Knowing and believing God’s existence
A new atheism is reportedly on the rise in the United States. It argues that nothing exists if it cannot be proven by science and because science cannot prove there is a God, therefore He does not exist. Fortunately, according to 2013 statistics from Pew Research Center, only 10 percent of the world’s population are atheists and agnostics, the rest are believers.
There is a distinction between knowing and believing or between knowledge and faith. Human knowledge is acquired by the human intellect which has the capacity to know through the senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste, aided or enhanced by modern technology and by what is called scientific research (searching for something already existing again and again until found). The human intellect likewise has the capacity to know what is good and what is evil, what is right and what is wrong. The human free will is the personal power to choose or decide what to do or not to do, to do this or to do that, to do what one knows or believes to be right or to do what one knows or believes to be wrong.
Faith or believing, on the other hand, is accepting something to be true even if one does not or cannot fully understand or comprehend it, like believing in the existence of God. We believers have not “seen, heard, smelled, touched or tasted” God. That is why we can only believe in Him or have faith in Him. If we will already know God, like when we see Him or meet Him personally in heaven or wherever, then we do not need faith anymore.
In like manner, I do not say to a friend: “My friend, I believe that you exist.” Instead, I should say more accurately: “My friend, I know that you exist.” But I can only say to him with all honesty, hope and faith: “My friend, I believe that you are a good person.” I can only believe that he is a good person because I have no way of knowing for sure that, indeed, he really is. I cannot read his life stories behind his face or written in between the wrinkles of his forehead. But does it mean to say that he does not exist?
And so to the atheists: Just because you cannot prove through your limited minds and senses, despite the aid of science and technology, that there is a God, do you mean to say for certain that there is no God? If you do, then you only have an arrogant and narrow scientific mind, not a logical or thinking mind. A thinking mind considers the actual, the probable and the possible realities, known and unknown. A logical mind thinks and is able to conclude that when there is an effect, there is a cause, and that a cause is known by the effect it causes to exist.
Albert Camus, a famous French thinker and writer, who was born a Catholic but later became an atheist, was a more practical atheist and I would say a thinker and a believer in secret because he dared to write thus: “I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t and die to find out there is.”
—AMAY P. ONG VAÑO,
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