Believing in God: Some thoughts


I have been writing to these pages for almost 2 decades now, commenting on both political and cultural issues, especially the issue of abortion. I know that in doing so I have irritated many on the opposite side from me, which is something I actually don’t enjoy.

This has made me think about why we disagree so fervently, and my conclusion is that one of the reasons is that our premises are so different. When you have this situation, it’s nearly impossible to come to any kind of agreement on the various issues and points that follow from a given premise.

So, I thought it might be helpful and maybe interesting to explain as simply and concisely as I can the key elements of the premise from which I base not only my opinions, but my entire life.

If Mr. Beverly (the publisher and editor) will indulge me, I will write a series of letters that seek to explain the Christian worldview and hopefully provide some opportunities for thoughtful exchange and mutual understanding.

This letter will seek to address the issue of the existence of God, perhaps the most important and common topic that arises between believers and non-believers.

How do we know God exists? One thing we can say without a doubt is that it is impossible to prove God‘s existence by the scientific method, a deficiency which nonbelievers point out as a kind of dealbreaker.

The first point that has to be made, then, is that science is not the only way we can come to know what is true or not. In fact, science is only one way of many to understand truth and it is only limited to the realm of matter and physical being, not metaphysical being or philosophical truths.

Science cannot tell you why you love someone or why it is right to do X or Y. Those truths rely on a different set of intellectual tools such as philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, logic, and theology.

If you are interested, there are many thorough and precise philosophical arguments for the existence of God that have been developed throughout the centuries by such great thinkers as Thomas Aquinas, Plato, and Einstein. The basic argument is that something can’t come from nothing and that there must be a kind of prime mover that is the ultimate cause of all existence.

However, I have seen such arguments laid out very convincingly only to have it simply tossed aside by an atheist or agnostic as unconvincing. The fact of the matter is that if you are not inclined to believe something as true, no argument, no matter how good, will convince you otherwise.

We must then turn to other forms of persuasion. I think another powerful argument for God is that throughout human history individuals and societies have almost always believed in the divine.

It is true that supernatural beings were thought to be the cause of natural phenomena like lightning or earthquakes, but it wasn’t just that. Humans have always had a sense that there’s something greater than the natural world or themselves in the universe, something that created them and gave them the very ability to think about such things and seek meaning and truth beyond the physical realm.

I would argue that we have a desire for the transcendent because we are created by a transcendent being to be fulfilled only when we find the ultimate source and meaning of life.

Then you have religious revelation throughout the centuries, where prophets and mystics have claimed to receive messages from a divine source (God, angels, gods, etc.) that contain information and ideas that are nearly impossible to arrive at by conventional human reason and contemplation. The Bible and the Koran are the most famous examples, but other cultures have their versions as well.

The key question is: which one is true? As a Christian, I believe the Christian version to be most convincing and will endeavor to explain why in subsequent writings.

Yet, I know many of you have heard such arguments before and were unconvinced, but that is because of the nature of God himself. While he is pure intellect and perfect intelligence, his primary way of making himself known is not through thought but through love.

Most converts to religion are motivated by emotion more than reason, and are seeking the consolation of a loving supernatural being that can calm all their fears and heal all their wounds. God and God-like entities are supremely good at doing this and so have been sought by mankind from the beginning.

Again, it would seem illogical for the blind forces of evolution to make humans this way, to desire that which doesn’t exist. That would be pretty antithetical to the survival of the species.

By all means, avail yourself of the various intellectual arguments for the existence of God, but if they do fail in some way, I encourage you to do something truly radical: pray. Find a quiet spot and ask God if he exists, ask God to reveal himself to you, ask God whatever your heart desires, and then see what happens.

If you are fortunate enough to hear the voice of God in your heart after asking such questions, you can then turn to the more rational explanations mentioned above and see how they complement each other. Then you may experience the beautiful confluence of faith and reason and will see that these two modes of thought do not in fact conflict with one another, but instead are synergistic mechanisms for knowing God himself.

Now that I have tried to explain how one might come to know God exists, in the next letter — should I be given the privilege of publication — I will explain more about the nature of God, and why I refer to him as “him.”

If you have any questions or criticisms, feel free to respond via letter, but not by comment. I just don’t have the time or energy to descend into the comments section of this or any other publication.

Thank you and God bless.

Trey Hoffman

Peachtree City, Ga.


  1. Oh boy! I can’t wait for Trey Hoffman to convert me to a Christian worldview. My sainted mum and my pastor/uncle who signed my baptism certificate and the professors at the Baptist university I attended will be so thrilled to know someone is finally educating me about what it means to “love your neighbor as yourself” and to follow Jesus who “has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

    LOL when Trey shows me how he puts these Christian Scriptures into action, maybe I will be ready to accept his worldview.

  2. Didn’t your god drown all of his creation b/c he made an oopsie? So much for pure intellect and love lol. Also if you make the claim, you’ll need to provide the evidence.

    A scientific perspective at least makes continuous attempts to back up their claims and is willing to readjust their outlook based on new evidence. It’s okay to be wrong and to continue exploring the origins and mysteries of the universe with an open mind.

    Your religion is but one of many that has existed and will eventually disappear as many religions have done throughout human history. Now excuse me, I have a meeting with my guy Zeus on Mt. Olympus that I am late for.

  3. I agree with Mr Hoffman: “The fact of the matter is that if you are not inclined to believe something as true, no argument, no matter how good, will convince you otherwise.”

    Trey has written a circular reasoning apologetic that will convince no one but those already convinced. In effect, he says that you can’t trust science, evolution, or any other form of reasoning, so one must accept god’s existence because god said so.

    Of course, Hoffman boasts that he will never be convinced differently because he can’t be bothered to “descend” even to read or consider our opposing arguments. Look no further than this example of arrogance to see why dwindling Christian affiliation and dechurching is progressing so rapidly in the U.S.A.