1. Why Believe? by J.F. Kippley

Why should I believe in God?  Sooner or later, every thinking and believing person has to make a decision.  Do I really believe in God?  And if so, why?  These questions are normal.  In fact, St. Peter tells believers to be ready to give a reason for their faith (see 1 Peter, 3:15).
These questions have attracted many thinkers, and various reasons for faith in God have been given; this little brochure will give a few of them.  But first we need to address the huge problem of our day.

Practical atheism: materialism and indifference.
     There are not large numbers of intellectual atheists.  As logicians tell us, you cannot prove a negative.  Also, as you will read a bit later, some atheists have discovered that dogmatic atheism simply doesn’t explain life as we know it.
Far more numerous are practical atheists—those who act as if God doesn’t exist.  Their gods are money and pleasure and power.  They don’t build idols to these, although some of their houses might be called that, but these are the principles by which they make their decisions.
Perhaps even worse than these idol worshippers are those who are completely indifferent about the existence of God and act as if it doesn’t matter.  They don’t deny the existence of God, but they seem not to care.
They are like little children who close their eyes and say, “I can’t see you, so you can’t see me.”  It doesn’t work for children or adults.
Pascal’s wager certainly applies in these cases.   I hope it leads them to think and then to pray.

Pascal’s wager.  Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was such a brilliant mathematician that in 1970 a computer programming language was named after him.  Some of his unbelieving friends were living ungodly lives so he made a bet with them.  “If I live as if there is a God and die and find there isn’t, I have lost nothing.  If you live as if there is no God and die and find there is God, you have lost everything.”  This does not prove that God exists, but it certainly provides food for thought.

The “no consequences” approach.  About 200 years later, Fyodor Dostoyevsky had one of his characters say, “If there is no God, everything is permitted” (Brothers Karamazov, 1879). That played out hugely during the times of aggressive Russian and Chinese atheistic communism when Stalin and Mao killed millions of their own people.
Also, just read the papers.  Some public schools are so anti-theistic that they forbid the Pledge of Allegiance because it contains the phrase “under God.”  With that kind of education, why shouldn’t people do whatever they think they can get away with?  If the only purpose of education is to enable you to earn money so you can enjoy whatever you desire, why not take the shortest way to get money?
We are bombarded by the daily news that gives deadly proof that George Washington was right when he said in his 1796 Farewell Address, Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

To be continued next week.
Permission is hereby given to download single copies for free. Additional copies may also be downloaded without charge provided they are distributed for free.  See http://www.nfpandmore.org/brochure.shtml .

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