Atheism and the goodness of God 2: why believe in God? [or not]

It’s time to come back to the book I mentioned a few days ago edited by William Lane Craig and Chat Meister, God is Good, God is Great: Why Believing in God is both Reasonable and Responsible.

As you might guess from the title, this is a Christian apologetic – that Christianity makes sense and has beneficial results. There are four parts:

  1. GOD IS: – discussing philosophical reasons for the existence of God, mainly in debate with the New Atheists.
  2. GOD IS GREAT:- a rather misleading entitled section that discusses more evidence for the reasonableness of Christian faith but doesn’t directly talk about the character of God much.
  3. GOD IS GOOD:- four chapters focusing on how faith in an utterly good God is the basis for morality, especially in dialogue with the New Atheist charge that God himself is immoral and religion is a cause of evil.
  4. WHY IT MATTERS: another loosely named section of four disparate chapters unpacking various aspects of why belief in God is profoundly reasonable, attractive and important.

As I said I’m going to post on some of the chapters I found the most helpful and interesting (and could understand 🙂 )

But before going further, all this raises the question: why do you believe in God [or not?]

Here are some reasons I have for being a Christian (and we’ll come back to most of these in more detail)

– Evidence from creation of remarkable order and design

– The incredible fact that we exist and the universe has a beginning and therefore a cause

– The astonishing fine tuning of the universe that allows life to exist at all

– The logical coherence of the Christian faith

– The compelling historical evidence for the reliability of the gospels and the life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ

– Personal experience – of seeing God at work in transforming people’s lives in community and individually.

– In being drawn again and again to the character and self-giving love of the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

– In the profound way the writers of the NT understood and saw how Jesus’ life fulfilled all the OT had pointed to and how they recognise Jesus as sharing the identity of God himself.

– The remarkable unity of the unfolding story of the whole Bible.

– Of how that story is an attractive one of astonishing good news. Of why this world is broken and full of violence, and pain and injustice; of God’s actions to redeem, heal and save this world; of his love for every man woman and child; of such a love poured out at the cross; of the hope for this life that the Christian faith brings; and of how this hope provides a basis for ethics and morality in this life.

– Of how the God of the Bible is as we might expect a perfectly good and all powerful God to be

– Of how God’s agenda is to transform individuals into people marked by the Spirit of God whose character leads to lives full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, humility, gentleness, and self control.

– Of how God’s heart is about justice for the poor, judgement of evil, of overcoming all that causes so many in this world such pain and hardship and how the Bible is full of hope of such a world.

– That Christian hope is not ‘pie in the sky when you die’, it is a hope that shapes life now and calls every Christian to live here on earth as citizens of heaven and to become bringers of love, justice, and grace into this world so lacking in hope, and so riven by injustice.

Therefore it is my conviction that believing in God is not only reasonable but provides a coherent, compelling and attractive basis for ethics and morality for life in the here and now. Ultimately my faith rests on the biblical revelation of God as both utterly good and utterly great.

Now of course saying this stands in direct conflict with much recent militant atheism which says God is neither and that therefore religion is a dangerous foolishness that must be opposed and fought until it is somehow eradicated or at least so marginalised as to become irrelevant. That’s a debate that will keep surfacing as we blog on …


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