If Someone Asked – Why Do You Believe There is a G-d?

If someone asked, why do you believe there is a loving and kind G-d, who created and is still involved with the world, what would you answer?

There seems to be at least three approaches

1) Philosophically through First Cause (Cosmological Proof), Design, Planning and Purpose in Nature (Telelogical Proof) or one of the many others

2) Experientially – I know I exist even without proof because I experience my own existence. In the same way, I have experienced G-d’s existence through mitzvos, davening or simple Emunah.

3) Tradition passed down from generation to generation of G-d’s role in the Exodus and the giving of the Torah and other G-d – man communications throughout history.

Which of these is the one that brings you closest to G-d?

Which of these do you think would be most beneficial for a non Observant person?

22 comments on “If Someone Asked – Why Do You Believe There is a G-d?

  1. there is only this feeling of g-d in my heart. i cannot explain. has been there from my beginning, through all my personal conflicts.

  2. Well I’m a firm believer in answering such a question with a true to yourself belief. Let me elaborate, what I mean is if you just give an answer that doesn’t truly convey your belief but rather someone else’s you’re belief does not necessarily come across as strong. With such a beautiful infinite it only makes sense that we relate our answer as to why we believe with our personal belief in terms of our own personal connection with god.

    Therefore with all this being said, my answer to this person would be “I know I’m alive, breathing, and standing right before you. Though there may be philosophies that state otherways such as, for all we know life is an elaborate dream, I myself for my own existence personally believe I’m alive. Therefore with my belief in being truly alive, I know that so to with this logic it only makes sense that god exists as well”. I hope I’ve given all of you who view this comment reassurance in your belief and that belief, or answering any questions on belief can only come from your own personal obligation to believe.

    Have a truly amazing, enriching, and rewarding Shabbos.

    And by the way just because I’ve stated what I said about my belief, this doesn’t mean that I relate to god on just the level of religion.

    My philosophy is to love klal yisroel like yourself but to have your connection with god be upmost personal and that you can’t really share with anyone.

  3. I believe there is a God because I have the bechira to do so and because I can conceptualize the absolute negation of physicality.

    I am frum because I like potato kugel.

  4. I agree with Michoel.

    Perhaps Ron means that many people might believe in a G-d who is the first cause before the big bang.
    But he might agree that much fewer believe in the G-d who not only created the world but,
    -is constantly involved with the world
    -communicates to man through prophecy
    -gave us the Torah through Moshe
    -rewards and correctively punishes us for our actions in this world and the next

    When you think about it, the 13 principles (G-d, Torah, Reward & Punishment) come down to one principal, belief in a G-d who has the attributes and actions described in all 13.

  5. What side of the bed is that, right or left? I would like to try it myself!

    I think Ron means Rav Noach. I cannot disagree with Ron more. Very many people will say that they believe in G-d, but when clarified, they are not saying that they believe in all omnipotent, omniscient Creator. And if they are really talking about that, then the move from belief in Him to belief in Har Sinai is not that distant.

  6. David, I see you woke up on the comedy side of the bed today.

    By the way, that line is from an old neighborhood friend who I’ve recently reconnected to on LinkedIn and Facebook.

  7. Ron –
    1) who’s that “most famous” kiruvnik?

    2) what did he answer?

    3) do you REALLY believe G-d is virtually irrelevant to obsevance? Just hear that statement! Isn’t the whole point of Baalei Teshuva, on such a phenomenal scale as it is in our generation, that f-i-n-a-l-l-y we’ve got a major movement of Jews thirsty, as the prophet puts it,for the word of G-D (and not dikduk Halacha)???

  8. This is the explanation that I heard and it persuaded me (as if I needed it)vcompletely and it is so simple and obvious.
    First of all, we admit that G-d is something beyong human comprehension and it is impossible to describe. So when people say, they believe that there is a power bigger than them operating in this world, that is probably G-d. It’s just human language humanized Ha Kodesh Baruchu because its tools are limited.
    ..Ok. So, how can we prove that Hashem created the universe? What we need to prove is that there was vacuum and then some mysterious power (a.k.a. Hashem) created a world out of it.
    1) Let’s draw the history of the universe at the diagram. Would it be a right line? No, because universe is not still, it is ever changing and developing, and if it is developing, it has a direction of development. A right line (the line with no beginning and no ending) is still, it does not reflect direction. Direction is shown by a vector. And on the graph vector is drawn as a ray. A ray is a line that has a starting point and has no ending. So, this is the prove that the unievrse has a starting point – it was created out of nothing by Divine Power

  9. Number two. Although I fully admit to people that it all sounded nuts to me until I believed it and experienced it, so I understand their difficulty with the notion.

  10. I had an argument about this topic with the most famous person in kiruv, because in my view this question is borderline irrelevant. The issue for Jewish observance is so far beyond God’s existence that I don’t see why the energy should be expended on this.

    There are plenty of Jews who are open to the possibility or even believe in God without much need to prod or “prove.” Getting from there to Torah MiSinai is immensely more difficult than getting from any but the most obstinate insistences of atheism to admitting the possibility or even certainty of the existence of “something” bigger than us.

  11. “faith-belief-knowledge continuum”

    The notion that one can be anywhere along the continuum and be a full fledged faith-brother is so important. But perhaps it can be dilineated a little more accurately?

    I used to teach highschool Israeli’s about it like this: Knowledge = seeing is believing. It’s palpable. “All my bones cry out to you”, as Dovid HaMelech puts it.

    Belief, however, is a vascilating perception. Sometimes it’s beyond knowledge, sometimes just beneath, labeled K+ or K- respectively. When one says “I beleive you’re right but I just can’t be sure” is K-. When we say “I’m passionately sure that abusing children is wrong” is K+

  12. Nice timing. I’ve been struggling to articulate this for several weeks now.

    I’m not sure I believe there is a G-d with my intellect. I don’t have emotional faith in G-d per se either. I do however sense something much greater than myself at play in the world and feel compelled to acknowledge that and give thanks. The framework of judaism allows me to accomplish that.

    I absolutely would not be able to convince anyone else of this thing that I sense however. And further at earlier points in my life *I* was not capable of sensing this thing that I’ve recently taken to calling haShem.

    When friends ask why, I point to a recent confluence of events that happened to me that stand so outside of mortal capability that even they acknowledge something else had to be running the show besides mere coincidence.

  13. In response to the comments, I changed the post from “How do you know there is a G-d” to “Why do you believe there is a G-d”.

    Although some commentators stress that we need to working on “knowing” there is a G-d, many of us here are still at the “belief” part of the faith-belief-knowledge continuum.

  14. None of the above work for me. I don’t “know” that there is a G-d.

    Rather, I have decided that I think there may or may not be one, and I am ill-equipped to tell.

    Since I come from a long line of people who have conducted themselves in accordance with the (Jewish) teachings attributed to G-d, that seems to be a good set of traditions to maintain.

    None of the other traditions I’ve seen observed around me make more sense.

    G-d, if He exists, seems to have chosen not to offer blatant contemporary evidence of His existence, relying rather on faith, as passed from generation to generation, to promulgate His teachings.

    This leaves me in the situation where I must make an uninformed choice. We can’t prove that G-d doesn’t exist, so we must assume he might.

    Occams Razor says, probably not, but that’s not comforting, so I will go with “probably.”

  15. 1. First Cause gets you to Deism, not to Judaism per se. I have yet to see a “Design” proof that didn’t break down into “because God wanted it that way” in response to an objection, which makes it useless for proving the existence of God.

    2. Absolutely and utterly irrefutable. It is impossible for someone else to refute your personal experiences. Unfortunately, if they don’t have those experiences, it is also unconvincing.

    3. A don’t see this one as being convincing; “it’s true because we’ve always believed it” is not, at least to me, particularly compelling.

  16. A review of our history in general, especially our survival as HaShem’s nation, against all odds, can also be persuasive. Well-known non-Jews have pointed to this aspect.

  17. Certainly the answer to the second question depends greatly on the individual that is asking. For me, explanations in the first category were and are the most moving.

    I don’t think most non-frum people are very moved by the argument from mesora. I think that is something that is more powerful for those that are within the mesora already. “It can’t be that millions of Jew lied to their kids.” If so, then what went wrong with MY parents and grandparents etc? So there may be a certain extra cognitive dissonance against this line of reasoning.

    One line of reasoning (which is probably a combo of the first two categories) is an internal sense of the uniqueness of Jews, and the question which follows naturally: If so, why?

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