General Question

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

To atheists and agnostics: What would make you believe in God?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (38935points) May 23rd, 2009

does something have to happen to you? is it a visual, a sensation, something you consider a miracle? what would it take for you to think there’s an entity way bigger than you? I’m not pushing religion, p.s., just a hypothetical

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93 Answers

DeanV's avatar

I believe that religion is an individual journey/preference, and that if god found some way to show me his/her existence, I would believe in god. And if he/she could do it twice, that would be good too.

But until proven otherwise, I choose to believe god does not exist.

wundayatta's avatar

Measurable, reproducable evidence.

DeanV's avatar

And what daloon said ^^

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Quantifiable scientific evidence.

dannyc's avatar

Faith, if I had it.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

A few miracles, God is free to contact me for details.

AstroChuck's avatar

Scientific evidence would be nice. Of course, if he could stop by the house and introduce himself, that would be even better. Better still, perhaps a large deposit in my name in a Swiss bank account.

DeanV's avatar

Edited by me for blatant stupidity…

DrasticDreamer's avatar

God would pretty much have to start a conversation with me. Then after I had my brain scanned to make sure I wasn’t clinically insane, I might start believing he existed. Following or worshiping him other the other hand… Not even he could convince me it was a good idea. I’m free as free can be… And I always intend to be.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

In addition if god does exist I have some serious questions for him about the actions of his followers.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I don’t want to anger god too much. He sounds like a right grumpy mofo.

Cardinal's avatar

Y’all are goin’ straight to Hell!

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Cardinal I’m always cold, so it’ll be nice and toasty for once.

Ivan's avatar

It’s been said, but I’ll say it again.

Positive, specific, verifiable, quantifiable, reproducible, measurable, empirical evidence.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Atheism is belief based, and agnosticism is knowledge based. I believe that the may be a god, but I have no knowledge or proof of God, because I believe that as a human it is impossible to understand and grasp the omnipotent nature of a supreme being. To do so, man would have to be the equal of the supreme being, and man is most definitely not. Anything that is held up as proof of God, is like the Allegory of the Cave, shadows on the wall.

So yes, I do believe there is “a” god, an omnipotent force, but it is entirely a faith based concept, and doesn’t belong to a particular branch of monotheism.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Along with the evidence others have mentioned, he/she/it would have to explain to me what the point of all of this was/is. Whim? Experiment? Lonely?

tehrani625's avatar

@Ivan I agree.

From what I have gathered from God’s “followers” god has all these tests of faith that are easily explained by scientists and easily explained away by Christians. To me this shows god as a bit of an ass, he has created us in his image but he does not trust us to trust him (I don’t if “he” exists) so if god was real we need to talk.

@PandoraBoxx I agree, although more along the lines that because 90% of the inhabitants of this planet believe in some form of god that their has to be “something” out their…

rooeytoo's avatar

I just had a health scare and it took almost 1 month to get a final answer or whether I have a life threatening disease or not. You can do a lot of thinking about this subject in one month. A couple of times I wondered if I would suddenly turn into a believer so that I would have someone or something to ask for help. As it turns out I was given an all clear and I do not have a dreaded disease. But nonetheless the conclusion I reached was that I probably would not have become a supplicant.

I guess I believe that there is a higher power of some sort, it sounds ludicrous when you write it down though, doesn’t it, some spiritual creature floating on a cloud??? But I do believe in insurance so when I got the answer, I raised my eyes skyward and said a silent thank you to the powers that be, just in case!

I think that we are imbued at birth with everything we need to make it through this life including a free will to hopefully make intelligent choices about how we spend our time. To constantly be asking someone else for help on how to make a decision or behave towards others is not my idea of how it works. I know how to behave, and I make my decisions based on the evidence I have at hand. That is all I can do. If there is a reward to be had in the end, I think I will probably deserve it based on how I acted and interacted while I was on earth, not by constantly begging forgiveness for my transgressions or offering homage to the floating thing or seeking answers that I should be able to find within, etc. etc. etc.

augustlan's avatar

I’m an agnostic… but if there is a god, I don’t believe it’s the god of the bible, infinitely involved with our lives. More like a smart kid with a science fair project.

In order to have no doubt whatsoever, I’d pretty much have to see it to believe it.

DarkScribe's avatar

Well, Jesus tapdancing on my swimming pool would get my attention, but nothing short of a benevolent God would make me give a damn, not the malignant, bad tempered, uncaring, poor parenting, narrow minded, bigoted, jealous, power hungry despot who is described in the Bible. If God WAS real, who the hell would want to know him? There is nothing nice about him if you actually read the Bible and built an image from it. Add that to the fact that he has NEVER once done anything for the innocents who he should care about, and has allowed the very worst of society’s evil members to prosper and you have nothing, at least nothing to care about.

Basically if God was real and living among us he would be jailed for all manner of crimes. He “sacrificed” his kid, he got an unknowing and unaware woman pregnant without her permission, he supposedly has the power to render aid to almost everyone in distress, but never does, (failure to render aid is a criminal act under most law) he allowed humans to be sacrificed to him as a bribe, the list never ends. Who really would want to know a person, let alone a deity, like that?

chelseababyy's avatar

@DrasticDreamer Took the words right out of my mouth.

dannyc's avatar

Ironically, if a presidential candidate does not espouse an all encompassing belief in God in America he/she would be pilloried and would never be elected..seems a bit strange..

Jeruba's avatar

Nothing. Nothing, nothing. Nothing would make me believe.

@DarkScribe, I have often thought it would be interesting to ask a psychiatrist to form a diagnosis of an unnamed patient based on a description of his behavior, and then go ahead and describe the behavior of God as recorded in the Old Testament: a jealous, violent megalomaniac control freak with intermittent fits of creativity and outpourings of loving attention interspersed with irrational demands, tantrums, and the silent treatment.

AstroChuck's avatar

Perhaps a well worded Fluther entry by seVen or Crusader could do it for me.

pikipupiba's avatar

@drasticdreamer i dont think you understand. Hell is not ‘toasty’, its hell!

DarkScribe's avatar

@pikipupiba >i dont think you understand. Hell is not ‘toasty’, its hell!

When did you get back?

Really, the idea of an eternity in heaven scares me more than an eternity in hell. I know which place would have the interesting people – and that is possibly the primary criterion as to how I judge my life – by the people I meet.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@pikipupiba If it’s all hot and fiery like it’s portrayed to be, it’s toasty. If, on the other hand, it’s icy, well, yeah… I’d be pretty screwed.

AstroChuck's avatar

@DrasticDreamer – As long as they have broadband, I’m good either way.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@AstroChuck I hear that. I just figured it out. Fiery or icy, I’ll just resort to buying a heater or an air-conditioner. Problem solved!

DarkScribe's avatar

@AstroChuck Of course they’ll have broadband – where do you think that all the geeks will be?

Grisaille's avatar

Dammit (har har), everyone stole my answer.

So yes. Irrefutable evidence would be nice.

Or maybe if He decided to drop by and say, “wassup” one day.

Hell (har har yet again), if He wanted to reveal the image of Himself in my Spaghetti-o’s, even that might make me reconsider my beliefs.

Till then, I’m on the side of science. And as @DrasticDreamer has said (you’re becoming a bit of an idol to me, my lady!) there’s a huge difference between believing something exists and devoting your life to it.

God-acknowledging, yes. God-fearing, no.

And even still, I’d have one serious bone to pick with Him. Bubonic Plague? Slavery? Holocaust? Viruses? 9.11? Darfur?

Are you shitting me? Oh boy, would He get an earful.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

This seems to sum it up for me…

loser's avatar

Mushrooms?

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

If the God of the Bible exists, then, according to the Word he has given his followers, he is a malevolent and cruel thug. Hardly deserving of worship, and more likely deserving of scorn and condemnation.

Dark Scribe and daloon pretty much gave the answers I was going to use.

one thing that confuses me is that if god is unknowable to mere humans, than how is it that believers can describe his attributes? Unknown is unknowable, and to describe the unknown, one MUST guess. I prefer facts to wild stabs in the dark

pikipupiba's avatar

@everybody!!!! HELL IS NOT COFORTABLE IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM. NO BROADBAND, NOT TOASTY!!! NO BUYING AN AIR CONDITIONER OR HEATER. ONLY PAIN.

ETERNAL SUFFERING!!! SOUND FUN??? IF IT DOES THEN YOU ARE SICK!!!!

PandoraBoxx's avatar

If there is a hell, then perhaps it’s here on earth. This isn’t too fun most days, either.

pikipupiba's avatar

Oh yea, and no ‘interesting’ conversations with ‘interesting’ people. Its kind of hard to carry on a conversation while your screaming in agony.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@pikipupiba, you are writing from personal experience, I assume?

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I have it on personal experience that Hell does exist on Earth; it’s called Cleveland! :-)

@pikipupiba, Telling us what Hell is like because of what a couple of monotheistic religions tell us is like assuming the Devil is truly evil when we have only heard only one side of the story. Hell isn’t a place; Hell is other people, especially those that assume to know what is best for us. Also, it’s ‘you’re’ not ‘your’.

How do dead people feel pain? Okay, I’m done baiting the fundy now. ;-)

AstroChuck's avatar

I always figured that Hell had carnival rides and balloon animals. I mean, according to Pat Benetar, Hell is for children.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Part of me thinks that the idea of “vengeful, wrathful, punishing God” was created by the same type of people who parent by saying “do as I say, or I’ll beat the crap out of you.” Human nature is constant over time.

pikipupiba's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra I’m sorry. I’m typing from my iPod and I don’t feel the need to have perfect grammer.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

iPod is the tool of the Debbil.

AstroChuck's avatar

Ooh. I love debbil’s food cake!

Jeruba's avatar

Here’s what I want to know about hell. If bad, evil people on earth are doing the work of the devil, then when they get to hell, what is he punishing them for? Why isn’t he congratulating them on the great job they did, giving them awards, and treating them to hell’s best? I would think that if you really wanted to make the wicked suffer, you’d send them to heaven. Hell is for frightening the good and the well-intentioned.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Hell is being a child in Darfur.

AstroChuck's avatar

Hell is wasting your entire life “living” for an afterlife that’s most likely not to come.
Live for the now, man.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@Jeruba to me, Hell would be stuck for eternity with people that have nothing better to do than to play harps and sing the praises of a malevolent god that has obvious self-esteem issues and a penchant for bloody vengeance against his own creations. How many virtuoso harp players do you know among the general public? I imagine it sounds like someone stretching frozen cats like rubber bands. I’m sure it would make America’s Got Talent look like the London Philharmonic.

wundayatta's avatar

Oh come on, people. It’s all metaphor. Why get so toasted about it? I think we should just make sure we bring enough marshmallows!

pikipupiba's avatar

@jeruba Satan wants everyone else to be a miserable as he (or she) (actually satan is a demon, thus genderless) is.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@pikipupiba Have you met Satan? How are you so knowledgeable in all of this? You leave me awestruck. Does Satan really have hooves and boobs? I’ve always wondered, is he actually red?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Oh wait… You said Satan was genderless. But still… I’ve heard that Satan has boobs, so does that mean Satan is transgendered?

prasad's avatar

This world/universe is a good enough proof that God exists. How can this world be here, all things set very well? Someone must have done so, and he’s God.

Grisaille's avatar

Care to share some of this proof, without making broad blanket statements?

I’m very interested.

prasad's avatar

I would like to share a story that has been told to me.

Once, a friend of sir Isaac Newton came to him. They chatted this and that. After a while, they came upon the topic whether the God exists or not. Newton believed in God whereas his friend didn’t. They started arguing. His friend went away still not believing in God. Newton, determined, built a nice wooden model of the solar system, with the planets rotating about themselves. He asked his friend to show this fancy model. His friend came, saw it, and liked it very much. He then praised Newton for building such a wonderful model. Newton refused saying that he did not built it. His friend said back to Newton that he’s lying, and insisted to tell the truth. Newton, however, did not give in to his friend. He told that the model had been lying there, and he did not build it. His friend thought that was a lie, and insisted to tell the truth. Newton, finally, admitted that it was he who built the model. Then, he asked his friend, how could he believe that this wooden model, which is only a replica of this world, and by no means can be as better as this world must have been built/created. Then, if that model that Newton build can’t be just lying around here, how can this world be here without the creator?

It is God who has created this world.

augustlan's avatar

@prasad Lovely story, but not proof.

prasad's avatar

;) I wouldn’t have passed all the exams, if there were no God! Of course, I failed many at first try.

Grisaille's avatar

What?

Rain can form in puddles that happen to look like Darwin or Hitler. Are you to say that that is God’s work?

Silliness aside, that is a fine and dandy story – it just doesn’t give me any proof as to why I should believe in God. It has no substance, no evidence, no factual basis. It is nothing more than a brain teaser; a riddle, void of scientific (or at the very least, undeniable) proof. It’s just as the Romans saying that lightning is, in fact, Zeus throwing tridents down at the masses because he’s pissed (which of course, due to advances in science, we no longer believe such things). It’s a sloppy explanation for why things happen, or why things exist.

So, please. Can I have proof that God created the universe?

prasad's avatar

Alright, but why or why not you want to believe in God? Does this even matter to you?

Grisaille's avatar

No – I very much want to believe in a God. Just so I can punch Him in the face for being so inept at everything He does.

Judi's avatar

I just watched a video by a guy (Rob Bell) That seemed to make an argument to those who want to follow the scientific method for proving God. I was with a group and only saw the second half.
He was talking about how a 2 dimensional creature might experience a third dimension. How it would be impossible to prove without a doubt the reality of the thing they saw in the third dimension. It would just be lines and dots. It took some very complicated stuff and made it make since to simple folk like me, but also challenged the smart folks. Very interesting, but to get an atheist to be patient enough to listen to the entire video might take an act of God itself.

AstroChuck's avatar

@Grisaille- Romans would have said Jupiter, not Zeus, threw down the tridents (well, actually lightening bolts. Neptune had the tridents) but your example is still valid.

crisw's avatar

@Judi
My understanding is that Bell’s Everything is Spiritual video borrowed the concept from the book Flatland by Edwin Abbott. I haven’t seen the video, but the reviews I can find such as this one make it pretty clear that Bell gets a lot of the science wrong.

Blondesjon's avatar

The morning I jump out of bed and trip over my dick.

Ivan's avatar

@prasad

I hereby define Unicorns to be the creator of the universe.

How could this world exist so perfectly if there were no unicorns? Why don’t you want to believe in unicorns?

Ivan's avatar

@pikipupiba Read the Koran.

pikipupiba's avatar

@Ivan Please explain.

AstroChuck's avatar

Read Mad Magazine.

Ivan's avatar

@pikipupiba Don’t you think the Koran has some insight regarding what the Devil is like?

pikipupiba's avatar

@Ivan Im sure it does. Im asking you to explain what it has to say. Im a very busy man, and to not have time to actually read it.

Ivan's avatar

@pikipupiba

Heh, I’ve never read it; I am not making any claims as to the nature of the Devil. I just thought it was a little arbitrary for you to pick one random holy book and claim that you should read it over any other.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@pikipupiba I have read it. Most of it, anyway.

dannyc's avatar

The God debate always comes down to a rather pointless undertaking. Nobody can ever convince anybody of anything, which is understandable for a subject that cannot be understood. Proof is the last thing one needs. Faith seems to be the only way, which seems contrary to science, so the windmill keeps turning. Having said that I hope there is a God for some reason I can’t explain, especially when I don’t believe there is one. And that probably makes no sense..like the debate in the first place….ughhhhh. Damn this human mind..(not literally, God)

pikipupiba's avatar

@DrasticDreamer And does it have useful info?

pikipupiba's avatar

@Ivan I chose the bible because it is the least discreditable of any holy text.

Ivan's avatar

@pikipupiba

Says who, the Muslims?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@pikipupiba It might have been useful if it didn’t say “DO THIS!” in one part and then a little while later on say, “NO, NEVERMIND! DON’T DO THAT!”.

Also, it is not the most discreditable of any holy text. It is exactly equal with any holy text ever written. Just as “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, doctrines are in the eye of the beholder. Unless, of course, you’ve poked someone’s eyes out for the sake of “an eye for an eye”...

pikipupiba's avatar

@Ivan and @DrasticDreamer Actually… Im assuming that we can all believe in science, and PROVEN SCIENTIFIC AND HISTORICAL EVIDENCE has shown the Christian bible to be the MOST true.

Grisaille's avatar

@pikipupiba Le sigh.

Please, enlighten us.

Ivan's avatar

@pikipupiba

Heh, considering that no “proven scientific and historical evidence” exists for anything, I am going to have to ask you to back up that claim.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@pikipupiba Or you can just give up and let other people believe in the ways they see fit. Christianity might make sense to you, but it sure as hell doesn’t make sense to a lot of other people. Accept it, or your life will be miserable.

Jeruba's avatar

My money’s on the Dhammapada if you want to talk credible holy books.

pikipupiba's avatar

Ok, i will report back in a day or two with all my facts together.

shf84's avatar

If I could clearly see the hand of god working in the world around me and god was obvious and apparent , communicating with us etc.

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