Well, the first entries are in, and I'm not impressed.
Four days ago I invited visitors to this blog to leave a comment on my "Tell me why you believe in God" post.
I'm defining "God" as a conscious supernatural being with miraculous powers. If you're a believer with a markedly different definition, include that definition in your comment.
The responses were decidedly underwhelming. Some were interesting, but none were directly related to what I wanted.
Why someone believes in God.
This is surprising, since it sure seems like quite a few regular readers of this blog do believe in God. And in many or most cases, the God they believe in sure seems to be along the lines of how I defined God.
So why the vague, meandering, disjointed responses?
Hard to say.
Since I'm an atheist, my #1 hypothesis is that since God almost certainly doesn't exist, no one has a good reason to believe in God, for the same reason no one has a good reason to believe in Santa Claus.
If I asked Why do you believe in the moon?, a reasonable response would be "Because I can see it in the sky and there's solid evidence that humans have landed on the moon and brought back rock samples."
That's a simple declarative sentence.
Yet no one provided a similarly simple declarative sentence about why they believe in God. I expected that someone would say, "Because a holy book says God exists," or "Because a holy person says God exists."
That's pretty much the reasons I would have given during my believing days. They aren't bad reasons. They're the reasons most Christians would give, I suspect.
Instead, the main theme of the comments on my blog post was "I'm open to the possibility that God exists and am searching for the answer to this."
OK. But most atheists would say the same thing.
Take me. I'm open to the possibility that God exists and I'm searching for the answer to this. So far I've seen no demonstrable evidence for God, so I strongly lean in the direction that God is a fantasy.
Another theme was "Words can't capture God, so there's no point in talking about why someone believes in God."
OK. But words can't capture anything else either.
The word "strawberry" certainly doesn't capture the nature of this red tasty fruit. Yet if I ask a store clerk where the strawberries are, they can point me in the right direction.
Words can't capture a dream. Yet if someone asks me if I dreamed last night, and I remember my dreams, I can describe them. Not perfectly. Not completely. But imperfectly and incompletely.
I don't tell the person, "I can't say anything about my dreams because they can't be captured in words." I use words as well as I can, then add the caveat, "But what I just said isn't how the dream really seemed to me."
Nothing is. Eating a strawberry is way different from saying "strawberry." However, we can do our best to describe what eating a strawberry is like, because strawberries are real, as is eating them.
So the non-responses to my question about why people believe in God helps solidify my view that good reasons for believing are rare not because God is beyond description, but because no one has had an experience of an actually-existent God.