Promises and Secrets
A website for those not afraid to examine their beliefs, compare them to the real world, and make sure they fit.
There is a God. Notice that the FACT box is empty. There are no known facts about God Himself that can be placed there because no facts exist that can be "proven" scientifically. By the same measure, you cannot prove that there is no God.
What do you think?
Since there seems no way to settle the argument about the existence of God, take a look at what you believe about Him and examine the possibilities for why you believe it.
If you think He does not exist, why not? Where did you get that idea? If you believe He does, why? Much of what we "know" or believe has been given to us by others - school, parents, experience, and just thinking about things.
No one knew God in any conscious way at birth. Some say that we knew Him right away in some mystical sense, while others say He was never there to know. However, without even the ability to control our hands well enough to keep from smacking ourself in the eye, I doubt we would have the presence of mind to decide anything about God that early in life. Without this conscious knowledge, to take a stand on His existence each person must gradually develop a personal viewpoint about God. Where would the information for this viewpoint come from?
Family is our first contact with God, if we get one
Our first conscious impressions beyond self-awareness come from our immediate family and friends. We learn our first tastes, sounds, sights, smells, and concepts of texture by paying attention to things that happen very close to us. In the beginning, this is usually by interaction with mom and dad. As we grow older, we become aware of events and objects further away from our personal center. This is when we become curious and start either experimenting or asking questions in order to learn. The speed of our learning is determined by our successes or failures in these experiments and the ability to be able to remember what we have learned from them.
At some point most of us eventually become aware that some people believe in God, some do not, and some do not care either way. We develop a worldview - a way of looking at our world and how it came to exist. If we grow up with devout parents who attend church regularly, we think that is the way the whole world is. If our parents do not attend church, then we pick up that behavior as the way the world is and should be. If our parents believe strongly that evolution is the truth about how we got here, then that becomes our worldview. Not all people stay with the worldview they get from this early learning.
Friends and family, then school
So, after growing and learning in a "closed system" of family and very close friends, where do we get our first impressions that the world may not be exactly the way we think it is? The most obvious starting place is where every American child goes starting at the age of 5 or 6. School.
Public school is the most common place for most American children. Some are privileged to go to private schools which, because they were chosen by our parents, tend to reinforce the worldview we got from them. Most other children go to public schools, with a growing number of exceptions that are home-schooled. Now, in your experience, what is the position of public schools on religion in general and God specifically?
Regardless of our worldview at the time we start school, we understand that the teacher is someone who knows more than we do. When they speak, we listen and learn so we can pass into the next grade. Since approval is a major motivator, especially among the young, we accept what we are taught so we get the good marks. The teacher begins to say things that contradict what some of us have learned in church or at home. Those raised in homes where God has no place accept the teachings and have no internal conflict. However, those raised to believe in Creation and Adam begin to wonder which to believe because the authority of the parents is conflicting with the authority of the teacher.
Teachers in public school
Now we have a problem. To be a successful student, we must learn things that contradict our parents. Children are not great at compartmentalization - the ability to separate obvious contradictions and still be able to function well in life. Children tend to think in terms of right and wrong - not in the moral sense, but in the sense that if this is correct, then the opposite cannot be correct. Only one can be right. When we tell the teacher that our parents say that what they teach is wrong, they say our parents do not have the current wisdom on the subject. Now we are doubting our parents, because the teacher's job is to teach us, and he/she grades our performance.
This problem is magnified as we progress in school and learn things our parents have forgotten or never did learn when they went to school. This makes us "smarter" than our parents. Now, if the teachers have made us "smarter" than our parents, then we start accepting everything the teachers say. We start to "tolerate" our parents, but their authority begins to wane as we enter the teenage years. Enter evolution, stage left. From here it is a battle between 6 hours per day of school, 5 days a week against one hour of church, once a week. Remember, the one hour of church is contradicting the 30 hours a week of school. Guess which one is winning?
Comparing what we "know"
So, now that we are older and have made a decision to take a stand (or, in some cases, decided not to decide), we think we know what we believe about God. Many, no - most, of us believe something that required almost no thought or investigation on our part. We either believe what Mom, Dad, and the church taught us, or what Mom, Dad, and the school system taught us, or some combination of the two. Many who take a stand will regurgitate what they have heard others say and hold it as their own belief because it is way too much trouble to open the Bible and read what it actually says. If they do open it, they read the canned passages, and even then only read enough to convince themselves they are right.
Science vs God
If the stand is against belief in God, it is only because of what they were "taught" by the "brilliant teachers" in the education system. If you ask them why they believe what they do, the answer is usually something like "Evolution is a fact now.", or even "Anyone can see the evidence of the Big Bang all around us." A very precious few have actually looked at the evidence, considered what they were taught in light of what they see around them, and made a decision on their own. It seems very clear that almost no one who does not believe in God made a conscious decision to investigate the stand. They bought the indoctrination and did not get an education.
Some of both, luckily
Me? I was raised as an atheist and remained so until I was 28 years old. When I was 25, I married a woman who believed strongly in God and Jesus. Three years after we married, and had many discussions on the subject, I began to think seriously about my position and compare it to reality. I began to "see the light", and much of this site is based on the conclusions we have reached. A very logical and scientific mind did the rest. Yes, science and logic were both involved. In the middle columns of the pages of this site are some of the topics that we discussed when the topic of God came up.
Take a stand
Because we have the Bible and an alternate explanation of our existence that opposes some of the "scientific" nonsense we have been told, we have to make a choice. Decide whether we believe that God is. If we believe He is, then because we will be affected by His plan, we have an obligation to know Him - the real Him. In a book called Know What You Believe by Paul E. Little, we see this observation:
Because God has spoken and has revealed Himself, we no longer have the need or option of conjuring up ideas and images of God by our own imaginations. Our personal concept of God - when we pray, for instance - is worthless unless it coincides with His revelation of Himself. (emphasis in original)
- excerpt from Know What You Believe, Paul E. Little, 1997, page 23
Disagree? I hope you let us know what you really think. Take your stand and see how it holds up to the light of scrutiny. Send us your comments. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and give us your view.
God - Opposing View
Tell us your side.