When someone asks for help, and it is easily within your power to provide it, natural feelings of empathy make you want to give them what they need. Especially when whether or not they receive this help can have extremely important consequences, most would consider it immoral not to provide this help of you could. This raises questions about faith. Why does god let so many people lose their belief, or use it in horrible ways as religious terrorists do?
“You just need to have faith” are words that are often spoken. However, for many people, faith is not something that just comes. These people simply cannot believe what they do not see hard evidence for, especially if this evidence does not come after prayer. These people need evidence and logic. They try getting on their knees and asking but do not find it there.
Why is it then that so many people struggle with faith and belief in god? Many of those who do not have faith once did in the past and only lost it after great internal struggle. When belief is said to decide one’s eternal fate, a fate that could bring the most horrific eternal suffering, why is it not made easier?
What goes wrong?
The faithful will say the reason for some not finding answers in prayer is that they did not ask properly. However, this argument has some problems. For example:
- What exactly is the right way to ask and why would a god be concerned with it? If there is an exact, decided way, why is it not clearly spelled out?
- Why would people need to pray in the first place? If god knows everything, why not just fix the problems without making people grovel on their knees?
For what reason?
While perhaps it can be argued that allowing suffering somehow allows people to grow, how can leaving people to lose their faith, and thus dooming them for all eternity, be justified in any way? What could possibly be the point in making people struggle to find belief in something they cannot see or hear?
In daily life, when people want others to believe in them, they are expected to perform in a way that inspires belief. Since any being with the power to create the universe would certainly be awe inspiring, it seems odd that such a being would not find a way for everyone to easily believe, especially when belief can save them from eternal torment.
What makes belief?
The sad fact is that people can lead themselves to believe almost anything. From conspiracy theories to horrible, oppressive, warmongering leaders, people have held all kinds of beliefs that look utterly insane to those looking back in a detached manner. Therefore, it is likely that many people can find a way to believe in god with the right amount of mental concentration, and this concentration can be found in prayer. It does not require anything divine.
However, belief without evidence and reason is dangerous. In our times, the most obvious example of sincere having bad consequences is suicide bombings. Whatever anyone says about suicide attackers, they are certainly sincere in their faith. Why should blind faith without hard evidence, which is so dangerous, be a noble value to strive for and the major determinant of a person’s eternal fate?
In addition, if religious faith is such a noble value, it seems incomprehensible that a god would let people, deluded or not, use it in a bad way.
The problem with faith
When a religion appeals to the same sense of blind obedience to get people to believe as brutal dictators do, it is time to step back and look more closely at the teachings of that religion. As long as their god does not offer anything concrete, belief in the god of these religions has the same basis as all the other unfounded beliefs people have held throughout history.
A god would not make a way of thinking that can easily lead to great evil the main qualification for anything, let alone eternal heaven or hell. This defies explanation and goes against all moral and logical sense.
Any god worth worship would certainly give hard evidence of its existence. There would be need to struggle with faith and clear answers for anyone who did.