The following post is a paragraph by paragraph commentary. It was written by a priest when a fellow tumblrite asked him the question above. My comments in bold.
This may surprise you, but I’m actually not big on “reasons” to believe in God’s existence. I’ve never met anyone who believed in God because they figured out the cosmos and came up with an amazing proof that totally convinced them.
Short version: There is no reason/evidence to believe in the existence of god.
It’s not so much that I made a heroic “decision” one day to “accept” something. It happened so subtly and slowly that I can’t say that I know when I started to believe. Sort of like falling in love… when does that “start”?
Short answer: By actually interacting with the person. It can be in person, online or whatnot, but to be real love there has to be a real interaction. It goes without saying that the same cannot be said of god.
A man in love with a woman, or a sports fan dedicated to his team… they’ll come up with “reasons” why their love or their team is the greatest of all time. They’re not really “reasons” that will convince anyone else, and they’re not the real motivation behind the commitment there. We’re not just brains… we’re hearts too.
There is also a real team, a real woman. To compare an insivible and silent god (how does one diferentiate between him and the nonexistent?) to a sport team or a woman is not accurate at all.
So there’s a limit to the way we can “think” things out here, and I certainly can’t call anyone “stupid” because he doesn’t accept something I do. After all, I can’t even understand myself and why I do some of the things I do… how can I understand you? Or God, for that matter?
It is not about accepting a personal idea or concept. It is about what is real and what is not, it is about truth. I will never call a religios person stupid, what I will call them is confused and deluded because there is no other description one can give of an individual who tries to have others believe that their own personal myths and superstitions are real without any evidence or reasons to support it.
It’s like love in the sense, too, that I give myself over to faith. It’s not just about me, and something I figure out in my own headspace. It’s about Someone Else. And so faith is a relationship… or it’s not faith. I can have “faith” that Japan exists, even though I’ve never been there… because others have told me about it and I trust them. There’s a relationship there: me and others. I can have “faith” that Jesus was the Son of God because I trust the others who have passed on his words, and I trust him. Two different relationships there. And then prayer… the ultimate relationship.
Faith is not needed to believe that Japan exists. We have evidence, proof and yes, REASONS to know that it is so. It is not only because others have told us. What if they are lying? Trust means nothing if there is not a way to verify that it is not misplaced. Being gullible is nothing to be proud of. At the end of the day I dont feel inclined to use the label “relationship” to the act of talking to an invisible being that does not answer back.
So faith is a journey more than a decision or a thinking. It has to live, grow, sink its roots deeper into me… it’s a path along which I mature, hopefully… towards God… And I pray that you find some sort of resolution in your own life! Because it’s the path to true happiness, really. I’ve known so many people who smile on the outside and are so inwardly lonely and desperate on the inside because they’re living a life far from God… and so many people of faith who are inwardly in such peace, always. (They’re not always the “holy rollers,” which is interesting too.)
"Faith is nothing more than the license religious people give themselves to keep believing when reasons fail." — Sam Harris
Sorry but I can’t renounce my thinking abilities in the name of faith. Religion is not needed to be truly happy. I live really, really far from “god” and I could not be any happier nor any more fulfilled.
Does anyone else out there have a better/shorter/simpler explanation?
Yes. There is no reason nor a shred of evidence that a god exists, much less that belief in one is warranted. Religion and beliefs in gods is a cultural phenomena. People inherit religion. Demographics show this to be true. Truth, evidence and reason have nothing to do with it. The posting I have commmented on just confirms it.