Do you believe in God? This is not a question that can be answered by declaring yourself a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or Hindu. This not a religious question—it is personal. Assuming you are searching for a deeper spiritual reality in your life, the question of belief in God is important and should come before all others. If we want real answers to the deepest questions of our souls, then we need to put all our belief cards on the table.
Laying aside complex religious arguments or philosophical proofs for the time being, this question challenges far more than our intellectual capacities alone—it plumbs the depths of human nature itself.
Why should I believe in God? I can think of one important reason to get us started. It is this: the existence of God is the most likely explanation for the rest of existence. This is not unlike reasoning that, if there is water in a river downstream, then there is most likely a source of water upstream. Is this proof? Of course not. It is belief.
But what does it mean to believe something in the first place? C.S. Lewis, the great British author who wrote the Chronicles of Narnia and much more, spelled out the difference between believing and knowing with a very practical example. It goes something like this: I saw Joe leave my house and observed him from the window walking down the street. Then my brother entered the room ten seconds later and asked, “Where’s Joe?” I would say, “He just left,” not “I believe he just left.” The first is a statement of certainty—I saw it for myself. It would not occur to me to say, “I believe I saw him leave,” because there is no possible alternative. I do not just believe it; I know it.
But belief in God is in another category, because this belief does imply a kind of knowing. There is a kind of experience of knowing God when we believe in him, similar to observing Joe walk down the street. But there is much more at stake in this case.
Why should I believe in God? Blaise Pascal, another profound thinker, spoke of the “God-shaped void” that cannot be filled by any created thing. Without God, we are unfulfilled and can never truly know peace. Lewis also made the argument that just as thirst naturally draws us to water and hunger toward food, our longing for meaning draws us toward God. That is, there is no longing in us that is not directed toward its fitting object of longing, including our longing for God. It is inherent in our nature to be drawn to the divine. It is how we are made.
There are two other more immediate reasons for belief in God that we should consider. The first is the statements of others. For many, no reason is enough in itself to call forth belief, but the words of a credible witness can be a weighty piece of evidence in considering the merit of a case. If your story commands my attention, am I not likely to at least listen to you and try to either verify or discount what you say? The Bible provides us, in both Old and New Testaments, with witnesses of God’s acts and power that deserve our attention. Beyond the words on the page, many Jesus-followers today can also attest to God’s mighty works in their lives.
Finally, some things are too important to take at face value from someone else. We must find out for ourselves. So, we encourage you to entertain the possibility of God’s existence and see where it leads—or as the psalmist suggests, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Psalm 34:8). What can it hurt to simply ask God to show Himself to you in ways that are convincing? There is a rational element to belief in God, but the Supreme One also created the heart and the soul. We can get part of the way in our faith journey by using our minds, but we also need to be gripped in the depth of our soul – to know by experience as well as by rational argumentation. So, ask, taste, and see if God answers and breaks through to you.