Does it matter if God exists?

The God-debate mainly focuses on whether or not God exists; it also focuses on what God’s nature is like. This blog discusses classical/traditional theism, which says that if God exists, then God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good.

If that sort of God exists, wouldn’t it obviously matter? Wouldn’t God’s existence make a difference?

At first glance, the answer seems to be, “yes”. One can make a plausible case that if God is all-good, then God is all-loving. If God is all-loving, God would want a personal relationship with finite creatures. On theism, the greatest good for finite creatures is a conscious, meaningful, and reciprocal relationship with God.

Although, on the other hand, it’s possible for one to believe that God exists and that God does not reveal himself to humans in the (form of the) various religions of the world. If this is true, one might argue that there isn’t a lot we would know about God. Would God still be worthy of worship? Is there an afterlife? If there’s not, should I worry about God? Maybe God would have to create an afterlife for at least some people, given that she is supposed to be omnibenevolent. Maybe not.

Christian Theism

However, if the question is something like, “Does the Christian God exist?,” I think the answer is more straightforward (in a sense). I think the answer here is that it does matter if Christian theism is true.

But how does it matter? To what extent does it matter? Some would say it matters in the sense that you should be scared of hell. Others would say it matters in the sense that you are forgiven of your wrongdoings. Furthermore, others might claim that it matters because we would have an entity that is obviously worthy of worship. On the other hand, some would claim that Yahweh is a cosmic Hitler, and so Yahweh’s existence would matter in the sense that it is terrifying.

Conclusion

The question of God’s existence is important, but the takeaway here is that there other important questions (and often overlooked questions) like: “Does it matter if God exists?” and “In what sense does it matter if God exists?”.  When speaking about God, arguably, the latter questions are just as important as the former.

Kierkegaard-Dostoyevsky-Nietzsche-Sartre

28 thoughts on “Does it matter if God exists?

  1. I like the question “if God exists how would I know?”

    I feel like the primary question is pretty Kiekrgaardian: how would I know that I am knowing about gods existence and my role in that knowledge?

    I think the significant question is if reason holds communion with God.

    I’m not even really sure if the question of God’s existence is a valid question or really get anywhere further than to ask if this tree exists. One could say that while there is a tree right in front of me and so I know the tree exists, but I think the real question comes from is there some court sort of line some sort of unbroken line some real communication of data and or information that somehow translates or transcribes between that object there with roots and bark and leaves and my apprehension of it? To make a distinction between A quality of question between whether that tree exists or whether God exists, I think Mrs. the question of how I am even knowing anything about the tree Or God.

    I think the assumption is that reason D notes and otherwise relies upon as well as refers to a communion with its object, Whether it be God or goodness or grass or brains or thoughts or sperm, ova, atoms.

    I think if we stick human beings in a category that is common such that we all have these common brains that have access or have a resource of intelligence and reason again as a common category, then we have to admit the contradiction of all things and their reality as well as the potential for their truth: God exists and doesn’t exist at all times. Every and any argument can be made to the existence of God and it doesn’t sway me either way because the fact is that if I say that I don’t believe in God then I am affirming that there is a communion somehow between my reasoned and it’s object, which I would say, for any other term, is God, tree, Adam, rock, sexual partner, love of one’s life, enemy. Etc. lol.

    1. Thanks for the response. What you said sounds somewhat Kantian. In other words, our minds bring forth structures which impose structure on (our experience) of reality. Even if God exists, like you said, how do I know God exists in reality?

      On this page, I mainly compare two hypotheses: theism and naturalism. I ask what I would expect to see if each of these were true. If those expectations aren’t made, that counts against the hypothesis. If a certain piece of data is confirmed, that counts in favor of the hypothesis.

      1. I think it’s particularly Kiekegasrdian: is there a suspension of the ethical is a question about knowledge, and the conditions that must be met to know of God.

        I’m curious: in weighing up all the various possibilities of argument, will you decide whether God exists or not? Or where’d it matters? Will the research help you decide?

      2. Thanks. I’ve already made up my mind about where I stand on whether or not God exists, precisely because I’ve done a lot of research. However, I’m open to having my mind changed.

        I think you’re right that what you’re saying has Kierkegaardian elements. When it comes to philosophy, I’m much more well-versed in the analytic tradition than the continental tradition.

  2. A complicating factor is that the term “Christian god” is ill defined. The Christian god has attributed that vary all over the map. It also is a composite of Yahweh, Jesus, and whatever the heck the Holy Ghost is.

    Would anyone really want Yahweh to show up at a party? A genocidal mass murderer who makes mistake after mistake (with regrets, mind you) but is still considered to be infallible. Or do Christians think of their god as an airbrushed Jesus like figure. The usual representations of Jesus have him dressed in a fashion and sporting facial features far from the norm of the first century, so their mental image of their god is quite distorted. If Jesus presented himself, would it be in first century garb? Or would people see Him clothed as they think people should be clothed now? would everyone see something different?

    I think the question needs to be deeper. maybe if it is proven that “god” exist, will you be disappointed in what is presented? It is so unlikely that whatever being is proven to exist that it is very unlikely to match anyone’s expectations, thus proving their “faith” wrong and many would therefore either feel foolish or betrayed or … disappointed. (I thought he would be taller, don’t you? And did you think he was Black; I sure didn’t?

  3. AnonDoc

    “I’ve already made up my mind about where I stand on whether or not God exists, precisely because I’ve done a lot of research. However, I’m open to having my mind changed.”
    Where?

    “However, I’m open to having my mind changed.”

    So are you an agnostic?

      1. Might be a bit like hiding the position you personally hold in an otherwise open discussion. Half truth may be seen as whole lie

    1. After long consideration I have tried to discover the root of religion. It is, in my opinion, based on the delusion that humans are special. We know that all creatures die, but the monotheists believe humans are special creatures who have been given the opportunity of an eternal existence (after being resurrected in body, mind, and spirit) in heaven or hell. I am neither a believer or an agnostic. There is only one life, not two!

  4. I think it depends on who you are. I have ended up in too many debates with people who insist that their god is the source of all morality, and that their life is meaningless without their god.

    If you don’t believe, and are happy and understand that morals don’t come from some magical objective source, then it doesn’t matter. Much.

    All that matters to me is that theism is often imposed on my son. If people who believe could keep their magical thinking to themselves, I would not care one way or the other.

  5. Does a virus exist? Perhaps god is just a name for all that which iis beyond our comprehension. What about the possibility that the religions of the world are the integrated wealth of different cultures, and the bible is nothing more than a parable. Even if that were so, there is a possibility that certain spiritual values are unobtainable by the study of manuscripts alone; that just as love between two human beings can not be wholly learned from a book, so awareness of spiritual values cannot be learned while occupied with the distractions of banality.

  6. Thank you Jonathan, having been a physician I started a new life after immigration to Canada and getting disabled. I started Theology in UofT but TST (Toronto School of Theology) beard me for only one term and fired me out. As a previously religious man, my question was whether the assumed God provided modern humanity with a reasonable clue or not. Hopefully, i could find it by Phonetics of the final Testament and I am improving it to be published.
    I have named my blog as Evidence-based Theology, because I believe that man nowadays believe in Evidence-based documents. Till now, I, phonetic led me to syllables and true letters and mathematics has decodified some. I think the Quran may include a map to purify the Bible,
    As a reasonable Testament, the Quran has only one version and rejects Muslims! Accordingly, one of the first verses admits that there are metaphors to explain. Preceding this verse, there are no hell and punishment or angels and Satan. There are reasonable clues to abrogate non-humane matters.

  7. areinhardtsimpson

    The most interesting question for me is what does it mean to exist? I’m thinking of Jack Caputo’s argument that basically says that if we are to take a common belief that god is outside of time and place, etc, it begs the question of whether such “being” can be said to really exist in any meaningful way. I’ve been thinking about that for a little while myself.

    1. If you are seriously interested about the question of existence, consider the following:-

      According to the great philosopher Immanuel Kant, any thing which exists in space and time is merely appearance and the actual reality exists out side of space and time. I agree with Kant on this. logicandmysticism,wordpress.com

  8. It certainly matters to any number of people who base their existence on that existence. If the existence was conclusively disproved they would all be up the proverbial creek!
    More importantly, it matters to all who seek a meaning and purpose in the existence of everything. If there is an intelligence behind the drive towards progress observable in the universe — and, if not, why is it there — then that progress is leading somewhere and the determining factor is that intelligence, which is what we would recognise as God.

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