly amazing….but even more so if you realize it really happened just because of physics and then biology. That’s more amazing than saying it was “magic.” What’s so special about magic? Not believing in a creator doesn’t take away the awe…it increases it.

You just need to do what you’re comfortable with. God’s OK with that, as long as it falls within the parameters of being a good, decent human being.

In my experience, too many Christians do what they think they’re supposed to do, and they have the right to be assholes to anyone who doesn’t do it the same way. They’re the “chosen” ones. Everything they do is “blessed.” That was never my idea of Christianity.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

If I had a nickel for….....never mind.

It’s personal.

idream3r's avatar

@Judi I really like your response, Makes me change my perspective on things, Thanks you.

@Pandora That was deep, Thank you for sharing that. Helps a whole lot.

@Buttonstc Thank you for exposing me to this, Never really knew about this before hand. I will look more into it. I appreciate it.

@ragingloli Thanks for your response, I really appreciate it.

@Khajuria9 That was really helpful, Thanks for sharing that.

@Bill1939 That was really interesting and eye opening. Thanks for sharing that.

@kritiper Thanks for your response. Same here. I feel heartbroken when I hear the things many children have to endure.

@Cruiser well said, Thanks for your response I appreciate it.

@Dutchess_III Wow, never saw it from that point of view before. Thanks for sharing that.

@MollyMcGuire Lol, Thank you anyways

Thank you all for taking your time to respond to my question. I really appreciate it.
A few thoughts that occurred to me while reading your answers.

- At the end of the day God gave all of us free will. We can not blame him for what people choose to do with it. Maybe the real question is, why do we as humans sit back and allow bad things to happen. Things like war, murder, and many evil things that exist are due to the greed, pride, & evil of men. When I see all the money that is wasted yearly on wars. I think that could have been used to stop homelessness, world hunger, etc….

Our world is not perfect but it is beautiful. When I hear people dying from diseases, famine, natural disasters and unfortunate accidents, I often wonder why them? I had 4 people close to me pass away last year. Ages 16–58. All died due to health issues. We prayed and prayed for their healing but they lost their life anyways.

Sometimes it seems like the good die young. I know many people who are living life up by do illegal things. People such as myself work so so hard for so little. While others things easily come to them due to the way they look (Instagram models for example), people they know, or where they were born)

I know a guy in India who built a around a 33 story building which is his house. Which overlooks slums where people are starving and fighting just to survive. I feel like life is really really unfair sometimes.

Sorry if this is a lot to take in. Just writing how I am feeling at the moment.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
Dutchess_III's avatar

And now this is going to turn into one of “those” arguments, so I’m out.

Hang in there @idream3r. You do what you feel is right for you. And “be good.” ~ ET.

chewhorse's avatar

Well, I’m not particularly religious in the way Christians believe so I can’t quote the bible, however your statement, ” if God is all powerful, all loving, why does he not help people in need”. In my opinion our physical existence and God’s ways in how he copes with us has to do exclusively with the spirit or soul and not the physical self.. This can be realized through Christ who gave up the physical body in order to return to the creator and as far as the biblical over tones depicted, he had no regrets so when you see evil in the world, when bad things happen that are beyond your control view it as a witness knowing that these things are temporary and have no meaning on the other side other then the realization that the true punishments begin at the first breath and cease at the last. Now you may say, “What about Hitler and other evil human beings, do they not get punished for their sins?” and I will tell you that it will be no concern of yours because the after life has to do with you, not others and it’s you who should live as good a physical existence as you possibly can and don’t fret nor judge concerning others.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m back! I’ve been thinking about your response to me @idream3r: “Wow, never saw it from that point of view before. Thanks for sharing that.” That’s something to think carefully about. Whether you realize it or not, you aren’t allowed to see it from that point of view, or any other point of view other than what you’re taught from the cradle.

It may not be obvious, overt pressure, but the words “God knows what’s in your heart,” is meant to put a LOT of guilt into your mind if you dare to think something other than what you’re taught, by the humans. I don’t think that most religions do that to be mean, or are even aware of what they’re doing. However, that’s the basic motivation behind any religion—control. Mind control. Crowd control.

That’s why the early church quite possibly invented all the miracles, then the governments aligned themselves with this all-knowing, magical God who is everywhere, and who will punish you even if they, the government, can’t reach you.

I once voiced to one of the members of my church my doubts about Christ rising from the dead. They looked at me shocked and shaken and said, “But…that’s…that’s the very basic of what it means to be Christian, believing that! Believing in the resurrection and the virgin birth! All of it! That IS what Christianity is!”
I said, “Oh. I thought it was about love and compassion.” In my mind I thought, “I never realized Christianity is about MAGIC. The same magic that the Greek Mythology is based on, that any Christian would dismiss in a heart beat as….ridiculous.”
Never brought it up again.

Judi's avatar

I haven’t read it yet, but I’m hearing a lot of buzz in the progressive Christian community about the book and study Living the Questions which appears to address your question directly. I’ll be reading it soon but I’m currently enthralled with the Enders game series :-)

idream3r's avatar

@chewhorse Thank you, what you said is really true. One of my former youth pastors once told me to focus on myself because at the end of the day, it is between me and God. I worry about what others are doing because sometimes their actions or lifestyles can also affect my way of living. I often wonder people can watch others suffer and look the other way.

@Dutchess_III I often question Christianity and why things are the way they are. We have discussions in my youth service and Sundays and I would ask some questions that makes you think about the things we are taught. I usually get same reactions as you do. Sometimes its just hard to figure what’s true and what’s not.

@Judi Thank you, I appreciate it

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, really isn’t hard to tell what’s true and what isn’t. There’s just a lot of guilt wrapped around it all, which makes it seem like it’s hard to tell.

idream3r's avatar

@Dutchess_III True, I guess its easier for some than others. Thanks again for the feedback.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s hard to even contemplate. I understand.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

With all the chaos and all the bad things that happen in this world, why do you still believe in God
Because I have a relationship with Him that I can see Him move in areas of my life that could be nothing but Him.

We pray so hard to prevent bad things from happening, just for them to happen. I often feel if God is all powerful, all loving, why does he not help people in need.
Look around this place if it is any indication many do not want the help or believe He is there to help so how can He unless He forces Himself upon them? If I were drowning in a lake and you toss me a life preserver and I push it away, if you jump in after me and I start trying to punch you and kick you away from me, how can you save me? People want God to step in and keep every bad thing from happening but don’t want Him to step in in directing their way of life; they want the Kingdom, and its benefits, but they do not want the King.

Whenever something bad happens we say God has a reason or purpose for it. I feel that excuse is getting worn out.
More pointedly, I say out of every terrible situation God can be glorified through it. If one wants to say a beneficial result was the purpose behind it, it can be looked at of a highly publicized drunk driving accident, if it spurns tougher drunk driving legislation, incites people to create MADD, get drunk driver education in schools, then the tragedy did had some benefits, or good that came from it. God allows certain things to happen because it might cause many members of the family to be saved that would have otherwise been lost. It might turn a person around that was lost to see the marvelous light and escape darkness.

Things like the idea of hell. Hell seems too cruel in my opinion. I’ve heard stories of people going to hell for simple things.
Hosea 4:6 comes to mind, people are perishing for lack of knowledge. Simple things have never sent anyone to hell, if they go it is because of sin uncovered by the blood of Christ. Where we puny humans have a ”sinometer” where we believe lying is less of a sin than stealing which is less than murder, etc. If the jet misses the flight deck it doesn’t matter if it was 500 feet, 150ft, or 50ft, the jet is in the drink and you are fishing the pilot out of the water. There are no simple sins.

After all we are only human. We will make mistakes. We are far from being perfect.
I do not know about you, but that is why I can goof up as I will surely do because I am human, but I have a High Priest who went through every temptation I have but yet did not sin, and He stands in the gap for me and says, “Give him a pass on that stupid action he did, he is one of Mine”; that is called “grace”.

Prayer. We have been praying for centuries for God to save us.
For centuries people wanted a savior but never a Lord and King. Prayer. We have been praying for centuries for God to save us. 2 Chronicles 7:14, the formula is there, if people do not use it then it is to their fault, Not God’s.

I would like to believe there must be a creator. Like every art work has an artist
You are correct, the visible attribute and proof of God’s existence is everywhere, but because he allowed us puny humans to figure some if it out, we believe in everything other than He who created it.

Like I said before, I would love to hear from believers.
Oh, ask anyone around here and they will tell you I am a ”Bible Thumper” or worse, but they maligned my Lord and he said if they would malign him, and he is greater than I, I can expect they will do me dirty as well; but I am not ashamed of Christ before man, so he will not be ashamed of me before the Father.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We maligned your Lord by suggesting said Lord, if it existed, could be a woman. You were utterly insulted.”

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ We maligned your Lord by suggesting said Lord, if it existed, could be a woman. You were utterly insulted.”
Ask yourself, if there were someone who was outside their biology and wanting to be with a person of same biology and I referred to them (which I have not) as a dyke, carpet muncher, Peter popper, homo, or much worse, would someone get offended? Then you have your answer

Dutchess_III's avatar

So..the word “Woman” means “sexual pervert” (or your version of sexual pervert) to you, @Hypocrisy_Central?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ So..the word “Woman” means “sexual pervert” (or your version of sexual pervert) to you, …]
No, the word “woman” doesn’t mean that, I have no idea where you got that from. As far as the rest, you want my secular view, or the spiritual one?

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