Why My Favorite Question for College Students is “Does God Exist?”
By Eric Chabot, CJFM Midwest Representative
I direct two apologetic ministries. One is at The Ohio State University and Columbus State Community College. We tend to use a question of the day which helps us engage students in a gentle and respectful manner. Probably my favorite question is “Does God Exist?” It is short and students tend to want to discuss this question. Remember, many Jewish people don't even believe in the existence of God. You do not have to believe in God to be Jewish. This is a popular question.
Why does this question matter and why do I like to use it? Richard E Simmons III says the following:
“A number of years ago, Encyclopedia Britannica published a 55-volume series entitled The Great Books of the Western World. This series presented the most important ideas that scholars and intellectuals have considered and investigated over the course of recorded history. The longest essay was on God. When noted philosopher, author, and co-editor of the series, Mortimer Adler, was asked the reason behind this, he replied, “It is because more consequences for life follow from that one issue than from any other.”4 I believe Dr. Adler’s assessment is spot on. The major issues of life are understood with the greatest clarity only after the question of God’s existence is placed in its proper context. Everyone has a certain perspective on how life works. It is the lens through which we see life. It is what most people call a “worldview.” When we are born, we begin to try and understand how life works. Over time, we formulate a philosophy of life, a worldview, and this worldview influences how we see ourselves, how we relate to others, and how we live our lives. Armand Nicholi, the Harvard psychiatrist I mentioned in the preface, and the author of The Question of God says that our worldview informs our personal, social, and political lives. It helps us understand our purpose. Further, he said that our worldview determines our ethics, our values, and our capacity for happiness. It helps us answer the big questions of life: How did I get here? How am I to live? Where do I find meaning in life? What is my ultimate destiny? Basically, Nicholi is telling us that our worldview is more telling than perhaps any other aspect of our lives. Another way to understand our worldview is to see it as a map, a mental map that helps navigate life effectively. As author Nancy Pearcey says, “…we need some creed to live by; some map by which we chart our course.” This is worldview. In forming our worldviews, Dr. Nicholi says that we make one of two assumptions about life. The first is that we live in a godless universe; we are a product of nature that has evolved over time. This is a secular worldview that emphasizes scientific knowledge and its motto is “What do science and nature have to say?” The second assumption is that there is a supernatural intelligence who gives the universe order and life meaning. This is a spiritual worldview that is rooted in Biblical revelations. It places emphasis on spiritual truth and wisdom and its motto is: “What does God have to say about this?”-Richard E Simmons III, Reflections On The Existence Of God: A Series Of Essays, pg. 15.
Even though I co-authored a short book on the topic, there are two new books on the topic of God’s existence. Check them out!
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