Chapter 3: The Existence of God: Reasonable Reasons for Belief
An atheist is someone who believes that a higher power does not exist while an agnostic is not sure. Unfortunately, many who leave Mormonism become skeptics and abandon their faith in God. Too often, those who have reject God do not feel compelled to produce evidence supporting their view, even though their belief cannot be proven. While many will resist, skeptics ought to be willing to provide reasonable explanations for why they believe the way they do—just as they expect Christians to do. When the evidence is considered, belief in God is more sensible than not believing at all. If nothing else, the nonbeliever should be willing to do further research to see where the evidence leads.
Discussion Questions Chapter 3
1. While there are dozens of arguments used by theists to support a belief in God, just three are detailed in this chapter. Which is the most compelling for you? If you prefer another reason not discussed, what is it? Describe how you would use your tactic with an skeptic.
This is an open-ended question, and there are many good arguments that can be used.
My favorites are as follows:
- Design argument
- Moral argument
- Kalam argument
In addition, when it’s possible, I like to give my testimony. Unfortunately, a personal testimony may or may not work depending on the person. I do like to bring out my testimony when the Latter-day Saint shares theirs. I just don’t expect anyone to come to a “Jesus” moment based mainly on my own testimony, which is very personal to me.
As far as using the tactic, I do like to flesh out the conversation by asking how open the person is to the Gospel. I have learned over the years not to, as Jesus said it, throw precious gospel truths to people who merely want to trample what I say. (See my article Offering Pearls to Pigs and Dogs.) However, if they are open to discussing the existence of God, the above three reasons are my favorite topics.
Be mindful that it is impossible to “prove” God’s existence just as much as it is not possible to prove He doesn’t exist. By taking the “inference to the best explanation” tactic, it makes much more sense that something outside of time, space, and matter created the universe rather than assuming everything came about through random explosions. While there are a number of smart people who vehemently disagree with me, I stand on the principle that something complex, such as what it appears to be design found throughout our world, must have come from Someone higher than we could ever imagine.
2. Perhaps the simplest argument given in this chapter is showing how a designer can be inferred for the universe to come together as it did and be capable of life. For you, what is an amazing fact demonstrating the design of the universe?
Although there are a vast number of stars and planets, there is no evidence to suggest that any other planet is capable of being inhabited with living organisms. All the factors necessary for life on earth are there, including the distance the earth is from the sun–not too close so we don’t burn up but also not too far away that we don’t freeze–to a planet (Jupiter) serving as the garbage collector for all the meteors and comets to be attracted. I believe the anthropic principle is capable of showing how a higher intelligence is necessary for life to emerge and that our universe did not just come by accident.
3. What does the moral argument have to say about the existence of God?
Perhaps nobody explains the moral argument better than philosopher/writer C.S. Lewis did in Mere Christianity. Down deep, everyone understands that some things are wrong, such as a child who disobediently takes a toy from a playmate. This sense must have come from a higher power, a moral law giver with authority.
4. What do you think is the main reason why people reject a belief in God? What can a Christian do to help the average skeptic consider the possibility that there is a God who loves people?
Let’s be honest, there is a cost to belief in God. This means that Somebody is greater than you. There is power in being the master of your domain. Yet, no matter how great a person–from Caesar to Muhammad and Napoleon–the total sum is 80 years (give or take), with a complete dismantling of the fleshly body before it fails. Nobody is immune.
One thing we must understand is that the skeptic cannot be forced to believe in God. Patience is required. For many, there is a point of despair and a throwing up of hands while screaming, “Is this all there is?” No amount of money, sex, or power can satisfy the longing each person has to personally know Who exists beyond this universe. This is the beauty of God’s Word, the Bible, and the love story between God and humans.
5. If you have a testimony about Jesus, how could this be used to support the existence of God? Are you able to provide a short version of your story in just a few minutes to show how God has personally worked in your life?
As stated, the Christian’s testimony is incredibly powerful. It ought to be used whenever possible. Each believer should practice a short accounting of his or her story. Your testimony is unique and is perfectly suited for you. The following comes from a reputable Christian website:
- Before you met Christ, what were some of your needs, what was lacking, or what was missing in your life?
- What methods for improving your life did you try that didn’t work?
- What were the circumstances that caused you to consider following Jesus?
- What has become your favorite Bible verse and why?
- Share about how you trusted Christ and give a brief explanation of the gospel. John 3:16 is a great verse to use.
- Give an example of how God has met your needs—either physical or emotional—since you accepted Jesus.
- Share about what part of your relationship with God you’re most grateful for today.